A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom state, John Udoedehe, has welcomed the plan by Godswill Akpabio to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.
Mr Akpabio, who is the Senate Minority Leader, is a former governor of Akwa Ibom state.
He is expected to be formally received into the APC on Wednesday in a rally in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom state.
Mr Udoedehe, a former senator, told PREMIUM TIMES, Sunday, that he was happy to have remained faithful to the APC, even when people, according to him, were mocking him for building the opposition party in Akwa Ibom.
“When I brought the opposition party to Akwa Ibom, they were laughing at me. Today, they are celebrating with me,” said the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
“What a fulfillment! I am happy that I am alive to witness it.”
He said the APC was yet to inform officially that Mr Akpabio was joining the party, but that he has to accept it since the APC leaders at the national level have accepted the senator.
Mr Udoedehe, then a PDP member, directed the campaign for Mr Akpabio’s election as governor in 2007.
He fell apart with Mr Akpabio and left the PDP for the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) where, as the party’s governorship candidate, he contested the 2011 election against Mr Akpabio.
Mr Akpabio won re-election, but Mr Udoedehe almost lost his life when he and his campaign team were violently attacked in Ikot Ekpene, March 2011, by thugs suspected to have been hired by the PDP.
Some of the ACN supporters were killed in the attack.
Mr Udoedehe, ironically, was subsequently arrested, detained, and charged to court for murder and arson by the Akwa Ibom state government, but was later discharged and acquitted.
“What can you do? You use the spirit of Christ to forgive everyone,” the former senator said of the incident. “All those that Akpabio used against me are also in APC today.”
Mr Udoedehe has indicated interest to contest again for the governorship of the state in 2019.