Former Senate Minority leader, Godswill Akpabio of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has formally defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) but the state governor, Emmanuel Udom, has sacked two commissioners nominated by Akpabio.
The defection took place in the presence of the national leaders of the party including Adams Oshiomhole, BoLa Ahmed Tinubu and the managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other stalwarts of the party.
The Acting President was represented by the Secretary to the federal government, Boss Mustapha.
Address a capacity crowd at the Ikot Ekpene stadium shortly before Akpabio’s defection, Oshiomhole, the national chairman of APC praised Akpabio for joining the APC but berated the PDP for having mismanaged the economy of the country for 16 years. He said the PDP is dead and buried.
“We have often felt lonely in the south south region of the country that it is only in Edo state that we have a APC governor, people had given the impression that Akwa Ibom belongs to PDP ,but today what my eyes have seen is different.
He thanked the Senate for giving Akpabio the opportunity to serve as minority of minority leader adding that he had to surrender the crown of the PDP to join the APC.
“You have shown that we can stand up and be counted in the south south. When we have a senator like Akpabio standing by me, can we be afraid?
“ Let me assure you that on behalf of our national leader, on behalf of all the leaders and APC in all the states, we welcome you whole heartedly to the APC. This afternoon, we have an uncommon rally. I say Akwa Ibom is united under the leadership of Godswill Akpabio. Akwa Ibom should be united for the purpose of change. Welcome on board.
Speaking, Akpabio said he would be part of the solution to bring development to the people, to solve the problem of the country adding that uncommon transformation has come to Akwa Ibom State. He said he is ready to sweep away poverty adding that the Niger Delta belongs to the APC.
Two members of the state house of assembly, Nse Ntuen who represents Essien Udim state constituency, where Akpabio hails from as well as Gabriel Toby representing Etim Ekpo state constituency in the same senatorial district also defected with Akpabio.
Others who also defected included two members of the House of Representatives, Emman Ekon representing Abak, Ika, Etim Ekpo federal constituency and Emmanuel Akpan who represents Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara State constituency.
The governor sacked the two commissioners saying one of them went to welcome Akpabio at the airport and the other was removed on other grounds.