The governor of Zamfara and Cross River States, Bello Matawalle and Ben Ayade decided to join the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) on their own volition without coercion from any quarters, says President Muhammadu Buhari Monday.
Messrs Ayade and Matawalle recently defected from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the platform upon which they were elected, to the APC.
Rumours had been rife that these state chief executives dumped their party due to pressures and harassments by the ruling party.
The PDP once asserted that Mr Matawalle succumbed to antics of the APC due to increasing insecurity in his state, after the Zamfara governor stated that he joined the ruling party to ensure peace in the northwestern state that has become a beehive of banditry
But Mr Buhari, who handed the APC flags to the duo, said Messrs Ayade and Matawalle have shown courage by “leaving their constituencies” to join the APC, a statement by the president’s spokesman Femi Adesina said.
Mr Buhari reckons that the governors would earn greater respect from their people for their acts of cross-carpeting.
“To be principled and identify your objectives is a great quality that should endear us to our people,” Mr Buhari said.
“Your people will respect you more for having the courage to come to APC at your own time.
Nobody forced you, but you believe it is the best way to serve your people.
I value your decision.”
Mr Buhari expressed happiness in the defection of the two governors, congratulating them for dumping their former party.
“This is one of the happiest times for us in this party.
For you to have the courage to leave your constituencies speak a lot.
I wish Nigerians will reflect about it, he said.
“I congratulate you for leaving your constituencies for our great party. We lost many states at the last election, which is unusual for a ruling party.
But we did it to prove that we are a tolerant group. We wanted to demonstrate that we respect individuals.”