Akwa Ibom PDP strongman, Emmanuel’s cousins, father-in-law defect to APC, vow to work for Ekere

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ini Local Government area of Akwa Ibom State has suffered a crippling blow with the defection of the strongman of the politics of the area, Dr Godwin Udo Udo, to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Udo, a long-standing political kingmaker popularly called “Mentor” by Ini politicians, defected on Friday at a rally in Methodist School, Mbiabong Ikot Udofia, Ini, with thousands of supporters including a serving local government supervisor, two chapter executive members, 56 ward executive members and six former councillors.
His defection came barely three months after the defection of the apex Political Leader of Ini, Obong Otu Robert Akpan, and the earlier defection of a former House of Representatives Member for Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency, Prof Ini Udoka.
Udo said he defected to assist Obong Akpan, a former Chairman of the National Broadcasting Commission, to deliver the area to APC.
He said that with his defection “God has answered the prayers of APC in Ini because I have never failed to deliver victory during elections and I will not fail this time.”
Receiving the defectors, Hon Ini Okopido, the APC State Chairman said with the number and quality of defectors PDP was finished in Ini because there was no politician of substance left in PDP.
Obong Nsima Ekere, the APC Governorship Candidate, attributed the exodus from the PDP into the APC to the acknowledgement of the performance of the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari by the people of the state and the rejection of the Udom Emmanue-led State Government.
“If the PDP State Government was performing, will people be leaving? There is nothing to show for three and a half years in Akwa Ibom State,” he said.
Senator Godswill Akpabio, the immediate past Governor of the state, said it was all over for PDP, saying: “This is total collapse. I don’t like talking when it is all over. I don’t like to return to Egypt. I don’t want to see even a torn umbrella. It is torn. Go and bury it.”
Obong Otu Robert Akpan said he left PDP because Ini had not benefitted for the three and half years of the government of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Hon Victor Udofia, the Member for Ikono State Constituency in the State House of Assembly posited that with the massive defection “PDP has lost the game” in Ini even before the election.
Mr Itoro Efrene, the Ini APC chapter chairman said the Ini  PDP, which he resigned from as chapter secretary, has finally collapsed with the exit of Dr Udo whom he called “a big fish.”
Solidarity messages were also delivered by Edidiong Idiong, the APC House of Representatives candidate for Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency and Mr Nyah Isong, the House of Assembly candidate for Ini State Constituency.
In a related development, 20 maternal cousins of Governor Udom Emmanuel from his Awa clan in Onna Local Government have defected from the PDP to APC, apologising for what they called the governor’s non-performance.
They joined APC on Friday during the reception of Udo.
Two of Emmanuel’s cousins, Kingsley Ufang and Valentine Ufang, had defected to APC last year, advising the governor not to seek re-election to avoid disgrace at the polls because of his unpopularity even in his village, Awa Iman.
Mr Tony Ekwere, the leader of the latest set of defectors from the governor’s family, flanked by other members of the family, thanked Senator Akpabio for helping their cousin to become governor and apologised for the disappointment the governor has brought Akpabio and Akwa Ibom people.
“We are not happy with the situation. We are sad. We stood by you (Senator Akpabio) to deliver our brother, Udom Emmanuel. And we are going to stand by you to deliver Obong Nsima Ekere and President Muhammadu Buhari. Without Godswill Akpabio, nobody would have known Awa Iman as a village and Awa as a clan in Onna. We want Godswill Akpabio to correct the mistake of 2015,” he said.
Obong Nsima Ekere, the APC Governorship candidate, said by admitting and regretting the failure of their cousin, the defectors had demonstrated that they were a family with conscience.
Archbishop Samuel Akpan, a former APC governorship aspirant from Onna who introduced the governor’s cousins at the rally, hailed them for coming to do “a send-off party” for Emmanuel.
Also speaking, Mr Felix Idiong, Governor Udom Emmanuel’s father-in-law, disclosed that the governor has not allowed his wife, Martha, to affect the lives of her family members in Oruk Anam local government area.
“He has not allowed my daughter the privilege to impact on the lives of her family. We have become so disgusted, so disappointed at why he could behave that way. That is why I followed Godswill Akpabio. The family of Obong Sampson Udo Idiong, a former President of Ibibio State Union and former Paramount Ruler of Abak, Ukanafun and Oruk Anam, have come to support Senator Godswill Akpabio and Obong Nsima Ekere.”

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