By Osondu Ahirika |
There was panic and shock in the beleaguered camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, as the Obot Akara chapter and ward executives defected enmass from the party and merged into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Receiving the entire Obot ten Ward Chapter Chairmen of APC who submitted their respective party registers to mark the collapse of the APC and over 2,000 supporters into PDP, the State Chairman of the PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, observed that, this remarkable event is simply a homecoming for the returnees.
Obong Ekpo who stressed that, Obot Akara is a PDP stronghold, assured all the defectors that, the rebranded PDP under the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel, operates with a philosophy of political inclusion and assured them that they will be fully integrated in the party and given their due recognition in the family.
The State PDP Chairman who commended them for the right decision, said their return is timely as their son, Engr. Dr Chris Ekpenyong, a former Deputy Governor of the State, is the PDP candidate and incoming Senator for Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District come 2019 general elections.
He accordingly charged PDP chapter leaders at all levels in Obot Akara to immediately assimilate the returning members and accord them their right of place. While commending Governor Udom Emmanuel for his superlative performance, Obong Ekpo enjoined the returnees to join the Divine Mandate Project and ensure the reelection of Governor Udom Emmanuel for a second term in office.
The Honourable Commissioner for Sports, Rt. Hon. Sir Monday Uko, himself a former Council Chairman of Obot Akara was there to join Obong Ekpo to receive the APC defectors.
Sir Uko noted that, the PDP is fully consolidating and with the return of their brothers into the fold, the APC is completely eradicated from the local government area.
He dismissed as panicky, the propaganda by, Abom Tony Esu, a chieftain of the now deserted APC in the local government, the outrageous claim that PDP has collapse in Obot Akara, describing the propaganda, as a desperate, nut failed face saving resort, to steal the thunder from the looming collapse of the APC in Obot Akara.
Sir Uko said, Obot Akara will reciprocate the good fortune they have enjoyed under the Udom Emmanuel led PDP administration with one hundred percent of the votes cast in the local government.
Leading the defectors back to PDP, the immediate past Chapter Chairman of the APC in Obot Akara, Chief Elder(Hon) Isong Uyo, famously known as Uzoamaka, said, they decided to return to their original home, not only because of the deceit and hypocrisy of the APC leadership in the State, but because of the infrastructural developments put in place by Governor Emmanuel in Obot Akara, especially the 29 kilometer Nto Edino – Azumimi road with two bridges, among others.
Chief Isong Uyo said, they could no longer in good conscience oppose the PDP or Governor Emmanuel after he had come to rescue the Obot Akara people from decades of total neglect and marginalization by previous administrations, and leaders, some of whom, are now in the APC, preaching false hope.
He pledged their undivided loyalty to the PDP and hailed the choice of Dr Ekpenyong a.k.a Ukarakpa of as the Standard Bearer of the PDP for the 2019 general elections in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
Also speaking, the chairman of the APC Ward chairmen Forum, Obot Akara chapter, Mr Solomon Bassey, said their return to the PDP was inevitable as the party has been repositioned by Governor Emmanuel and Obong Paul Ekpo has United the party to wax stronger. Mr Bassey said, APC is a strange contraption, adding that, their return was a joyful reunion with their own brothers.
Also on hand were PDP senatorial candidate for Akwa ibom North West( Ikot Ekpene)Senatorial District, Engr. Dr Chris Ekpenyong, PDP Candidate for Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Nsikak Ekong, and Elder Ufot Ebong, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel .
Other defectors who bared their minds include the APC Youth Leader in Obot Akara, Mr Etoufok Lawrence, the Woman Leader, Mrs Bridget Fintan among several others, all of who also declared to support Atiku Abubakar for president. Udom Emmanuel for governor
Ukarakpa for senate and all other PDP candidate for the different offices.
The Obot Akara Chapter Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Ekomenami Ukat, welcomed the returnees and assured them of full confidence and cooperation from the PDP structure.
Highpoint of the event was the surrender of the APC membership registers by th ten ward chairmen to the State PDP Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo and the usual burning of their brooms as a symbolic renunciation of their old party.
In a related development, Mr Ukat has described the alleged defection of all PDP Chapter and Ward officers to the All Progressive Congress (APC), making the round on print and social media platforms, as a barefaced lies, political propaganda and an erroneous mischief taken too far by the opposition party in the state.
According to him, the alleged defection that took place at the said event as claimed at the instance of Abom Tony Esu, is “barefaced lies and political propaganda perpetrated by the leadership of the APC in the local government area.”
Speaking during a press conference in Ikot Ekpene on Friday, the Chapter Chairman said the likes of Abom Esu and those peddling the falsehood are metropolitan politicians, or at best, political jobbers with no political bearing, even in their polling units, and they have resorted to lies and propaganda as their sole means of livelihood.”