Senator Godswill Akpabio has said his defection to the All Progressive Congress (APC) party from the Peoples Democratic Party was done in the national interest.
Speaking on Wednesday during his formal defection from the PDP held at the Ikot Ekpene stadium, Akpabio said the country was in a period of national emergency and everybody should join hands to move the country forward.
The erstwhile Senate minority leader who said his action was designed to link Akwa Ibom State to the centre defected to the party with Mr Ibanga Akpabio, Commissioner of Labour, Productivity and Manpower Development and Victor Antai, Commissioner of Culture and Tourism sacked Wednesday by the Akwa Ibom state government.
Others are members of the House of Representatives, Emmanuel Eton and Emmanuel Akpan representing Abak and Ikot Ekpene federal constituencies, and State House of Assembly members, Nse Ntuen and Gabriel Toby representing Essien Udim and Etim Ekpo local government areas respectively.
Noting that he was a man of peace and had no case to answer with the EFCC, Akpabio called on the people of the state not to be afraid of President Buhari as Nigeria has not seen the best of him.
“People are saying why APC, you need to know I am a nationalist. In troubled times like this when the country is at war, all hands may be on deck to salvage the situation. This is a difficult moment for Nigeria. In a period of national emergency everybody should put hands together to support this government to bring peace to the people.
“I will like to be a conspirator who joins hands to conspire to put food on the table of Nigerians, to bring peace to Benue state, to stop the killings in our country, to ensure employment for our children, who bring about uncommon transformation for Nigerians.
“This is the moment of uncommon change, uncommon change has come to Akwa Ibom, South-South, uncommon change has come to the Nigerian Delta.
“Those petitions to EFCC have been sorted out. As I stand today, I have not been charged to court because nothing was found,” he said.
Also speaking, Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha, who represented President Buhari at the occasion said despite the difficulties experienced in the country, Buhari has been able to provide jobs for teeming Nigerians in the last three years.
The President who handed over the leadership of the party in the state to Akpabio called on the people of the state to have faith in the federal government as things would improve.
“I came to thank the Akwa Ibom people for the show of remarkable support. I want to put on record that the entire South-South have been taken over by APC. I can assure you that the heart of the President and Acting President are solidly behind you”.
The APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomole who said change has to be struggled for as it was not gotten easily, noted that in 2019, elections would not be by allocation but by winning and called people of the state to be united in 2019.
He said, “Change and democracy is not like food that is served in your dining table, you have to struggle for it, you have to go for it and then you will have it.
“People will vote not by allocation but by winning for APC and President Buhari. The battle line is drawn, don’t be deceived, these are tempting moments but very soon Nigerians will know the difference.
“There are many who have governed, but they govern in vain because they can’t show to their people what they have accomplished. So, this afternoon, I feel extremely proud and indeed I am humbled by what I have seen here today.
Other APC leaders at the event include the APC National leader, Bola Tinubu, Minister for Communication, Lai Mohammed, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, APC South-South zonal Chairman, Hillard Etta, Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawal, Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Nsima Ekere, over 30 senators among others