By EMMANUEL MOGBEDE
ABUJA- Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River says it is the turn of Southern Nigeria to produce the country’s next president in 2023 after the expiration of the eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari in office.
According to a statement by Mr Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Communication Tinubu Campaign Organisation on Wednesday in Abuja, Ayade said this when Sen. Bola Tinubu visited him at the Government House in Calabar.
Tinubu, a former two-term Governor of Lagos State and one of the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is a leading presidential aspirant of the party.
Ayade explained that the idea of zoning came about to ensure an egalitarian and equitable power sharing in the country.
“Zoning is a provision of our Constitution to ensure balancing, it should not be about ethnic or regional domination, but balancing. It’s the turn of Southern Nigeria in 2023,” he said.
The governor added that the country was in dire need of change and a new way of doing things.
He noted that with Nigeria’s potential as number seven in the world in terms of oil and gas deposit, it was regrettable that the country was still importing petrol to meet its local demand.
He described Tinubu as a trans-generational leader and political strategist, adding that he had the capacity, experience and exposure to lead and was more than qualified to be Nigeria’s president.
Ayade said history would be kind to Tinubu as the man who propelled the APC to power in 2015, stressing that the APC leader was a cornerstone of the party’s success over the years.
He said he had a long standing excellent relationship with Tinubu, adding that each time he sought his advice on issues, he always got it.
“Thank you for your insensitivity to party affiliation, to age difference, to religion and to ethnicity,” Ayade said.
According to the statement, the APC leader told Ayade who is also contesting for 2023 presidency, that there is no collision in their desires.
“Mine is to respect you as you respect me.
“I appeal to you as your senior brother and the first to declare his intention, not to endorse me today but when you get to Abuja, you can endorse me fully.
“We must have that unity of purpose, we must work together not only for the unity and economic development of Cross Rivers, but also of the country.
“We owe that to the present and future generations,” the statement quoted Tinubu as saying.
Tinubu promised to work with the state for the full development of Calabar Port if elected as the country’s next president in 2023.
The statement said Tinubu was accompanied on the visit by Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, former Governor of Nasarawa State, Sen. Tanko Al-Makura, and former Governor of Borno, Sen. Kashim Shettima.
Senate Leader, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, Presidential Aide, Malam Yau Darazo, and Chairman of TETFUND, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam also accompanied Tinubu on the visit, the statement said.
It said the APC leader had earlier visited Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, who described him as a great power-broker and a great leader of the APC.(NAN)