Defecting from one political party to another by party activists is nothing new; it happens everywhere in the world. In the context of Akwa Ibom State, what makes defections to grab the headlines, especially in the social media, is the cause for defections and the caliber and characteristics of those who defect. Let examine the reasons for defections.
Last week, or two weeks ago, speaking on behalf of the hundreds of defectors at Odot in Nsit Atai Local Government Area, two leaders, who represented the defectors, Mr. Johnny Johnny and Prince Ime Jacob, “said they jumped ship from PDP because it was clear that the party was heading for a ship wreck.” What these two community leaders did not mention was the reason PDP, a party they loved so much when Akpabio was the Governor, is heading for a ship wreck.
No matter all the spins by defectors, the simple compelling reason for their defections is money. In Akwa Ibom State the economic situation is biting sharply. No more available money to throw around. Those who used to depend on politics as the main source of earning a living and survival could no longer afford the life-style they used to enjoy in the days of Akpabio’s administration, hence the hullabaloo about defections.
When Akpabio was the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, these same groups of people, who are now running away from PDP to APC, were the largest beneficiaries of the Akwa Ibom State revenue. Many of them served as Chairs of Local Government, Personal Assistants, Commissioners, Area Boys, and so forth and so on.
Together they wielded so much influence in the State. They committed lots of mind-bugling atrocities and were ready to, and in many instances did, eliminate anyone who appeared to be on their way. Scores of innocent indigenes of the State were murdered, assassinated, kidnapped, raped and mutilated. They cared less for human lives; after all, no accountability was required of them.
Some of them, especially those who served as Chairmen of Local Government Areas, abandoned their respective houses to reside in expensive hotels that cost the State thousands of naira per day. They wallowed themselves in alcohol and women, became enmeshed in cult activities, and behaved at the time as if the world was coming to the end the following day.
That was the era of Godswill Akpabio; an era which was enhanced, nurtured, and supported by those who are now abandoning PDP to APC. Today, these PDP defectors are running away from PDP under the false expectations that if the APC party wins the governorship election in 2019, the leaders of APC will provide them with the same life-style they enjoyed during the era of Godswill Akpabio.
But times have changed!
The defectors may blame PDP all they want as the reason for their defections. The truth is well known that their frustrations are being directed at Governor Udom Emmanuel, not the PDP, who has refused to allow his government to become involved in fiduciary irresponsibility.
First, due to lower prices in oil, the revenue allocations from oil are no longer as bulky as it was in the days of Akpabio; therefore, Governor Udom Emmanuel has to be very prudent in managing the little available resources.
Second, unlike the background of former Governor Akpabio, Governor Emmanuel came into office after years of experience in the banking industry, which equipped him to understand the importance of resource management. Therefore, it would be an injustice for anyone, including the defectors, to expect his administration to throw money around in an irresponsible manner, as was fashionable in the days of Akpabio’s administration.
Besides money, who is the brain behind the defections? Some people blame Nsima Ekere as the rogue politician who is fooling the poor innocent masses into defections. But how influential is Nsima Ekere? Can he win election in Akwa Ibom State? These questions will be addressed in Part 2—-Next.
Written by the Great Ikpafak Thompson Essien
The Voice of the Poor Masses
Defender of the Oppressed
A native of Ibibio nation of Ubium Republic extraction, now living in the safe and beautiful city of Portland, Oregon, where no AKPF, ADUMA, ADV, and Akwa Ibom State politicians can reach.