The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State, last 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 Barr. Uyo Udom, a lawyer and politician.
The defection of the Ika local government area PDP leader came barely a month after deputy inspector general of Police, Udom Ekpoudom (retd) and Obong Otu Robert Akpan, his counterparts in Etim Ekpo and Ini local government areas, respectively, joined the APC; together with Godswill Akpabio, former Senate minority leader.
Dr Udoikpong, also a former chairman of Ika local government and immediate past chairman of the State Agency for the Control of AIDS, who spoke on behalf of the defectors, said they were leaving the PDP because the Governor Udom Emmanuel Administration has completely neglected Ika, a boundary local government area with Abia State, in the scheme of things and infrastructure.
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He condemned the inclusion of their names in the Udom Emmanuel Governorship Campaign Organisation without their consent and demanded that their names be removed.
APC State Chairman, Ini Okopido, who received the defectors, said with their coming, Ika is now completely APC. Okopido, an indigene of Ika, assured them of accommodation and equal rights as old members in the APC.
House of Assembly Member for Ika/Etim Ekpo State Constituency, Gabriel Toby, who joined the APC recently, told the crowd that with all the major Ika political gladiators in one camp; APC will sweep the 2019 elections in the area.
Among the APC chieftains who witnessed the defection included Sir Ernest Ukpong and Akanimo Edet, former House of Assembly members and Chief Edem Obot, the Adaha Ika.