…Martin Umanah quits APC, berates Akpabio
The camp of former governor of Akwa Ibom state and immediate past Senate minority leader yesterday suffered a heavy blow as his brother Prince Ukpong Akpabio, and over twenty thousand of his kinsmen dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) and switched allegiance to the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Igbere TV reports.
Less than three months after Akpabio’s defection from the PDP to APC, signs of disintegration of his once solid empire in his home town, Essien Udim has begun with his younger brother, Prince Ukpong Akpabio leading the onslaught.
The defectors were led by Barr Martins Umanah a former Chairman of Essien Udim and the first on the platform of the PDP in 1999.
The defectors were received back to the PDP by the state governor, represented by his deputy, Moses Ekpo, who led PDP officials and stakeholders to receive the former APC members at Unity Hall, Essien Udim.
Among those who defected was the pioneer Chairman of Essien Udim, Barr Martins Umanah, APC Chapter Chairman, Pastor Kayeobong, Financial Secretary, Organizing secretary, ward chairmen and other executives.
Deputy Governor was accompanied by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Sir Monday Uko, Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Industry, Prince Ukpong Akpabio, political godfather of Senator Godswill Akpabio,Akpabio, Michael Afanideh among other PDP stakeholders.
Addressing the gathering, the leader of the defectors and pioneer chairman of Essien Udim, Chief Martin Umanah said he came to support the return of PDP from the lowest to the highest level in government in Nigeria, pledging the loyalty of Essien Udim people to Governor Emmanuel come 2019.
“God will punish me and my family if I return to APC”, he declared.
Also speaking, Prince Ukpong Akpabio, a close confidant and ally of Senator Akpabio, explained that it was former Governor Godswill Akpabio that brought Governor Udom Emmanuel and told Essien Udim people to support his aspiration for eight years, reiterating the resolve of Essien Udim people to always stand with Udom till 2023.
Ukpong Akpabio had served as an aide to the former Governor since his days as a Commissioner and served as Special Assistant, Special Assistant on General Duties from 2007-2015.
The defection which is believed to have rattled the former governor has crippled the APC in the area and weakened his support base as well as grip of power in Essien Udim local government and Ikot Ekpene federal constituency.
What was seen as a major security infraction during the ceremony, was however averted when combined team of security operatives in Essien Udim Local Government area, resisted the invasion of that event venue by armed thugs, suspected to be sponsored by APC.
The paid trouble makers attempted to invade the premises of the meeting which was held at Essien Udim town hall with different weapons chanting war songs, they threw different in bottles and stones but their effort to gain entrance to the main hall was truncated, with their bus seized while they took to their heels.