The planned defection of Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio to All Progressives Congress, APC, has unsettled the hierarchy and members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Akwa Ibom State.
PDP has ruled the state since 1999, a year that marked a political watershed in the advent of democracy in the country.
The exit of Akpabio who was seen as a fulcrum of the party may bring the party to its knees as soon as he returns to Nigeria Sunday night after his visit to President Buhari in London, in one of the presidential aircrafts.
An unconfirmed source told Straightnews that about 17 members of the state House of Assembly, 24 local government chairmen, 200 councillors and 49 serving Senior and Personal Assistants are set to defect to APC in solidarity with their ‘’political master.’’
Straightnews reported Saturday, August 4, that Akpabio who had governed Akwa Ibom State for eight years now a Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West in the National Assembly had perfected plans to defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
On Saturday night, PDP, Akwa Ibom Chapter held an enlarged stakeholders meeting at the banquet hall of Government House, Uyo presided over by Governor Udom Emmanuel to re-strategise on how the party could win in the 2019 general elections.
Present at the meeting were Emmanuel Enoidem, National Legal Adviser to PDP; Paul Ekpo, the state PDP chairman, members of the State Executive Committee, members of the National Assembly, state legislators, chapter chairmen, National delegates, members of the Board of Trustees, National Executive Committee and National caucus, chairmen of local government councils and other stakeholders.
Paul Ekpo informed members of the party’s preparedness for the forthcoming elections and presented the report (text and video) of the federal constituency tour by members of the State Executive Committee to the Governor.
He further informed them that guidelines for the party’s nomination are available and would soon be released.
Senator Emmanuel Ibokessien who spoke for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District assured the governor of the support of the district, lauding him for the excellent manner he is governing the state.
Senator Helen Esuene and Nduese Essien who spoke for Eket Senatorial District thanked other senatorial districts for the cooperation given to their son, urging them to continue to support the Governor.
Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga and Senator Effiong Bob informed that the shortest route for their senatorial district was to return Governor Udom Emmanuel for a second term in the office, expressing the preparedness of their constituents to continue to support the Governor.
Speaking for the state House of Assembly, Felicia Bassey assured the governor of their customary support in the discharge of his duties as governor and leader of the party.
Senator Bassey Albert spoke for the members of the National Assembly, and expressed their delight about the governor’s role in the rebirth of the party, assuring the governor of their support in the forthcoming elections.
Emmanuel Enoidem said the national party was pleased with the assistance disposition of the Governor towards the party and other pressing national issues.
The governor in his address appreciated the stakeholders for their steadfastness and loyalty to the party and his administration, and informed them of the rebirth which the party was undergoing to retain power.
Enoidem urged those contesting to prepare for free, fair and credible elections, and thanked the party for undertaking a tour of the Federal constituencies, promising to study the report and implement the recommendations.
Party stalwarts generally expressed gratitude to the party for constantly convening meetings which keep them abreast of happenings within and outside the party.
A PDP stalwart who spoke on condition of anonymity hinted Straightnews that the party’s chieftains from Former Abak 5 held a meeting in Independence Hall, Abak on Sunday, August 5, to re-strategise for PDP in the next elections.
However, the meeting was said to have ended in a deadlock as most PDP leaders refused to sign a prepared communique to pledge support to Governor Emmanuel’s re-election.
It was reported that some PDP members in the meeting still pledged support to Senator Akpabio and to go with him to APC.
Another source told Straightnews that some of the PDP members are moles who may defect in a matter of time as Governor Emmanuel has lost grip of the party.