Cross River Governor Ben Ayade has declared his intention to run for president in 2023.
He will run on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, he says (APC).
Ayade announced his decision to State House Correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in his office at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, claiming that the President had asked him to run.
The Governor also stated that he would be flexible in his pursuit of the APC’s presidential ticket, explaining that he would be subject to whatever decision the party made and would support whoever was chosen as the party’s flag-bearer.
Asked to react to unconfirmed report that the APC might present former President, Goodluck Jonathan, as the sole candidate for the 2023 presidential election, he said:
“I have great respect for President Jonathan and so I have no challenges whatsoever.“
“I have great respect for President Jonathan so I have no challenges whatsoever. I believe that the party leadership will decide the appropriate candidate that will take our party to victory and so if you heard me well, I am just part of the family, absolutely loyal to the President, seeking to run for president and I’m running.
“At any point in time the political leadership of my party, the APC, feels that President Jonathan is the appropriate candidate that will take us to victory, I will turn my support for him.”
“I am never ever going to fight the establishment, the institution, the aristocracy, the spiritual vortex of which God has placed a leader on the country, I will never question the powers of the leader of the country.”
“I have never played the politics of antagonism or fights. If you know how I became governor, I became governor by offering to support whoever the governor wants.”
“By a stroke of luck, I became the candidate. The same token… I’m only here to support the President’s candidate and by a stroke of luck he said you to go there and join the race,” he said.