The Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, has formally defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) after months of speculations that he would do so.

Mr Ayade announced his departure from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday while hosting six APC governors who visited him in Calabar, the state capital.

The visiting governors were Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Hope Uzodinma of Imo, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti.

It is not exactly clear why the Cross River governor left the platform that brought him to power in 2015. But he has for months complained about being poorly treated by the PDP.

With his defection, Mr Ayade becomes the only APC governor from the South-South geopolitical zone.

The ruling party had lost its only governor in the zone last year when Godwin Obaseki of Edo crossed to the PDP months to the governorship election in that state. He won reelection on that platform.

With Mr Ayade in the kitty, the APC now has 21 governors, the PDP 14 and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) one.

Mr Ayade’s defection came six months after his Ebonyi State counterpart, David Umahi, also left the PDP.

Mr Umahi left the PDP last November citing “injustice” meted out to the South-east by the party as the reason for his departure.

More details later ….

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