The Senator representing Eket Senatorial district in Akwa Ibom State, Nelson Effiong, has defected from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). His defection brings the number of APC lawmakers in the upper chamber to 64.
The ruling party already had a majority in the senate but its number falls short of 73 which is two-thirds of Nigeria’s 109 senators. However, 2017 has now seen three defections into the ruling party following the earlier defections by Plateau senator Joshua Dariye, and Ondo senator Yele Omogunwa.
While announcing his defection during the Senate plenary on Thursday, Effiong, a former speaker of the Akwa Ibom assembly, stated that “Over the past one year this party has disintegrated; because of the crisis in the party, I have decided to resign from the PDP and join the APC.”
“No reasonable politician who is worth his salt would remain and allow his people to be drifting about without a direction,”Effiong said. “So I have decided today, the 19th day of January, 2017 to resign from the PDP and move to the party that is bringing peace and direction to this country, the APC. So I move.”
In his reaction, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is also from Akwa Ibom, stated that Effiong has automatically lost his seat since he was elected under the platform of the PDP. Akpabio vowed that the defection would be challenged in court.