A major political realignment took place in Akwa Ibom State on Saturday when 14 former chapter chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) declared their support for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking on behalf of the former leaders of the PDP at the grassroots, former PDP chapter chairman of Uruan, Pastor Benedict Effiong, said “after a careful assessment of all the candidates running for the office of governor of the state, we have all come as a group to declare our support for the APC and Obong Nsima Ekere because the APC governorship candidate is the only one who is capable of leading the state to its destined place in the nation.” On hand to receive the former chapter chairmen of the PDP were from 2nd right, Umana Okon Umana, MD OGFZA; Sen. Ita Enang, SSA to President on NASS (Senate); Nsima Ekere, APC gubernatorial candidate; another VIP; Bishop Samuel Akpan and others. Pastor Effiong said the remaining former chapter chairmen have already agreed to move to the APC and would soon declare their support publicly too. “With this development today,” Pastor Effiong said, “PDP is dead in the state.” The mass defection, which took place in the residence of Mr Umana Okon Umana in Uyo on Saturday was witnessed by Mr. Umana, managing director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority; Obong Nsima Ekere, governorship candidate of the APC in Akwa Ibom State for the 2019 election; Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on the National Assembly Affairs (Senate); Bishop Samuel Akpan, APC a political chieftain and leader of the party in Onna, home local government of the PDP incumbent governor of the state. Unending spate of defections has hit the PDP in the state since the beginning of the year. In August the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio defected from the PDP to the APC in a most crippling blow to the PDP. Senator Akpabio told the Vanguard newspaper at the time that he was dumping the PDP for a party that would give him the platform to “emancipate my people because the PDP has no vision.” The former deputy governor of the state, Lady Valerie Ebe and former Senator Eme Ekaette defected from the PDP to the APC last month. Since September, a succession of political aides to the state governor, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, has resigned their positions and joined the APC. Each of them cited poor leadership as reason for leaving.