Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State on Tuesday said he got the nod to join the race for the presidency.
He, however, pledged to support former President Goodluck Jonathan if the All Progressives Congress (APC) present him as the party’s flagbearer.
Ayade spoke after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ayade said he was at the Presidential Villa to seek political direction from President Buhari on how to align in the run-up to the 2023 poll, noting that he was disposed to doing the bidding of the president.
“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,” Ayade said. “I am just part of the family, absolutely loyal to the President, seeking to run for president and I’m running.”
The Cross River governor pointed out that he did not tell President Buhari that he wanted to join the presidential race as.
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According to him, it was not decent to tell an officeholder that one was interested in taking over his office. But he was encouraged to join the fray.
Asked to react to an unconfirmed report that the APC might present former President Goodluck Jonathan as the sole candidate for the 2023 presidential election, and his chances against the former President, Ayade stated: “I have great respect for President Jonathan. So, I have no challenges whatsoever.
“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.
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“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. By 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.”