Akwa Ibom state secretariat, Young Progressives Party, YPP.
By Abasifreke Effiong
Over 580 chapter and ward officers of the Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom state have defected to the Young Progressives Party, YPP, following the defection of Senator Bassey Albert to the YPP.
Senator Albert who is the Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, and leader of the Akwa Ibom caucus in the National Assembly emerged governorship of the YPP in a reconducted primary after he defection from the PDP in July.
Barr. Usenobong Akpabio, Chairman of defection and inter-party committee of YPP in the state, said the number of officers who are defecting from the PDP to YPP increases on daily basis.
Barr. Akpabio who is the Akwa Ibom North East senatorial candidate of the YPP, also coordinates the committee saddled with the responsibility of receiving and documenting persons defecting from other political parties to the YPP.
He said his committee had received 580 chapter and ward officers who have defected from the PDP as of July ending.
“As at the day Obong Bassey Albert declared publicly for governorship in YPP, we wanted to showcase them, but there was no opportunity to do it. As at that day (31st July) I had counted 580 officers. The defection is on-going, a lot of officers are leaving the PDP. Like on Monday 15th August, two officers, and a woman leader from Onna left the PDP and joined us.”
“I have their records. I have their resignation letters. They have formally enrolled in the YPP as members. Membership registration is on going.”
“Officers of the PDP are defecting from all the local government areas across the state but in Ibiono Ibom, the defection is massive. Ibiono Ibom has the largest number of officers of PDP defecting to the YPP. From the chapter chairman to the ward chairmen, to other officers.”
“We have also a large turnover in Uyo, Ikono, Ini, Esit Eket, Itu, Eastern Obolo, Ibeno. There is no local government that is spared”.
Barr. Akpabio said YPP is the fastest growing party in Akwa Ibom state.
“The party is growing in leaps and bounds in such a manner that anybody who says the party doesn’t have people at the grassroots, such person is not telling the truth. As we speak today, if PDP has their meeting, it is YPP they talk about. Any other party that holds a meeting it is the meteoric growth of the YPP they talk about.
“YPP is the fastest growing party as far as Akwa Ibom state is concerned. The grassroots is not spared. By God’s grace in all the chapters, we have chapter offices. By the special grace of God, we have also inched into the wards, we have ward offices. In fact people are donating their houses for ward offices.”
“I don’t know how else one would say that there is a grassroots appeal. I can tell you that as far as the grassroots is concerned, YPP is there.”
Most of the officers who have defectors from the PDP have had their membership resignation letters posted on Facebook.
Chapter and ward officers of the PDP started leaving the party in dozens early last month to join Senator Albert, representing Akwa Ibom North East in the senate who is contesting for the governorship of the state on the platform of YPP.
Aside the party officers, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Ikono/Ini Hon. Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo, and two members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr. Usoro Akpanusoh and Mr. Nana Udo, representing Edit Eket/Ibeno and Ikono state constituencies respectively have also defected to the YPP.
Former Commissioner for Works who later served as Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr. Ephraim Inyang, and the immediate past Commissioner for Labour and Manpower Planning, Mr. Sunny Ibuot, who resigned from the state executive council in March have joined the YPP.
Two special assistants to the governor resigned their appointment in June to join the YPP.
However, the PDP has started filling replacement for the defected officers.