President Muhammadu Buhari has received the Governors of Cross River and Zamfara states, Ben Ayade and Bello Matawalle, respectively, who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Ayade and Matawalle were accompanied to the event by the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the APC and Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, and Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, who is also the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum.
Buhari handed the flags of the party to the two governors, raised their hands aloft, and declared: “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.
“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.
“We emphasised that we respect our people. That was why we insisted on free and fair elections.
“Leaders should show honesty and respect for their followers.”
He added that the coming of the two governors to APC was very important to the party.
“To be principled and identify your objectives is a great quality that should endear us to our people.
“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,’’ he added.
Earlier, Buni had disclosed that the governors joined APC in appreciation of the good works the president was doing for the country.
Buni announced that ward, local government and state congresses of the party would start from July 31.
He explained that the congresses were shifted for one week, because the initial dates clashed with Sallah festivities.