The governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) in last year’s general election in Akwa Ibom State, Bassey Albert Akpan, and other stalwarts of the party have pledged their allegiance to the All Progressives Congress (APC) after paying a visit to the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.
Other chieftains who also defected to APC included, deputy governorship candidate, Asuquo Amba; State Executive Committee of the party led by the state chairman, Nyeneime Andy; its elders’ council, chapter and ward officers.
The defection was perfected during a solidarity visit to Godswill Akpabio, at his country home in Ukana, Essien Udim Local Government Area of the state.
They also declared their support for President Bola Tinubu.
The party scored the second highest number of valid votes cast in the 2023 governorship election, won two seats in the House of Assembly and one in the House of Representatives elections, according to results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Presenting the position of the party during the solidarity visit to the Senate President, the Eket senatorial candidate of the party in the 2023 election, Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, said the members of the party unanimously agreed to join the APC after making adjustments for the growth of the country.
“We have come to tell you that the time has come for us to make necessary adjustments for the growth of Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria. We have come with a message of solidarity to you.
The last time a person from the South-South zone occupied the position of the Senate President was about 44 years ago. We are determined to stand by you and support you.
“We are satisfied with the economic policies of President Bola Tinubu. We are determined to stand by you and strengthen your hand so that you can achieve more.
“We have come wholeheartedly to pledge our solidarity. We have come to make fundamental commitment.
“After the Supreme Court judgment, we came to a decision and the right decision was that we should support the APC. We have come with the totality of the YPP family in solidarity.
“Today, YPP in Akwa Ibom State has become APC. We have come to submit that you lead us,” he said.
Inyang-Eyen was commissioner for Works, and Chief of Staff to the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State.
The State Chairman of YPP, Nyeneime Andy said members of the party were pleased with policies of the Tinubu administration.
Andy said after the rerun election in Ikono/Ini federal constituency and Ibiono Ibom State Constituency candidates of the party in the two legislative houses will officially defect to the APC.
“Politics is like a football match, you should know that there will always be a time for transfers. So, this is time for transfer. The YPP is very happy and pleased with the way President Bola Tinubu is running the affairs of the country, that is why our party members said we should take them to APC,” Andy said.
In his remarks, Governorship candidate of the YPP in the 2023 election, Senator Bassey Albert, said the party joined the APC to support President Tinubu and the Senate President to ensure that Akwa Ibom is not divided.
“I am a son you sent out and I have come with a lot of sons. I aspired because I knew that the Akwa Ibom State you built is not the Akwa Ibom we have today. I saw my aspiration as opportunity to restore the lost glory of Akwa Ibom State.
“We are here to join hands with you (Senate President) to ensure that Akwa Ibom State is not divided. We have come to submit totally to your leadership. We believe and feel strongly that we are safer in APC. After the rerun our members in the House of Representatives and House of Assembly will join us here.
“I am not here to contest any election but to support you to deliver Akwa Ibom State to APC.”
Responding, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, acknowledged the growth of the YPP and the capacity the party demonstrated during the 2023 governorship election.
He lauded them for coming out openly to commend Tinubu’s style of administration, policies and programmes aimed at improving the well-being of Nigerians.
“From nothing, you built a recognised political structure in Akwa Ibom State that propelled you to somewhere. Thank you for openly acknowledging that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is leading the nation in the right direction. I tell people, if you can see good governance in Asiwaju, why don’t you join us.
“This is a very uncommon move, you are not joining us because there is an election tomorrow. You are joining us because you have seen good governance.”
Akpabio said the APC will provide equal opportunity to all of them.
The YPP structure was received by the State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Stephen Ntukekpo who equally guaranteed all rights and privileges to all those that have joined the APC same as those who have been there overtime.
Ntukekpo said he has been mandated by the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Ganduje, to direct all members of the APC to vote for the two candidates of the YPP during the rerun election in Ikono/Ini federal constituency and Ibiono Ibom State Constituency scheduled for February 3, 2024.