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…Emem Akpabio, Rep. Emmanuel Ukpong-udo, Hon Asuquo Udo, to defect with OBA

Embattled Senator Bassey Albert is in dilemma over his intention of activating his Plan B, a move that will see the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District contesting the 2023 governorship election on the platform of the Young Peoples Party, YPP.

But his major dilemma is the refusal of his key supporters following him to what could be described as “a journey to political self destruct”.

While Sir Emem Akpabio; member representing Ini/Ikono Federal Constituency, Hon Emmanuel Ukpong-udo; and member representing Ikono State Constituency, Hon Asuquo Udo, have agreed to defect with OBA to YPP, others are undecided largely because they are afraid that for those in the State Assembly, their seats may be declared vacant while those with Board appointments may be terminated, a fate they said they are not ready to take.

Investigation reveals that last week’s reported picking of the YPP Expression of Interest and Nomination form by the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of YPP, Apostle Nyeneime Andy, ostensibly to run for the 2023 governorship primary of the party was actually a decoy.

“Apostle Nyeneime Andy was actually buying the form for keeps in trust for OBA ahead of his defection. OBA, Macaire, Akpanusoh and a few others have long bought their YPP nomination form. Infact, they have all paid for their clearance. But the challenge they have is that some of those OBA thought will defect with him are developing cold feet when viewed against the background of what happened to those that defected from the PDP in 2019”.

“Don’t forget all those who defected to APC with former Governor Akpabio all lost the 2019 general elections. That is the greatest fear among top OBA loyalists which has dimmed the hope of any fanfare when he finally leaves to try his luck in YPP,” said a high ranking member of the Akwa Ubok Abasi Campaign Organization who pleaded anonymity.

Findings show that Hon Asuquo Nana Udo want OBA to guarantee him and others that should they loose their seats upon their defection to YPP, he (OBA) will pay them all the salaries and emoluments they are entitled to as a condition for defecting with him, a precondition OBA is reportedly not favorably disposed to.

Another major source of disagreement is in the area of funding of the new political party, the YPP. While some of OBA’s loyalists are of the view that OBA should solely finance the new party in all the wards, local governments, federal Constituencies and Senatorial Districts and assume the role of the leader of YPP in Akwa Ibom State, OBA on his part is of the opinion that since it is politics which is all about interest, the risk should be shared in view of the fact that it is more of a business and political venture than it is a social contract.

Also, unresolved was who among his loyalists will stay back to play the spoilers role in PDP ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“OBA wants some of them to stay back and see how they can frustrate PDP not having candidates for 2023 but they know that card won’t work. Some key members of the campaign are advising him to rather accept the outcome of event in the PDP, embrace the Governor’s succession agenda and endorse Umo Eno at least for the sake of his supporters”, said a source.

The many unresolved issues seem to have beclouded the fanfare that was envisaged will engulf the political atmosphere with OBA’s purported defection to YPP.

Reacting to the development, a University Lecturer, Dr Ubong Akpan said, OBA’s purported defection to YPP is noting but a quick way for the Ibiono Ibom born ex banker to dribble himself into political extinction, advising that he should rather accept his fate and remain in PDP, a party he noted gave him the ladder to get to where he is today in life.

Also speaking, a public affairs analyst, Mr Ekomobong Peter said, while some names mentioned may sound big, the reality on ground does not support the premise that they can cause any major political upstage in 2023.

“Every election cycle is not devoid of issues, dramas, sense and senselessness. Party members worth their name must approach season as this with a baggage of understanding, never to unblock the canal of emotions, thereby reducing the high to a low”, he admonished.

On claims by Hon Ukpong-udo that the PDP is attempting to field an unpopular candidate, Mr Peter said the Ini/Ikono lawmaker is overrated as he would not have won in 2019 but not for the votes from Ini LGA.

“I challenge my House of Representatives member to publish the 2O19 result of his ward and Local Government for the House of Representative election between himself and candidate of the APC justifying his claims of popularity”.

“He should be reminded that notoriety is not popularity. If Ini LGA didn’t deal mercilessly with APC, would Rep Emmanuel Ukpong Udo be insulting leaders, stakeholders and Party the way he does with less than five thousand votes, which did not come from him but other wards from Ikono? He should be reminded of the risk of slipping into dissonance”, he warned.

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