By Isaiah Eka/Uyo
On the day that Senator Godswill Akpabio formally defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom tried to spoil the defection party by sacking two commissioners loyal to Akpabio.
The commissioners were sacked with immediate effect for what was called “act of disloyalty”.
They are the Commissioners for Labour, Productivity and Manpower Development, Mr Ibanga Akpabio, and Culture and Tourism, Mr Victor Antai.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh, said the two commissioners had to be removed from the State Executive Council for disloyalty to the governor.
Ibanga, who is a younger brother to Godswill Akpabio was sacked alongside Antai for receiving Akpabio, a former governor of the state and Emmanuel’s predecessor, at the Ibom International Airport on Tuesday.
Akpabio flew into the state preparatory to his plan to defect from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress 9APC).
Udoh said the commissioners had to be removed from the state executive council following their “reluctance to comply with good governance processes.’’
“With the development, they have been mandated to handover to the Permanent Secretary in their respective ministries before close of work on Wednesday August 8,’’ he said.
The commissioner stressed that the duo showed complete disloyalty to Emmanuel and therefore could not continue to remain in the state executive.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akpabio on Tuesday tendered his resignation as the senate minority leader and formally defected to All Progressives Congress on Wednesday.
While the defection party was going on at the Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium, PDP stakeholders in Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District kicked against the defection.
The PDP political leader of the senatorial district, Senator Emmanuel Ibok-essien, claimed that Akpabio did not consult them before taking the decision to dump the PDP for APC.
Ibok-essien, who was the Deputy Director-General of Akpabio’s 2015 senatorial campaign organisation, stated that people of the area would not support Akpabio’s re-election into the Senate in 2019, calling on the people of the senatorial district and the state to support the re-election of Governor Udom Emmanuel and other PDP candidates in next year’s elections.