In solidarity with Senate President Godswill Akpabio, the Young Progressives Party in Akwa Ibom has collapsed its structure across the state into the All Progressives Congress.
According to a statement from Akpabio’s media office in Abuja, the action by the YPP was to support the Senate President.
The statement noted that over 10,000 members of the party, including its Governorship candidate, Senator Bassey Albert, the Deputy Governorship candidate, retired AIG Asuquo Amba, the State Executive Committee led by State Chairman, Mr Nyeneime Andy, the Elders Council, Chapter and Ward Officers, and the entire Executive Council of the Akwa Ubok Abasi, paid a solidarity visit to the Senate President at his Ukana residence, in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Declaring support for President Tinubu during the visit, the YPP candidate for the Eket Senatorial District in the 2023 election, Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, said the party members have reached a unanimous decision to merge with the APC.
He said: “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 policy 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 a 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. This solidarity is not word of mouth, it is total. Today, YPP in Akwa Ibom State has become an APC. We have come to submit that you lead us.”
Also speaking during the visit, the state chairman of YPP, Nyeneime Andy, said members of the party are very pleased with the policies of Tinubu’s administration.
According to Andy, 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.
He said, “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 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.”
On his part, the 2023 Governorship candidate of the party in the state, Senator Bassey Albert, said the party joined the APC to support President Tinubu and join hands with the Senate President to ensure that Akwa Ibom is not divided.
He said “I am a son you sent out and I have come back 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 an 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.”
Albert further explained that he was not joining the APC to seek election.
“I am not here to contest any election but to support you to deliver Akwa Ibom State to APC, he added.
Reacting to the development, Senator Akpabio acknowledged the growth of the YPP and the capacity the party demonstrated during the 2023 governorship election.
He however hailed them for coming out openly to commend Tinubu’s style of administration, policies and programmes aimed at improving the well-being of Nigerians.
He said: “From nothing, you built a recognised political structure in Akwa Ibom State that propelled you 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 them?
“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.”
The Senate President, however, assured that the APC will provide equal opportunity to all of the members of the YPP, supporting the action.
However, the party structure was received by the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Stephen Ntukekpo.
Ntukekpo revealed that he has been mandated by the national chairman of the APC, Alhaji 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 next month.