By Okon Bassey in UyoÂ
The Director General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) State Campaigns Organisation in the 2015 governorship electioin Akwa Ibom State, Chief Sunny Udom, and not less than 20,000 members of the party in the state have dumped APC to pitch tent with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The former APC members led by Udom, declared for the PDP at the weekend at a reception organised by the youths of the old Abak division comprising five local government areas in the Ikot Ekpene senatorial district of the state in honour of the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, and his wife, Martha.
The defected APC members said APCâ€™s house was not in order, and as such, the party stood no chance in the next elections in the state hence their decision to decamp to the PDP, condemning the precarious condition their former party (APC) had plunged the country into.Â
Â â€œI brought these people from APC; APC does not have a candidate, I was the director general of their campaigns, so I know that their house is not in order,â€ Udom stressed, vowing to work hard to return PDP in 2019.Â
According to him, they were deceived into APC because of the change mantra of the party, and insisted that the change they brought was retrogressive.Â
â€œWe heard about change but the change turned out to be from frying pan to fire. At least let us come back to the frying pan, the umbrella is a very good symbol,â€ he said.
The former APC chieftain said they were under obligation to support the governor who is married to a daughter of the old Abak division, maintaining that the governor has served the state well.Â
Among those who surrendered their brooms to be received back into the party were former Chairman of Abak Local Government Area, Okon Obot; former House of Representatives member, Chief Nkereuwem Dan; former local government chairmen and ward coordinators of APC.
But in a sharp reaction to the defection of Udom to PDP, the APC in the state said the party wasnâ€™t surprised by his defection as he has the right to join or re-join any political party of his choice.Â Â
A statement issued by the APC yesterday said: â€œWe are aware that he was induced to return to the PDP by the promise of the state government to pay off the long-standing debts owed him by the government. We hope that this promise would be kept.Â
â€œChief Sunny Udom had hitherto enjoyed government patronage for his businesses until the relationship got sour. For many years, his patience and capacity to endure hardship was tested.Â
â€œHe was hounded by those who considered him a threat, and plots were hatched to assassinate him. Sometime in May 2014 he escaped assassination by whiskers when hired assassins invaded his office in Uyo in broad day light to â€˜take him outâ€™.
â€œWe wish to remind Udom that he is returning to the same set of people who plotted his assassination in 2014. These are the people Prof. Wole Soyinka rightly referred to as the â€˜Nest of Killersâ€™.
â€œNow that Udom is under pressure to please his new â€˜friendsâ€™, we urge him to desist from making further sensational and denigrating remarks about APC and its leaders in the state,â€ the statement signed by the State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Edet Eyo Bassey, stressed.Â
Speaking at the reception, the leader of the youths of the old Abak division, Prince Akpan Ikim, pledged the resolve of the youths to deliver their 200,000 votes for the state governorâ€™s re-election, saying his youth-friendly policies and programmes have met their expectations.
Chairman of the occasion and national legal adviser of the PDP, Emmanuel Enoidem, said his people in Abak, Etim Ekpo, Ika, Oruk Anam and Ukanafun have all agreed that the governor was the best for the state and was fulfilling his campaign promises.
Enoidem said for peace and unity to be upheld, Emmanuel has to complete his second term for Eket senatorial district, and also announced that his people have also declared their support for the second term of Senator Godswill Akpabio to represent the Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.