PDP rally in Ikot Ekpene on Wednesday

Okon Bassey in Uyo

The political tension in Akwa Ibom State took a new twist yesterday with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) staging a parallel political rally in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district, while that of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was ongoing.

While the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio was being received into the APC at the Ikot Ekpene township stadium, a large group of supporters of the PDP from the senatorial district converged on the Ritman College.

At the PDP rally, members denounced the defection of Akpabio and reaffirming their support for Governor Udom Emmanuel.

The PDP leader in the district, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, a former deputy chief whip of the senate and members of the State Executive Council from the district, said Akpabio took unilateral decision without consulting anyone.

Essien who said he was the Director General of Akpabio’s senatorial campaign, expressed dismay that the former senate minority leader took the decision to defect without the courtesy of informing him and other dignitaries in the district.

He stressed that the people of the district have withdrawn their endorsement and the support they had earlier given to Akpabio.

“Udom Emmanuel will be given in 2019, since we heard that Akpabio was going to defect, it has been a shameful thing to us,’’ he said. According to Essien, the defection of Akpabio is a liberation to the people of the area and Akwa Ibom State.

He noted that out of the 54 appointments in the district, Akpabio got 34 appointments for the people of his local government area, Essien Udim while Ikot Ekpene LGA got only five.

He maintained that Udom who is from Akwa Ibom South senatorial district of the state would serve for eight years since Akpabio from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district had also served for eight years.

Other speakers including serving commissioners like the commissioner for science and technology, Nse Essien and Chairman of Ibom Power Company, Etido Inyang as well as Sunny Ibuot, former Chairman of Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area (LGA) all denounced Akpabio’s
defection while pledging their support to Governor Emmanuel.

Similar rallies were reportedly being held in all the local government headquarters in the senatorial district as a demonstration of the people against the defection of the former senate minority leader.