About 20,000 former members of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State on Monday defected to the Peoples Democratic Party.
Those who left the APC included units, wards and chapters’ officers from the 31 local government areas of the state.
They were received into the PDP at a ceremony held in Uyo, the state capital.
The state governor, Udom Emmanuel, commended the new members for joining the PDP which he described as the only grassroots party in the country.
While describing the new members’ decision as being about the soul of the state, the governor urged them to always stand in defence of the state.
H e said, “This is unprecedented in the history of our state.
“What you are doing today is not about me, it is not about the party chairman, or any other person. It is about the soul of Akwa Ibom State.”
The governor said he was not losing sleep over the threat by the opposition to take over the state.
He described such threats as coming from “empty vessels that make the loudest noise.”
Earlier, the state chairman of the PDP, Mr Paul Ekpo, had described the number of new members as unprecedented in the history of the PDP in the state.
He said, “It has never happened in the history of Akwa Ibom State that people in their thousands and on their own would decide and say we should come and receive them into the Peoples Democratic Party.
“We have been preaching industrialization, peace and stability and work ability but little did we know that our preaching has touched the minds of so many people in the state.”