Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas' defection from his People's Party to join the ruling PNC party in the eleventh-hour has attracted criticisms, wanders and, of course, amazement from the citizens. His move was made during the seven-day nomination period. He made the decision after its party had prepared itself well to contend for the top post this election. It hosted its party convention at his motel Bluff Inn outside Port Moresby. His supporters and fans have flowed with his decision, a something which Ipatas defended as a move to maintain political stability after the election like confirmed by PM O'Neill who said he moved to PNC at his own will. His critics alleged him for being lured with the promise of PSIP and other funds in light of the cashflow crisis. This was not in the best interest of the province where it is known for its integrity and quality leadership in the country. PNG's former Opposition Leader late Sir Tei Abal, late Sir Albert Kipalan, late Malipu Balakau and late Anton Parao have set such a standard for us to take on from there. However, it has been thrown out through the window to suit his political convenience. Ipatas owes an apology to the Engans. Some even questioned how he got knighted by the Queen of England as his seniority in politics was compromised. His political opponents have capitalised on the situation by way of seeking a legal opinion on whether or not to take the matter to a competent court to nullify his candidacy. Well, there are many ways to skin the cat. I have established four reasons for his decision to defect from PP, one of Enga's three prominent parties (PP, THE and United) vying for the Prime Minister's position: First, he knew it very well that he had lost his popularity in the province coupled with four of our open MPs (Polye, Pundari, Pato and Mangape) and, the tertiary students and NGOs were obviously campaigning against him this election. The MPs have called for his removal at various rallies for having failed to deliver services fairly and embezzling public funds as there is nothing to show for whilst the students were making public awareness about Ipatas associating with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill who has a series of corrupt allegations against him; Second, Opposition Leader Don Polye's Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) party has gained majority of support back in Enga and the country as a whole due to his election recount and for leading a vibrant Opposition.This has pushed Ipatas' chance of returning his seat to minimal like happended never before. Had Ipatas been nominating under his own party, PNC party would have fielded another to challenge Ipatas whilst THE party's firebrand Sandy Talita and others are also in to push Ipatas out from his throne. Such would have made it even worse for him. Whilst being in PNC party, he has now been relieved briefly. He has now changed his election strategy. He has been doing early campaigns using public funds like never before. He has been on a spending spee whilst the National Purse is in red. He was booed down by crowd at several political rallies in his Wabag district. His focus now is to retain his seat through rigging the election. The whole world in Enga is crushing on him; Third, his decision was to shield the funding continuity for the projects he initiated in his Irelya village. Other projects outside are Akom Technical college and others. The question now is will PNC-led government remain in power amidst public resentment across the country? Giving confidence by 56 MPs, Prime Minister boldly said it that he would retain his position. Well, it is not a new statement. If you can recall, Sir Michael Somare, Paias Wingti and others have made similar statements but our people have proved them wrong at the polls and; Final, he made the decision to seek the sympathy of the system and not of the people's. He thinks that now that he is the official candidate for PNC, the security forces and election officials will be loyal to him to implement his strategies to rig the election, again. This time it will be hard. He will struggle. The people's power is much powerful than the forces or the system itself. Its power will ensure democracy prevails with a candidate winning the seat must be on merit. This election will set the pace for the province to liberate itself from the doldrums of poverty, corruption and other development issues. When responding to the students urging him to step down from office...,PM O'Neill said once he would only be ousted at the polls. Now is the time for Engans to vote out Ipatas and PNC party in Enga. It is our time to lead the country into prosperity. One of our own sons must be elevated to the Prime Minister's seat. Your future is now.


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