Benedict Bengioushuye Ayade is the current Governor of Cross River State, who was elected in April 2015 on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party. He previously served as a Senator, representing Cross River North Senatorial District in the 7th Senate of Nigeria. He defected to the All Progressives Congress in May 2021. Ayade is a Professor of Microbiology.
He was born on 2nd March 1968, to the family of Mr Peter Akinsheye Ayade and Mrs Beatrice Ngayi Ayade, in Obudu local government, Cross River State. He comes from a family of devout Catholics, both of which are natives of Kakum Village, Ipong Ward of Obudu LGA, the Northern part of Cross River State. His father worked as a public servant with the Water Board. Ayade is married to Dr Linda Ayade, and they have 3 children. His hobbies include reading, playing and watching games, as well as dancing.
|1.||Secondary Education||Esenaeb College Bomadi Delta State|
|2||Education||Rivers State School of Basic Studies, Port Harcourt||1952|
|3||Master’s degree in Christian Leadership||Imo State University Owerri||1963|
|4.||Diploma in Satellite Technology||Inutar/Unosat Institute Geneva||2008|
|5.||Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Yenagoa|
|6.||PhD Christian Leadership||GMF Christian University Lagos|
|S/N||Name of Company||Position||Year|
|1||Delta State University, Abraka||Lecturer/Professor|
Cross River State, Nigeria
2 March 1969
People's Democratic Party (PDP)
Senate Member, Representing Cross River North Senatorial District (2011-2015)
Governor of Niger State
Ayade ventured into politics when he ran for a seat in the Nigerian Senate beating his closest rival, Patrick Agbe of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), with over 80,000 votes in the April 2011 elections. Ayade roundly defeated his rival with 91,123 votes who received only 11,056 votes.
During his term in the Senate, Prof. Ayade held the position of Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology. He was also a member of other Committees such as Petroleum Downstream, Education, Drugs/Narcotics/Crime etc. Senator Ayade was one of the leading voices in the Senate and a prolific legislator, having sponsored a total of 41 bills he was ranked highest among his peers in the 7th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2011-2015).
Among the bills he sponsored are Nigerian Naira Stabilization Bill, Nigeria Expatriate Quota Control Bill, Job Creation and Protection Bill, Federal Scholarship Commission Bill, Petroleum Refineries Bill, Green Cities Development Bill, EFCC Act 2003 Bill, and National Energy Bill.
Senator (Prof) Ben Ayade won the gubernatorial poll on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the April 2015 elections in Cross River State having polled 342,016 votes ahead of the All Progressives Congress candidate in the state Mr.Odey Ochicha with 53,983 votes.
On taking up office as Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade launched several important infrastructure projects, including a 260 km dual-carriage Calabar-Katsina-Ala superhighway, Calabar deep seaport, and a Calabar garment factory, all of which were projected to employ thousands of people. He also unveiled plans to build three new cities in the State. The superhighway encountered some opposition from environmental activists who complained that road was to pass through a forest reserve and an Environmental Impact Assessment was not done before construction started.
Ben Ayade is an accomplished scholar and speaker at numerous high-level events such as the Summit organised by the United Nations Secretariat for Climate Change when he led African Governors to the climate change negotiations in Paris in December 2015.
Leadership style tends toward social and infrastructural development for Cross River state.
Awards & Honours
- 2022 Excellent Award in Recognition of Contributions to Rice Farming, conferred by President Muhammadu Buhari
- 2021 Tourism Man of the Year Award (for Nigeria and West Africa) by Balafon Award Committee
- 2021 Best Humanitarian Governor Award by National Commission For Refugees Migrants And Internally Displaced Persons Offices
- 2021 Blueprint Newspaper Governor of the Year on Agro-Industrialization
- 2020 Leadership Newspaper Governor of the Year
- 2019 Champion Newspaper Governor of the Year
- 2016 Vanguard Governor of the Year
- Best Doctoral Dissertation Award in Environmental Microbiology, University of Ibadan
- Recognition of Outstanding Research by Japanese Government
- 27 Megawatt Power Project at Tinapa, Calabar
- Dualisation of the 145km Mfom-Bekwara-Obanliku highway and asphalting of the Okuku-Okpoma-Mfom section of the road
- Construction of Calabar Rice City
- Developed an ultra-modern vitamins rice mill in Ogoja
- Construction of Africa’s first-ever automated rice seeds and seedling factory
- Brought innovation to Calabar carnivals and festivals with the introduction of the international carnival, the bikers carnival, exotic car show, Miss Africa pageant and the Black Africa Music Festival.
- Facilitation of Cross River Garment Factory, Cocoa Processing Factory, the Frozen Chicken Plant, Toothpick Factory, etc
- Construction of Calabar International Convention Center
- Development of Senator Ben Ayade Scholarship and Bursary Scheme, with the aim of awarding scholarship to qualified candidates from each ward in the Cross River North Senatorial District
- In 2020, Ayade’s anti-COVID-19 strategy stirred up a lot of controversy. He allegedly stated that the provision of jobs and healthy living could go a long way in solving the virus challenge, including HIV, and that the test method for the coronavirus was wrong. While launching the facemask programme in Cross River State, he also allegedly said that social distancing was not necessary when you wear the face mask. According to him, his professional experience in the field of science gave him the authority to speak on the virus. Ayade also introduced a “no mask, no movement” policy in which any cab driver who carried a passenger without wearing a mask, would be arrested, quarantined for 14 days and have their vehicle seized – which would only be released upon the payment of a ₦300,000 fine. Ayade was heavily criticised for lack of adequate knowledge of the virus, misleading his people, misplaced priorities and using the wrong strategies in fighting the COVID-19 virus.
- In 2021, Senator Bassey in an interview, stated that Ayade had allegedly been coercing government appointees to cross over from PDP to APC, by telling them that their medical bills and children’s school fees might not be paid if they do not defect to the government’s party.