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Ayade vows to withdraw from Presidential race as soon as ex-President Jonathan declares

On Tuesday, the yet-to-be-declared presidential ambition of Goodluck Jonathan got a huge boost when Governor Benedict Ayade of Cross River pledged to support him if the APC presents him as the party’s flag bearer for the 2023 election.

Ayade stated this after he met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ayade said he has respect for the former president, adding that if it is the decision of the APC to field Jonathan, he will drop his ambition to support him.

“I have great respect for former President Jonathan. So, I have no challenges whatsoever. 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, I am just part of the family, absolutely loyal to the President, seeking to run for president and I’m running.

“At any point, the political leadership of my party feels that ex-President Jonathan is the appropriate candidate that will take us to victory, I will turn my support for him. I am never ever going to fight the establishment, the institution, the aristocracy, the spiritual vortex in which God has placed a leader in 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 am only here to support the President’s candidate and by a stroke of luck, he said, you too go there and join the race and let me see,” said Ayade, who pointed out that he did not tell Buhari that he wanted to join the presidential race as he observed that it was not decent to tell an officeholder that one was interested in taking over his office.

He, however, said the President expressed delight that he did not speak of his desire to succeed him in office but gave him the go-ahead to hold consultations on the matter while he (Buhari) watches him.

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