As Akwa Ibom State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held its congresses across the 329 Wards and elected no fewer than 987 ad-hoc delegates ahead of the party primaries, the gale of defections from the former ruling party to the All Progressives Congress (APC), remain a sour point at the conclusion of the event.
While the congresses was being held across the 31 local government areas, over 5,000 PDP supporters led by a staunch member of the Divine Mandate, Emmanuel’s campaign team for 2019 bid, Dr. Francis Udoikpong, announced his withdrawal from the PDP to pitch tent with the APC.
It was a forum in Ika Local Government Area, where the APC Chairman, Hon. Ini Okopido, received the decampees into the central ruling party ruling party.
Also, the ranks of the 26 – member House of Assembly further depleted with the defection of the member representing Itu State Constituency, Hon. Idongesit Ituen, into the APC, shunning all entreaties by the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-eyen; the National Legal Adviser to the PDP, Hon. Emmanuel Enoidem, and others to rescind his decision.
In the same vein, former Deputy Governor to former governor Godswill Akpabio, Lady Valerie Ebe, jumped ship at the weekend, even as several others were said to be lining up to defect, soon after the primaries and nominations of candidates.
It was gathered at the weekend that “most of those still hanging on in the cabinet of governor Emmanuel, are just buying time, maybe to get paid for their contracts and other transactions they entered into with the State government”.
Also the ranks of the 26 member house of Assembly was further reduce to 23 following the defection of the member representing Itu state constituency Hon Idonesit Ituen who was said to have shuned all entrities to stay put in PDP by the State commissioner for Works Ephraim Nyang and others to jump ship into the main opposition party APC.
Speaking in an interview at the weekend, a former Supervisroy Councilor in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area Ward 8, Hon. Unyime Ekanem, said “they elected me as a delegate in absentia”.
“This is the same position I fasted and prayed to be included in the run up to the 2015 elections, but they denied me. I was in my house in Uyo, and to battle several phone calls begging me to come to Etim Ekpo, to stand for the poll.
“I told them I was busy doing some other things in Uyo, and immediately after the exercise, they called to tell I have won as the delegate to the primary in my Ward, and I laughed at them”, he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Emmanuel, who supervised the poll in his Awa Iman Ward 1, in his Onna Local Government Area and the PDP State Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo, have declared the exercise hitch-free, saying the due processes were followed in the emergence of the delegates.