Is Akpabio Dumping PDP For APC? •As Gale Of Defection Hit PDP, APC

By on April 14, 2017


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The buzz within the political circle in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja suggests that the Senate Minority Leader and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, may defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

From all indications, this seems like an unlikely development because the trio of Akpabio, David Mark and Ike Ekweremadu are the stabilisng  stalwarts remaining for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the country’s upper legislative chamber.

It is not hidden that in his last days as governor of Akwa Ibom State, Akpabio was one of the most visible staunch supporters of former President Goodluck Jonathan and when the table turned and the party lost the Presidential Election, Akpabio became one of the leaders of the party.

His presence in the Senate was deemed as favourable to the party’s dwindling fortune.

But on the flip side, all these made him attractive to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The fact that Akpabio delivered all the relevant seats in his state for PDP, also, makes him a juicy target for APC.

Political pundits are unaware of series of suggestive overtures from the ruling APC to Akpabio.

The stronghold of the PDP in the Senate got a rude shock, this year January, when one of Akpabio’s supporters, Nelson Effiong, the senator representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, suddenly defected to the APC.

Mr. Effiong was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The Senate announced the defection of Mr. Effiong, through its official twitter handle @NGRSenate.

“Breaking: Senator Nelson Effiong (Akwa-Ibom South) defects from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC),” the senate tweeted.

The senate said the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, who is from the same state with Mr. Effiong, raised a point of order and spoke against his defection.

Senator Effiong cited the division within the PDP as his reason for leaving the party.

There had been rumours that Mr. Effiong was set to dump the PDP some days leading to his final departure, but was prevented from doing so by the leadership of the Senate.

Mr. Effiong, a former speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, is from the same senatorial district as the governor of the state, Udom Emmanuel.

Ironically, after the Effiong debacle, it was the same Akpabio, who revealed that about 20 senators of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, are planning to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Akpabio said all the senators were waiting for was for the PDP, which lost power at the centre to the APC in 2015, to resolve its internal crisis.

The PDP has been factionalised since its national convention in Port Harcourt in the previous year, 2016.

One faction is led by a former Borno State governor, Ali Sheriff, while the other is led by a former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi.

Mr. Akpabio spoke in Abuja at the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, and expanded caucus meeting of the Ahmed Makarfi faction.

Akpabio said just as some were leaving the PDP, many more were planning to join the party.

“As I speak, so many senators from the opposing party are eager to join the PDP. All they want is a return of peace to the party, once that is done, I can assure that 20 senators are on their way to joining the PDP,” he said.

The former governor advised others thinking of leaving the PDP to rethink and also said those who left the PDP will regret it because according to him “PDP is bouncing back to victory in 2019.”

Mr. Akpabio warned PDP members that now is the time to tackle the crisis within the party otherwise, they risk losing the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti state.

Speaking earlier at the same forum, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said that the gale of defections from in the South East will not affect the PDP.

He said those leaving for the APC have no electoral value and were only after jobs and government contracts.

A former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former governor of old Anambra state, Jim Nwobodo, and former Abia governor, Orji Kalu, had then defected to the APC.

Ekweremadu said it was unfortunate that some persons were taking advantage of the ongoing APC membership registration in the southeast zone, “to further their business interests.”

“My response is that my brothers and sisters from the South-east who are defecting know the electoral value of each and every one of us.

“We should allow them get the contract and employment they are looking for. At the appropriate time, we will know who is who in the South-east. There is nothing to worry about, we are completely in control,” he said.

Also, the recently elected chairman of the PDP governors forum, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, described the defectors simply as “food is ready” politicians.

He said he would not be silenced and would continue to criticise the APC administration.

“Unfortunately, people don’t learn from yesterday, the same people who promised change but could not deliver is the same place that some people are decamping to. It’s like they want to tell us that hunger is better than plenty and that fasting is better than eating all the time.

“Anything that is built on deception cannot stand, that is why you see them crumbling today. Nigerians are tired of the story of corruption, especially when those who claimed to be fighting corruption are running and chasing people who stole squirrel whereas on their part, they are stealing cows and elephants. They spent millions to cut grasses,” he said.

Again, Akpabio speaking some time ago at a rally held to honour him and his successor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel by the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District - had boasted that he and the People Democratic Party (PDP) will produce the  governor of the State in 2019.

He said that “when I came to you in 2006, I told you Godswill should be done.

And you the people of Akwa Ibom agreed with me and Godswill was done. In 2011, I said Godswill should be done again, you agreed with and it was done.  In 2015 I pleaded with you to allow Godswill to be done again and again, you all made it happen. I will come back to you in 2019 and demand that Godswill should be done again, and again and again and I know it will happen. The people at the event shouted in the affirmative

Akpabio, also blasted the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state over its loss of the Supreme Court battle, maintaining that the party in its court litigations demanded judgment instead of justice which is basic rights of citizens.

While lauding the Supreme Court for transparency, justice and fairness he said the court has demonstrated boldness in its move towards independence of the judiciary in the country. He also commended the President and Commander of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari for allowing the Supreme Court a conducive judicial atmosphere for discharge of its recent superlative judgments in the country.

Senator Akpabio noted that the turbulent days of political warfare in Akwa Ibom State had been brought to rest, and urged the people of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district to support the government of Udom Emmanuel in the state to ensure continuity with the uncommon transformation of Akwa Ibom State.

But, the question is whether the vibrant Akpabio is thinking of dumping his party for the ruling APC.

A former minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Chief Nduese Essien, recently declared that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom will be in trouble if the Senate Minority Leader and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, defects to All Progressives Congress (APC).

Speaking in an interview with Daily Sun, Essien said it would be impossible for APC or any other political party to upstage PDP in the state irrespective of defection of those considered political godfathers, saying no other party had the kind of structures of PDP in the state.

“But if the current minority leader in the National Assembly ever defects, it will be a strong capitulation for the PDP because he already had a base at the state level. If he defects, he will be going with that strong base. But knowing him for who he is, he is not likely to defect,” he said.

A day ago, the PDP recorded a big haul in Rivers State, with the defection of more than 7,000 members of the APC to join its fold.

This is coming at a time the state governor, Nyesom Wike, said every plot against the state ahead of the 2019 general elections  would  fail. He restated his position that the Police authorities planned to assassinate him by dismissing his security details without his knowledge.

Speaking in Port Harcourt while receiving thousands of APC defectors to the PDP the governor, who said there was no crisis in the PDP, accused the Federal Government of trying to foment crisis in the party because the APC was “fumbling.”

Source cattnews

Posted 14/04/2017 7:48:04 PM




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