Nelson Effiong, the Senator representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, has said that many senators would soon defect from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Mr. Effiong, elected on the platform of the PDP, defected in January to the APC, citing division within his former party.
Mr. Effiong said that other PDP senators had perfected their plans and were almost ready to announce their defection, but for the intervention of the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio.
“If not for the spirited intervention of Senator Akpabio, we could have lost 12 PDP senators last month,” Senator Effiong said on January 21 during a live interview with Planet 101.1FM Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, two days after announcing his defection on the floor of the senate, January 19.
“He (Akpabio) went extra miles to persuade and convince those people. (But) I told him I was getting fed up (with the situation in the party),” the senator said in the interview.
The senator also blamed the governor of Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel, as part of the reasons he left PDP.
He accused Mr. Emmanuel of deliberately sidelining him in the affairs of the party and in the local politics back home, adding that other PDP senators were complaining of similar treatment by the governors in the states controlled by the PDP.
“I give you only two months, more PDP senators are leaving,” Mr. Effiong said with confidence. “The party is in tatters.”
The senator attacked the factional National Chairman of PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff, accusing him of being the foundation of the crisis in the party.
“I have never been on Sheriff’s side and I can never be because Sheriff’s appointment or selection was a fraud.
“He has never been our man; he was not in our party. He was just brought from nowhere by two governors, including our own governor. He didn’t even stay up to one month in office, he started building structures to become a presidential candidate.
“He brought in all kinds of confusion and that is why we are where we are today.
“No reasonable politician can keep wasting his time (in the PDP),” the senator said.
On Wednesday, 11 days after Mr. Effiong hinted of more defections, Andy Uba, representing Anambra South Senatorial District, also defected from the PDP to APC.
The APC now has 65 Senators in the 109-member legislative chamber.
But the senate minority leader, Mr. Akpabio, said on January 26 in Abuja during the PDP’s National Executive Committee, NEC, and the expanded caucus meeting, that the defections were nothing to worry about.
Mr. Akpabio, who belongs to the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the party, said about 20 senators from the ruling party would move over from the APC to the PDP as soon the party is able to resolve its internal crisis.
The PDP has been torn into two factions – one led by Mr. Sheriff who is a former governor of Borno State and another by a former governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Makarfi – since its botched national convention, last year, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
No senator has yet decamped from the APC to the PDP, after Mr. Akpabio’s remark in Abuja.