Akpabio’s Defection: It’s Not Yet Uhuru for APC in Akwa Ibom State -By Fatai Abiodun

Filed under: Political Issues |

It started flowing like a rumor when the wind of defection blew in Akwa Ibom, that the first timer minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio representing Akwa Ibom north would be leaving PDP for APC.
Many people including myself find it difficult to believe the PURPORTED news simply because no body language was known prior to the purported rumor.

Among the politician I see as a mentor is Godswill Akpabio due to his uncommon governance style, monumental development strides displayed during his tenure as a governor of the oil rich state. Without fear or favour, He performed creditably and exceedingly well beyond expectation. His tenure was best during 2007 – 2015 political dispensation. His body language and oratory gift to package what has been abandoned to fruitfulness is second to none. In the circle of who is who in PDP, Akpabio no doubt was a force to reckon with.

A flurry of activity in the All Progressives Congress and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, within the last few weeks has cleared any doubt about how close the 2019 general elections is. “It’s election season, come and get your tickets, that’s how best to describe the gale of defections we are seeing now” but for Godswill Akpabio, ticket is sure for him as he has no opponent in his constituency if he refuse to defection from people democratic party. In fact I strongly posited that in the case that he does not win the primary ticket for coming election, his weight at the National Executive Council may warrant cancellation of the result or do candidate substitution. Among the senator to return if alive to senate in 2019 is Akpabio.


Senator Godswill Akpabio

It really calls for concern to know the real benefactor of Akpabio defection; could it be APC or Akpabio himself? This is question for answer.

In Akwa-Ibom someone can boldly say PDP is state political party religion. They always believe in power rotation in consolidation of their unity as a multicultural state.

Akwa Ibom has three main tribes namely Ibibio, Annang and Oron. Former governor of the state His excellency Ubong Victor Attah who ruled the state from 1999 to 2007 is from Ibibio origin, followed by Godwill Akpabio who also governed between 2007-2015 from Annag, Ikot Ekpene while the current governor his excellency Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, Oron Zone from 2015 till date is also expected to leave office by 2023 to consolidate power rotation. After Udom, Ibibio is to take power again. I learnt from their governance style that, with power rotation we will have fewer rancors as all of us cannot be a governor at the same time.

Akpabio was the first governor of the state to install his successor; he made his successor known to the public while in office. He used all state materials and resources to ensure the delivery of the mandate “Udom is right” in 2015. He cleared anybody who does not believe in Udom agenda.

Udom is not known to be a politician but a professional, Accountant per say at Zenith Bank, in fact Akpabio tutored him politics from day one till today.

The then secretary to Akpabio, Umana Umana resigned from office when it was cleared to him that Akpabio was not interested in his candidacy.

He decided to jump ship and worked closely with Udoedehe the then ACN candidate who competed shoulder to shoulder with Akpabio in 2011. The duo later moved to APC. Umama contested with Udom in 2015, at the end Udom coasted to victory.

Umana not satisfied with his stolen mandate approached court to challenge his mandate up to Supreme Court, lastly Supreme Court validated Udom winning and the matter was finally laid to rest.
Since then, the race for 2019 began in Akwa ibom immediately after Supreme Court pronouncement.
In rewarding Umana for not staying idle, Buhari led federal government administration gave him an appointment as director of free trade zone.

To cut the story short, in Akwa Ibom, Akpabio and his political son then Udom were the face and future of pdp while the caliber of Umana Umana, Udoedehe, Senator Ita Enang, Nsima Ekere were opposition. The present minister of budget Udoma Udoma was also included.

I keep wondering if it will be easy for Akpabio to work with those he tagged as political enemies. Little wonder they say, politics is about interest.

None of those listed were present at decamping ground to show solidarity for Akpabio acceptance to APC.
Is APC ready to sacrifice all their political heavyweight customers from Akwa Ibom for the sake of Akpabio? Because the recent proclamation of Akpabio as APC leader in the state by the national chairman Adams Oshiomole is something to worry about.

Akpabio has committed a political suicide if he does know; someone should tell Akpabio that Ikot Ekpene is not the state capital, being a lion in his constituency does not make him super power over the governor of the state who controls man, materials and resources of the oil rich state.

With the mammoth crowd I saw at the defection ground, that shows only the weight Akpabio carry in Akwa Ibom. Any attempt to change the rotation of power will be resisted by the people of the state and spell doom for him.

To many political associates and PDP loyalist, they were very happy that the only person that can deny them ticket or not aspire for political post has decamped to APC. For now, no political leader to worship before showing interest. We can say Akwa Ibom is free.

Senator Obong Bassey Albert whom Akpabio handpicked to replaced Ita Ennag at the Senate also refused to follow him to his new party. Akpabio is now left with no political children and servant.

Can one person do it alone without the support of others? The speaker, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke he mentored from beginning also told him “you are on your own”. The political future of Akwa Ibomites rest on their individual shoulder, no pillar to rest on.

Akpabio is treading into the den of men that will never love or forgive him because of the defeat and loss he has caused them. Nsima Ekere will remember how Akpabio sacked him just few months of being his deputy; he will remember how he frustrated him from becoming governor in 2015.

What Akpabio has done with his defection is to ridicule himself from the people he represented. He claimed to defect to bring development to the state, please ask him what type of development he is referring to. The political heavy weight of APC in the state have been compensated to bring development…he cannot be governor till eternity except the constitution change.

You don’t need to belong to ruling party to bring development to your people case study of Anambra of APGA and Cross river of PDP. With political maturity as an opposition you can bring development by romancing with the power that ‘BE’ at the federal level if you know how to play the game.

What type of face Jonathan will be looking at Akpabio? If you have everything and loose integrity, then the journey is of no use. This assertion is in tandem with the saying of Obi Ezekwesili that “Consistency means integrity”.

Akpabio has not only failed to justify the trust imposed on him by friends and associates. So what role does Akpabio need to play to deliver Akwa ibom for APC? This is part of question begging for an answer.
The statement credited to Akpabio that “I joined Apc when I realized that Buhari is a man of integrity” is not only afterthought but useless. Please someone needs to school Akpabio that integrity is not enough for success.

What integrity does Akpabio has to measure ones integrity? If the way Tinubu who he acknowledged as JAGABAN of Nigeria today played politics like this, verily nowhere he would have succeeded politically today.

Politics is local, if you are strong at home, the outside will respect you, and else they will finish you.

Akpabio I know lack expression being an orator, had it been it has genuine interest for leaving his former party, he would talked much at the decamping ground.

In days to come, people who left PDP for APC since 2007 till date will start moving back to PDP because they know the only political language their people understand is PDP. Go for survey and you will agree with me.

Akpabio does not have locus standi to work with victor Attah, Nsima Ekere, Umana Umana and many others. Akpabio has relegated himself to the political leader of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district not Akwa Ibom as widely acclaimed.

May God direct Akpabio’s step because it’s not yet Uhuru.

Fatai Abiodun, ICT Guru cum Public Affairs Analyst, contributed this piece from Abuja.