As plots thicken over Governor Benedict Ayade’s alleged moves to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), council chairmen, councilors and political appointees have resolved to go with him, if he eventually dumps the party.
All 18 council chairmen, vice chairmen, 196 councilors and over 6,000 appointees, yesterday, held a solidarity rally for Ayade, insisting that they would swim or sink with him.
Ayade had been at loggerheads with National Assembly members and stakeholders, leading to his frosty relationship with the party prompting him to remain neutral for some time now.
Chairman of Akpabuyo Council, Emmanuel Offiong Bassey, said since God sent Governor Ayade to salvage the state, Cross River people would support his move, programmes and policies of the Ayade administration to the end.
“With the rally, we are sending a message that we are behind Ayade and we will stop at nothing to ensure that we give him necessary support to succeed. We are ready to sink or swim with him.
“ Our leader should go to sleep because his foot soldiers are on ground. Ayade is the leader of the PDP in Cross River State and whosoever plays with this fact does so at his or her own peril,” they said.
The council chairmen also disclosed that they organised the rally in appreciation and support of Ayade’s aggressive industrialisation drive that has culminated in the establishment of several industries across the state.
Responding, Ayade commended the council chairmen for supporting him, saying the social contract he signed with the people was to lift Cross River out of the doldrums and pledged to continue to create jobs through industrialisation.
Expressing concern over the influence of external forces in the state’s politics, Ayade charged Cross River people to unite and protect the state and its infrastructure from divisive and destructive agents.
Senior Special Adviser to the governor on political matters, Peter Ojie, stressed that Ayade’s ability to industrialise the state in spite of lean resources, showed competence, adding: “The rally is also meant to demonstrate that the support we gave him in 2015 and 2019 was not in vain.”