The only member of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Asuquo Archibong, who represents Urue Offong/Oruko State Constituency, was received into the PDP on Thursday by the National Chairman of the party, Ahmed Makarfi, in Uyo during the flag-off of the party’s campaign for the local government council elections in the state.
Other former members of the APC who were also formally received into the PDP include Sunny Elijah, popularly referred to as the “the strongman of Nsit Atai politics” and a former commissioner in the state, Samuel Effanga.
The state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, obviously feeling elated, said Mr. Archibong and others who have left APC to PDP were “brothers” who should be celebrated.
“In Akwa Ibom, PDP is a religion,” Governor Emmanuel said.
The Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, including other PDP stalwarts within and outside the state, were present at the ceremony which attracted a large crowd of party supporters.
“Look over there, see the crowd; See the women, see how beautiful there are, see this side, see the youth, how colourful, my God! On a mere local government flag-off, it is like this, what then will happen when we start my senatorial campaign? What will happen when we start the Governor’s campaign in 2019?” Mr. Akpabio said.
The APC in the state was yet to react to the lawmaker, Mr. Archibong’s defection as at the time of filing this report.
The party’s spokesperson in the state, Bassey Eyo, who incidentally is from the same local government area with the lawmaker, told PREMIUM TIMES that he could only give a personal response for now.
“It is a betrayal of the trust of the people,” Mr. Eyo said on Thursday. “The mandate is our mandate, we are predominantly APC in Urue Offong/Uruko.”
Mr. Eyo said many people in the area worked hard and took risks to ensure that Mr. Archibong won the House of Assembly election in order to prove a point to the then governor, Godswill Akpabio, that he did not have the power to dictate to the people of Urue Offong/Uruko.
Mr. Eyo, who described Mr. Archibong’s defection as “very hurtful”, alleged that the lawmaker was induced to leave his former party.
“We will do all that we can to claim back our mandate,” he said.
Meanwhile, a former federal lawmaker from the state, Robinson Uwak, who represented the Oron Federal Constituency, has dispelled the rumour that he has defected from the APC to the PDP.
In an announcement aired by a local radio station in the state, Mr. Uwak said “My attention has been drawn to the falsehood currently being peddled by a government-owned radio and television stations where the public is being misinformed of my defection to the PDP.
“I remain a chieftain of the APC with no admiration for other political parties,” the former lawmaker said.