There is anxiety in the entire political landscape of Akwa Ibom State following the rumour that the Senate Minority Leader and former governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio, will this week officially defect to All Progressives Congress (APC).
Reports from the APC’s camp in the state has it that the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, would be leading the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, to Ikot Ekpene on Wednesday, August 8, to formally welcome Akpabio into the APC.
Akpabio’s defection to APC has remained a recurrent rumour since 2017 when Osinbajo openly invited him to defect to APC during his visit, to Uyo as part of his tour of the troubled Niger Delta zone.
But, it was not until last month during the dual endorsement of Akpabio and Governor Udom Emmanuel for second term to the Senate and governorship, that Akpabio’s pro-APC body-language began to take shape, when he openly announced that the party platform upon which he would return to the Senate in 2019 is not important.
Although there has not been any official confirmation from Akpabio’s camp, his spokesman, Anietie Ekong, did not pick his call when newsmen called but the government sources have confirmed that the state government officials are jittery following the impending defection of former governor from PDP.
“Last night, we met at government house; it was like a mourning house. Everybody is confused. It is a problem that could have been averted. It started from the use of the private jet which Akpabio bought for the state to the names of local government supervisors which Akpabio submitted and the government turned down.
“The current set of political appointees in Akwa Ibom are the poorest in history. In the party executive, only two persons have been given official vehicle; the state chairman and one other person. The story is still ‘there is no money, no money.’ Only the governor’s family members are comfortable.
“When Akpabio defects, you will see how many of those serving in Emmanuel’s government that would go with him. Some will only hang on to collect tickets after which they will dump it,” the source who is a high ranking party executive told newsmen.
PDP chairman in the state, Obong Paul Ekpo, who is also chairman of PDP state chairmen, told newsmen that he could not comment on any issue concerning defection as he was having his personal family issues to sort out when newsmen called.
Meanwhile, APC chieftains have called for caution concerning Akopabio’s rumoured defection. They alleged that Akpabio might be coming to help kill the party.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Director, Ita Awak, said there was no quarrel between Emmanuel and Akpabio as speculated as the reason for leaving the party.
The former minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Nduese Essien, had said in 2017 that: “Presently, I do not see the possibility of another party taking over the governance of Akwa Ibom state in 2019. You know it takes some years to build structure from the ward, local government and state levels.
“The other parties now coming to Akwa Ibom are just beginning the process of building and before they can attain it, I think we should be thinking beyond 2019.”