The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State on Saturday suffered a devastating blow with the defection of the party’s leader in Ika Local Government Area, Dr Francis Udoikpong.
Dr Udoikpong, a PDP state caucus member and former Commissioner for Health, defected with about 5,000 others, including Sir Godwin Idungafa, a former Ika local government vice chairman; Mr Harry Eduo, a former Ika local government secretary and councillor; and Uyo Udom, a lawyer and politician.
The defection of the PDP leader is coming barely a month after Deputy Inspector-General of Police Udom Ekpoudom (rtd) and Obong Otu Robert Akpan, his counterparts in Etim Ekpo and Ini local governments, joined the APC with Senator Godswill Akpabio, former Senate Minority leader.
Dr Udoikpong, also a former chairman of Ika Local Government and past Chairman of the State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA) who for the defectors, said they were leaving the PDP because the Udom Emmanuel Administration had neglected Ika, a boundary local government with Abia State.
He condemned inclusion of their names in Emmanuel campaign organisation without their consent, and demanded their names be removed.
Mr Ini Okopido, state chairman of APC, who received the defectors, noted that with their coming Ika is now APC.
Mr Okopido, himself an indigene of Ika, assured them of accommodation and equal rights as old members in the APC.
Gabriel Toby, member for Ika/Etim Ekpo State Constituency, who joined the APC recently, told the crowd that with major Ika political gladiators in one camp, APC would sweep the 2019 elections in the area.
Among APC chieftains that witnessed the defection are Sir Ernest Ukpong and Akanimo Edet, former House of Assembly members and Chief Edem Obot, the Adaha Ika.