The turmoil that erupted among some attendees of a rally organized to mark
the defection of Senator Godswill Akpabio from opposition People Democratic
Party, PDP, to the ruling All Progressives Congress t as thrown Nigerians
in doubt as to whether the mammoth crowd seen at the rally was real or a
Sen. Akpabio officially dumped the PDP in Wednesday’s rally at Ikot Ekpene
township stadium in the presence of a massive crowd, where he sighted
national interest as his main reason for defection.
The defection which sent panic and shockwaves into PDP’s camp was however
doused after the news of fighting among supporters that graced the event
broke out later.
AljazirahNigeria sources at Ikot Ekpene said that the massive crowd at the
Akpabio’s defection rally was mobilized from nearby towns and states
namely Uyo, Calabar, Aba, Umuahia, and as far as Owerri. However, rancour
broke out when some persons mobilized from outside Ikot Ekpene felt
short-changed when they received 2000 naira instead of 5000 naira.
Some supporters who were fuming over the development alleged that the
coordinators of the rally cheated participants as they threatened to cause
more trouble if nothing is done. Calm was, however, restored when leaders
of various groups were addressed by a man identified as one of Sen.
Akpabio’s foot soldiers.
Furthermore, local sources revealed that the mammoth crowd seen during the
rally was largely rented, testing the popularity of the two-time governor.
The leadership of the PDP had earlier described Akpabio’s defection as an
unfortunate decision by the former Senate minority leader, stressing that
he has walked against the tide and endangered his political career.
A comment which many political analysts said was an indication that the PDP
is afraid of losing a lot of followers in Akwa Ibom State.
At the eve of Akpabio’s defection, it was gathered that 2 Senators, 8
Commissioners, 13 House of Assembly members, 6 Federal House of
Representatives members, 16 former commissioners, 17 former chairmen, 3
members of the PDP state working committee were all set to join the
However, contrarily Akpabio on the day of his official defection was
flanked by APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Party Leader,
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Boss Mustapha who
represented President Muhammadu Buhari and other party chieftains.
The expected massive defection did not hold as most PDP stalwarts expected
to jump with Akpabio withdrew to stay put in the opposition party.
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, at the World Press Conference held at
the National Assembly complex on Wednesday last week downplayed Akpabio’s
importance when he said that the lawmaker’s defection was not a national
The likes of Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom, Moses Ekpo, debunked the rumour
of joining the APC, but rather pledged loyalty to the Gov. Udom Emmanuel led
Also, Some government officials, like the Speaker of Akwa Ibom House of
Assembly, Onofiok Luke, the senator representing Uyo Senatorial District,
Bassey Albert, and some legislators expected to be Akpabio loyalists all
turned their back on the senator.
AljazirahNigeria gathered that only a former Deputy Inspector-General of
Police, Udom Ekpoudom, former Secretary to the State Government, Eteakamba
Umoren, APC chapter Chairman in Ikot Ekpene, Prince Augustine Ikono, and
the two sacked commissioners were the only prominent names that decamped