Joe Effiong, Uyo
The All Progressives Congress (APC), in Akwa Ibom State, has taken over the building hitherto occupied by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as their state secretariat on Ikot Ekpene Road.
But the PDP said APC would continue to take over its abandoned property from electoral candidates, membership even down to buildings.
The PDP had relocated from the building to another rented apartment on Edet Akpan Avenue about three years ago leaving the building empty except for some churches which occupied only a section of the massive duplex.
Meanwhile, APC members on Saturday, blocked a section of the road as they held their first meeting there and moved a motion that the place should, henceforth, become their state secretariat.
The state gubernatorial candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Johh Akpanudoedeghe, had moved the motion and was seconded by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Managing Director, Nsima Ekere, that the secretariat on Ikot Ekpene be inaugurated and be used as the Akwa Ibom State secretariat of the party.
Speaking before the motion was moved, Ekere said the secretariat was significant, because in 1998, the same secretariat was used by patriotic Akwa Ibom indigenes to install the governorship of the state in May 1999.
He said the same feat will be repeated during the forthcoming general election, 20 years after.
He urged Akwa Ibom indigenes to join hands with the APC and strategise to win the 2019 general election.
The secretariat was thus inaugurated by the APC National Chairman, Adam Oshiomhole, represented by the South South National Vice Chairman, Hillary Eta.
In their response, two former House of Representatives members from the state, Bassey Etim and Esio Okwong, who represented Uyo and Oron federal constituencies respectively between 2003 and 2007 on the PDP platform, immediately announced their defection with their followers to the state chapter of the APC.
Welcoming the defectors, Eta assured them that they would be given the rights and privileges as accrued to all members.
He urged them to join the old members of the party and work to ensure APC was victorious in the forthcoming 2019 general election.
“You are all welcome to our 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 APC in 2019,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, Bassey Etim, who contested for Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial seat on the PDP platform in 2015, said he was happy to join the party of progressives.
Etim said they would work hard to enthrone APC in Akwa Ibom and ensure the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2019.
Reacting to the development, PDP Publicity Secretary, Ini Ememobong, said PDP had since abandoned the secretariat but that APC would continue to take over whatever the PDP had abandoned.
“Remember in the last election, we abandoned a governorship candidate, they took over; we abandoned two senatorial candidates they took over.”