By Isaiah Eka
Two former House of Representatives members, Messrs Bassey Etim and Esio Okwong, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom.
Etim and Okwong represented Uyo and Oron Federal Constituencies at the National Assembly between 2003 and 2007.
The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, received the duo with over 2,000 of their followers on Saturday during the inauguration of Akwa Ibom party secretariat in Uyo.
Oshiomhole was represented by the National Vice Chairman, South South of the party, Mr Hillary Eta.
Welcoming the defectors, the national chairman assured them that they would be given all rights and privileges as accrued to all members.
He urged them to join the old members of the party and work to ensure that APC was victorious in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
“You are all welcome to our great party. You will enjoy all rights and privileges as members of this party.
“You are expected to use your wealth of experience to ensure the success of All Progressives Congress come 2019,’’ he said.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, Etim, who contested the Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial seat under the PDP in 2015 general elections and lost, said that he was happy to join the party of progressives.
Etim said that they would work hard to enthrone APC in the state and ensure the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
“I am very happy to join the party of progressives today. We have over 2000 of our members who are coming with us to join the progressives. They were all members of the PDP in the state.
“We will ensure that the party will not only win, but will sweep the state come 2019,’’ Etim said.
Earlier, former Sen. James Akpanudoedeghe had moved a motion seconded by Mr Nsima Ekere, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, that the Secretariat along Ikot Ekpene Road be inaugurated and used as the state party secretariat.
Speaking before moving the motion, Ekere said that the secretariat was significant, recalling that in 1998 the same secretariat was used by patriotic Akwa Ibom indigenes to install the government in May 1999.
According to him, the same feat will be replicated in the upcoming general elections.
He urged all Akwa Ibom patriotic indigenes to join hands with the APC and strategise to win the 2019 general elections.