Governor Ben Ayade on Wednesday played host to the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Speaking during Tinubu’s visit to the Government House, Calabar, Ayade emphasised the need for the southern part of the country to produce the next president of Nigeria.
He maintained that with the expiration of eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari next year, it is the turn of the South.
According to the governor, 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.
Ben Ayade stated that with Nigeria’s potential “as around Number 7 in the world in terms of oil and gas deposit, it is regrettable that the country is still importing petrol to meet its local demand.”
The Governor said Tinubu has the capacity, experience and exposure to lead and is 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, adding that the APC leader was a cornerstone of the party’s success.
“Thank you for your insensitivity to party affiliation, to age difference, to religion and to ethnicity,” he added.
Earlier speaking, Tinubu had told Ayade who is also contesting for president that there was no collision in their desires.
“Mine is to respect you as you respect me,” the APC leader said.
“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.”
Those who followed Tinubu to Calabar were Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje; former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Tanko Al-Makura; former governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima; former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba; Presidential Aide, Mallam Yau Darazo, and Chairman of TETFUND, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, among others.