There are indications that former governor of Akwa Ibom State and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, may dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2019 general elections over irreconcilable differences between him and his successor, Governor Udom Emmanuel.
New Telegraph gathered at the weekend from the former governor’s camp that arrangement for his planned defection to the ruling party has been concluded and it is only a matter of days before it is officially announced. Akpabio, who represents Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in the Senate, is said to be displeased over how he and his loyalists have been treated by Governor Emmanuel, his anointed successor.
The Senate Minority Leader, according to a source, who spoke with a correspondent, is particularly miffed over how Emmanuel abandoned most of his legacy projects in a bid to undermine him. He is also said to be unhappy over how the governor has abandoned his senatorial district in terms of projects.
The source cited Governor Emmanuel’s wavering in opening the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, which was built by Akpabio and the uncompleted portion of the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road as some of the reasons why the former governor is not happy with his successor.
Akpabio, it would be recalled, recently declared at a mega rally by the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District to endorse him and Governor Emmanuel for second term that a political party is just a vehicle for winning election and that whichever party he decides to pitch his tent in the 2019 elections, he will emerge a winner to continue to deliver dividends of democracy to his people.
While the source said the camp of Governor Emmanuel did not read any political undertone to the statement, National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Mr. Emmanuel Enoldem, who perceived it as an imminent plan by Senator Akpabio to decamp to another party, quickly alerted PDP’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
This, the source said, informed Saturday’s meeting between Akpabio and members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) led by Secondus at the former governor’s Asokoro home in Abuja.
The meeting, which lasted for several hours, he said, was a last minute effort by the party hierarchy to stop the Senate Minority Leader from leaving.
While the source revealed that the PDP leadership reminded Akpabio of the imminent defection of some APC senators in the National Assembly, which is likely to open the window for him to emerge as Senate Majority Leader, he was not emphatic on Akpabio’s word to the party. The PDP national chairman promised to discuss the issue with the governor.
“All I can tell you is that Secondus made Akpabio to understand that PDP stands ample chance to reap from the crisis in the ruling party as it is certain that the party will gain upper hand in the Senate by the time aggrieved members of the APC leave. Whether the former governor gave them his word is another thing,” the source said.
When contacted, Akpabio’s media aide, Jackson Udom, said “we are not aware of any move like that.” “Akpabio, as far as I know, is a strong member and leader in the PDP. He is the minority leader of the party in the Senate,” he said.