The exodus from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State on Friday spread to Ibeno local government area, the host community of Exxon Mobil oil company, as over 300 members of the party defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Akwa Ibom State PDP has suffered mass defection in recent months from across the state including Governor Udom Emmanuel’s village, Awa Iman in Onna local government area where two of his cousins, Messrs Kingsley Uffang and Valentine Uffang have joined the APC.
Among the defectors in Ibeno, who joined the APC during a ceremony at the party’s local government chapter office in Iwuochang, were a former Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Agricultural Loans Board, Barr. Rex Ulaeto, three former councillors, Messrs Enyinna Ukana, Patrick Usenekong and George Eka, and several women.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, Barr. Rex Ulaeto, also a former Ibeno local government acting chairman, said by their defection they were opening the floodgate of mass movement of many more PDP members into the APC because Ibeno, being the main revenue earner for Akwa Ibom State, could not afford to remain in opposition to the Federal Government.
He said they were on a liberation mission in Ibeno, adding that the defectors were the people on ground that used to deliver the area to the PDP in the past without being appreciated.
Another defector, Hon. Enyinna Ukana thanked the APC leadership at the state and local levels for allowing them to join the party and promised to work strongly for the victory of APC in Ibeno in future elections.
Receiving the defectors, the APC Chairman for Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, Mr. Emmanuel Oton assured them of equality with old members in the party with the right to participate in all the party’s activities.
He described the exodus from the PDP to the APC in Akwa Ibom State as more spiritual than natural because it was the first time people were leaving the ruling party to the opposition party and not the other way round.
The APC Leader of Eket Federal Constituency and former State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Emem Wills, who chaired the occasion said the defectors were escaping from political oppression in Ibeno, adding that their movement had drastically changed the politics of the area.
He expressed joy that the vision of APC taking over everywhere in the state which he saw in October 2014 when he left the PDP was now materializing.
The APC Ibeno Leader, Elder Effiong Enim said it was time for Ibeno to leave the political wilderness because the area currently has no representative in the Senate, House of Representatives, House of Assembly and the State cabinet under the PDP.
The APC Ibeno chapter chairman, Hon. Emmanuel Samuel Akpan said the party in Ibeno was getting stronger daily and commended the defectors for adding to their strength.
Personalities at the occasion included the APC State Organizing Secretary, Mr. Bassey Eshiet, Ibeno’s representative in the APC State Executive Committee, Apostle Ndueheidem Eshiet, the APC chapter chairmen for Esit Eket, Onna and Eastern Obolo, Messrs Aniefiok Cobb Conson, Tony Emmanuel and Raphael Arakpan, Mr. Eyo Abia and Prince Iboro Ekpo, APC stalwarts in Esit Eket and Mkpat Enin.