Akpabio Defection Rally: Rented-Crowd Fights Over N5000

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

defecting senator.

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

with Akpabio.