By Archibong Jeremiah
The ranks of the opposition All Progressives Congress in the Cross River State House of Assembly has increased by the defection of the Chairman, House Committee on Rural Development and Public Utilities and member representing Boki state constituency 1, Hon. Ernest Eki from the ruling PDP to the APC.
While formally disclosing his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to journalists in Calabar, Hon. Eki took a swipe at his former party and accused the present administration under Senator Liyel Imoke of not being faithful to Cross Riverians.
“The present administration has not done so well to Cross Riverians; we live on deceit. I left the party for good to obtain my mandate in the field”, he said.
The APC candidate who could not secure the PDP ticket for his second term bid described the entire PDP primaries as useless, his words: “The PDP primaries process was a useless process. These last primaries across the country is the worst; I have been faithful to the party but when the primaries came on board, to my greatest surprise it was hijacked, we met all requirements which would have allowed us stand the election but we were not allowed, people were appointed instead of running for the election, which is why I decamped from the party to the All Progressive Congress, APC to enable me vie for the State House of Assembly come 2015”.
He said that “It is my people who told me to go to another party that they will vote for me, my people’s support is tremendous”, adding “If I go to the House as an opposition, I will be able to put things straight, I have not gone to the opposition to criticize the government but to put things straight. These primaries was midwife, they did not allow the people choose.
“I have been keeping quiet about the wrong doings while in PDP, those in PDP cannot talk, they are caged. PDP is not practicing free and fair democracy; I will say so without fear or favor. I have been part of them but I know that when I came in, mine was free and fair, when I was with the PDP I wasn’t happy”.
Eki was optimistic that he will deal with any challenge that comes his way as a result of his defection, “I will face any challenge that comes my way, I will take it, my greatest challenge as a politician is to see that the government carry the people along. For me I don’t have any problem but it is the people that follow me that I feel the government should do something about so that they can move ahead”.
When asked about his achievements so far in the House he said, “Within the period I have been in the House, I moved 5 motions positive to my constituents and the State in general. One of such motion is calling on the Federal Government to intervene in the Cameroonian-Nigeria boundary issues in Danare and Biajua. The other motion was to call on the State Government to intervene in the crisis in Nsadip and Boje; other motions were to call on the state government and all local government councils to hook up with internet across the 18 local government councils and others in areas of urgent public matters. I have co-sponsored two bills: private members bill and the multi indoor court bill which have been passed, amongst others and I also co-sponsored 21 motions”.
He further disclosed that beyond the legislative business “I have empowered a lot of my people. I was able to procure 5 vehicles and 14 motor cycles for my constituents. I empowered some to start up business and gave them start up cash to the tune of over five million. I assisted students financially running into another several millions of naira. I assisted many communities undergoing community projects for themselves. Some I started the project for them while others I completed the project. I have helped registered about 13 cooperatives and as I talk to you I have assisted about 7 of them to access grants and loans running into millions of naira. I have also assisted a lot to get employment when government was employing both at state and federal level”.
By this development, the APC now has two members in the 25 member House. the other member is Hon. Alex Irek from Obubra who is the House Minority Leader.
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