One of the chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party in Eket Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Chief Samingo Etukakpan, and his over 500 loyalists, have defected to the All Progressives Congress.
Declaring his defection to his new party in Eket on Monday, Etukakpan, who is from Ward 4 Urban, Eket said he was tired of battling to save a party he co-founded when it was obvious that the former ruling party was a sinking ship.
He said as a PDP member since 1998 and former secretary, Eket chapter of the Elders’ Forum of the party, he had done his utmost to redirect the party to its original ideology of internal democracy, but to no avail.
“I have worked for the PDP for the past 18 years without any dividend of democracy for myself and my followers, over 500 of them you can now see here.
“They are all defecting to the APC in my support because they too have realised that the PDP has failed them and as expected they cannot remain in such a failed party, where impunity and selfishness reign supreme,” he said.
Etukakpan stated that the PDP had been hijacked for some years by a group of people he described as hawks.
He said they did not know anything about democracy but impunity.
Etukakpan noted that the party would not have failed if the ‘hawks’ had allowed the people and the founding fathers to manage it democratically.
He pledged to work for the growth of the APC in the state by keeping with its ideology and also to make sure that all his supporters joined the APC to assist the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari revamp the economy that was ruined by the past PDP leaders.
The chapter chairman of the APC in Eket, Obong Godwin Akwawo, received Etukakpan and his followers into the party.
He described the former PDP chieftain as a big fish that could not swim in a small river and commended him for his foresight.
Akwawo added that the defector would bring more than 70 per cent of his followers to the APC.
He explained that he was aware that the political heavyweight had earlier declared his intent at his ward level where he was registered with the APC registration as confirmed by Mr. Ubong Etukudo, Ward 4 Urban chairman of the APC in Eket.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of the symbolic APC brooms and the party cards to Etukakpan and his followers.
However, a chieftain of the PDP in the state and a political leader of Esit Eket Local Government Area, Mr. Benji Udobia, has pleaded with PDP faithful to support the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.
Udobia also asked his members to remain in the party, saying that PDP is the only political party in Akwa Ibom State.
“You must all remain loyal to the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel. The PDP remains the only political party in Akwa Ibom State; you don’t have a reason to go anywhere else,” he said.
Speaking during the end of year get-together and empowerment of his people in Edor community on Monday, Udobia predicted a fruitful and glaring economic turnaround for the state in 2017.
Udobia, who expressed his views based on the indices of Emmanuel’s achievements, added that the industrialisation policy of the present administration would begin to yield results by the second quarter of 2017.
He called on youths of Edor community in Esit Eket to prepare themselves for employment by acquiring technical skills and education to be relevant when the state achieve its industrialisation programme.