…he is set to become Senate President – APC Publicity Secretary
…real reasons he is defecting; the Goodluck Jonathan connection
…Enoidem, Aniekan Umanah, Ibanga Akpabio, ors dump him
…full list of House of Reps, AKHA members, ors joining him in APC
…to pick Dan Abia for APC guber ticket over Nsima Ekere
…he is a coward, traitor, mole – Fani-Kayode, Deji
BY IFREKE NSEOWO/EKEMINI SIMON
Barring any last minute change of mind, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio will defect from the opposition PDP to the ruling APC during the week.
Speculations of Akpabio’s defection to APC has been rife since last week and has heightened as each day passes.
He is set to arrive Uyo on Tuesday from Abuja to a rousing welcome by his supporters. He will then head straight to his country home in Ukana Ikot Ntuen where he will brief his constituents on why he is defecting from PDP to APC.
He has equally resigned his position as the Senate Minority Leader, in preparation to his official defection to APC on Wednesday.
Rumour of Akpabio’s defection to APC started immediately he got into the Senate and took over as the Senate Minority Leader. Akpabio was missing in action as a supposed Minority Leader who is expected to always keep the government and party in power on their toes. This led to members of the PDP caucus in the senate threatening to remove him as their leader. As was the case then, rumours of Akpabio’s defection was always discarded by either himself or his media team. Intermittently, the rumour would resurface with his media team dousing the tension with rebuttals. But the recent rumor about his defection seems to be more than a mere rumour due to recent events. First, the Minority Leader went into Aso Rock to meet with the Ag. President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. Reports in the media have it that both leaders discussed the possibility of Akpabio crossing over to the ruling All Progressives Congress. The rumour heightened throughout the weekend when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari in London. When he returned to Nigeria, he went straight to meet with APC National Leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu in Abuja to finalize his “transfer” to the “broom party”. In each of the last two meetings, pictures surfaced online to intensify the rumour of the former Akwa Ibom State governor’s imminent defection to the party in power.
REASONS FOR DEFECTION
Many reasons have been advanced for the defection of the Minority Leader of the Senate. One of such being that he has allegedly fallen out with his political godson and governor of his home state, Governor Udom Emmanuel. Some of the reasons given for his falling out with Udom include the abandonment of the projects he initiated while in office as governor, alleged failure of the governor to keep to his own part of the bargain by paying him monthly “stipends” running into hundreds of millions of Naira, demystification and stripping of his control and power by the governor and his men. The former Governor is said to have also demanded that his wife, Unoma be made to run on a joint ticket with the governor in 2019, a proposal which Udom allegedly vehemently refused. Government House sources have confirmed to TheMail that Akpabio demanded that powerful commissioners in Udom’s cabinet such as Ephraim Inyang, Akan Okon and Udo Ekpenyong be sacked for insulting him. Udom refused sacking the first two persons mentioned above who are seen as his backbone but the third guy was made a fall guy. Udo Ekpenyong was sacked after allegedly disrespecting and insulting Akpabio. It is a popular notion that the Senate Minority Leader was forced by the Buhari Government to quit PDP by blackmailing him using the EFCC. It is rumored that he was given an ultimatum to join the ruling APC on or before Wednesday or face EFCC prosecution. He has been promised Saraki’s position (Senate Presidency) as part of the deal with the APC/FG decision takers. Though Ahmed Lawan and Hope Uzodinma are the clear favourites to replace Saraki and Ike Ekweramadu respectively.
The Lagos State Publicity Secretary of APC, Joe Igbokwe gave a hint on Monday evening that Akpabio may be the new Senate President if Saraki is removed. “Asiwaju BAT Meets Senator Akpabio and APC Chieftain, Alhaji Yusuf Alli today in Abuja. The New Senate President loading big time”, the APC Chieftain wrote on his facebook page accompanied with pictures of Akpabio with the APC leaders.
On Saturday night, Senator Ita Solomon Enang and Okoi Obono-Obla, both presidential aides had announced via social media that Akpabio will be received into the party on Wednesday by the Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo and APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in an event at Ikot Ekpene. His loyalists and aides including Emmanuel Inyangetor have been in Akwa Ibom since last weekend to put things in order for the grand entry of their boss which has been termed “mother of all defections/receptions”.
THOSE DEFECTING WITH AKPABIO
Akpabio is undoubtedly a big fish for the APC and would definitely leave PDP with many topshots and loyalists. Top on the list are members of the Federal House of Representatives. The Member Representing Etim Ekpo/Ika/Abak Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekon is joining Akpabio in the APC. He has a slim chance of clinching the PDP ticket for a third term, especially with his estranged political godfather, Emmanuel Enoidem having reportedly sworn that “over his dead body” will he (Ekon) return to the Assembly. Enoidem is now a senior official at Wadata Plaza, pulling strings from there as the National Legal Adviser who enjoys the ears of the National Chairman, Uche Secondus. Ekon didn’t wait to officially defect before slamming Governor Udom Emmanuel over the killings in Etim Ekpo.
Nse Ekpenyong who represents Oro Federal Constituency in the National Assembly is also defecting. He has had a torrid time at the Green Chambers with series of litigations from the likes of Robinson Uwak and Mista Xto over alleged certificate forgery which may have contributed to his abysmal performance as a legislator.
Emmanuel Akpan (also known as Emman Ikot Uko) is generally known to be Akpabio’s loyalist, so bad that he is referred as “Akpabio’s houseboy”. He is the member representing Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency in the House of Reps. He is certainly joining his boss in APC.
Akpabio is moving with loyalists in the state Assembly. Though members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly paid a solidarity visit to the governor on Monday, reassuring him of their unflinching support and commitment to remain in PDP, some members of the Assembly are suspects. Nse Ntuen who represents Akpabio in the Assembly is joining him. He is a member of the Ukana cabal and it will be a big slap on the senator if the “homefront” is not with him. Friday Iwok seeks the Abak Federal Constituency ticket in PDP but is now not sure of having it with the exit of Akpabio from PDP. He believes Enoidem will make everything possible for Aniekan Umanah to clinch the ticket, hence he is moving to APC with Akpabio. Leader of the House, Udo Kierian is another suspect but he has quickly dispelled rumour that he is defecting. His third term ambition has met stiff opposition from his people, with Udom’s wife’s brother and Oruk Anam Council boss, Prince Ubong Idiong leading the onslaught against him. Felicia Bassey is an unrepentant Akpabio/Unoma loyalist but sources from her camp say she is staying put in PDP.
Usoro Akpanusoh is another man who may join Akpabio and his boss, Bassey Dan Abia Snr in APC. He is not sure of returning to the Assembly having lost the support of top elders and PDP chieftains, especially those from the Esit Eket extraction. He is a known NDDC contractor who is said to have a pact with Nsima, hence he may not be trusted with the PDP ticket.
At least two Local Government Chairmen will follow Akpabio to APC on Wednesday. Essien Udim Chairman, Isobara is said to be uncomfortable with joining Akpabio in APC but his hands are tied. Unyime Etim of Ikot Ekpene is doing same.
The likes of Mr. Don Etim who is touted to be the person to run on a joint-ticket with Nsima Ekere will move to APC with many of his loyalists which Unyime Etim falls under.
Among the current Commissioners, those loyal to Akpabio who are fingered to be ready to defect to the APC are Commissioner for Environment, Hon Iniobong Essien, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Rt. Hon. Victor Antai, Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon Monday Uko, Special Adviser, Bureau of Rural Development and Cooperative, Mrs Ekemini Umoh.
Hon Iniobong Essien is said to plan joining Akpabio in the APC owing to his long standing relationship with Senator Akpabio as his Personal Physician, a position which gave him the opportunity to serve as a Commissioner in Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration.
For Hon Monday Uko and Mrs Ekemini Umoh, they are said to be close allies with Senator Akpabio especially as they are from the same Annang tribe coupled with the fact that they were recommended to serve in the State Executive Council by Senator Godswill Akpabio.
DIG Udom Ekpoudom (retd) is also rumoured to be dumping the PDP for APC. In recent past, he had been touted as one of those who will be considered as a replacement for Moses Ekpo when Udom seeks re-election in 2019.
AKPABIO’S BOYS DENY THEIR MENTOR, STICK WITH UDOM
“When Onofiok mentioned that in spite of anything, he would like his political mentor to say a word, I just said sometimes our people live in denial. If you enter into Shelter Afrique, you will see the street they call Akpabio Boys Street. Akpabio does not own one single house there. Those houses (149 of them) are owned by Akpabio boys but how many of those Akpabio boys can stand in public and acknowledge Akpabio? How many of the boys that Governor Udom Emmanuel is helping today can stand after he has left office in 2023 to acknowledge him?”, Akpabio had said during a 40th birthday/10th anniversary thanksgiving service by Speaker of AKHA, Onofiok Luke.
He is bound to suffer more of such rejection at this period in this the loyalty from his boys the more. PDP National Legal Adviser is not an Akpabio boy per se but he is one of his loyalists who has benefitted immensely from the Minority Leader. Enoidem has reportedly told Akpabio point blank that he is not coming with him to APC. He even organized a meeting of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District stakeholders on Sunday where they declared support for Udom Emmanuel, while giving “yellow card” to Akpabio.
Udo Kierian (in the meantime) has said he will stick with PDP, Member Representing Nsit Atai, Mark Esset who was rumoured to be on his way to APC is debunked the claims, while Aniekan Umanah who served as Commissioner for Information for 9 years under both Akpabio and Udom administration has issued a press statement, saying he has decided to stick with PDP where he is now almost guaranteed of a ticket for House of Reps.
One of would naturally expect the Commissioner for Labour and Manpower, Sir Ibanga Akpabio to join his cousin in APC but sources from his camp have told TheMail that the unassuming Ibanga Akpabio is going nowhere. Our sources said that the former Deputy Chairman of the PDP is an independent minded politician who is not easily cowed to do things against his convictions. One of our sources claimed that Ibanga made Akpabio who is he is today by recommending him for appointment as Commissioner in 2002, hence he (Ibanga) can’t be doing “boy boy” for the former governor.
Reports had emerged over the weekend that Moses Ekpo who was nominated to deputize Udom by Akpabio would be joining the so-called “great teacher” in APC. Ekpo was representing the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel as Special Guest of Honour at the 2018 International Convention of Ati Annang holding in New York, United States of America when the rumour of his resignation as Deputy Governor and subsequent defection to APC was rife. On Monday, Ekpo, through his Press Secretary, Ekikere Umoh denied such claims, saying “there is no iota of truth in the story making the rounds”.
In his reaction to the rumour from New York on phone, the Deputy Governor said “I have not resigned. I have no reason whatsoever to resign or jump ship from a government that is both responsive and performing optimally, while giving practical meaning to democratic dividends for the people of Akwa Ibom. I cannot, and will not jump ship”
“To that extent, he has called on Akwa Ibom people, both at home and in the Diaspora, as well as the PDP family in the state to remain resolute and committed to support the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to take Akwa Ibom to the next level”, Ekpo said.
Similarly, in a swift reaction, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon Monday Uko has debunked claims that he is defecting to APC. He insisted that he does not have such plans and enjoys serving with Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Environment, Hon Iniobong Essien through his Special Assistant on Media, Ubong Asanga refuted that Hon Essien is defecting. He noted that the Commissioner is totally loyal to Governor Udom Emmanuel and will not consider leaving him.
He insisted that the service Hon Essien may have offered the Former Governor Ended on May 29th 2015 with a new task from Governor Udom Emmanuel to serve him, thus will work in fulfilling that responsibility.
Akpabio’s personal aides have resigned their appointments, saying they will not follow their (former) boss to APC. The aides, Barr. Utibe Nwoko, Chief (Barr) Moses Akpan, Kufre Ini-Ima, and Prince Ukandu Ukpe made their resignation known on Sunday. They dissociated themselves from any planned defection of the Senator to the All Progressives Congress (APC) while pledging their unalloyed support to the re-election of Governor Udom Emmanuel in 2019. But one of the aides, Kufre Ini-ima however backed out of the resignation on Monday, saying the news of his resignation is concocted to cause disaffection among members of “this great family”.
AKPABIO TO PLAY NSIMA
Several sources in Abuja and Hilltop Mansion, Uyo have told TheMail that Akpabio and Ita Enang will ditch Nsima Ekere as the APC candidate. Our sources said that Akpabio will not support Nsima to get the APC ticket but will, in connivance with Ita Enang support the aspiration of Barr. Bassey Dan Abia Snr. The agreement between Abia, Akpabio and Ita would be for the former NDDC boss to go for a single tenure of 4 years and hand over to Ita Enang when the seat rotates to Uyo Senatorial District in 2023.
EFCC NOT AKPABIO’S PROBLEM – SOURCE
Contrary to popular insinuations that the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio is defecting from the Peoples Democratic party to the All Progressives Congress basically to avoid being probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, fresh facts have emerged as to key other reasons why the former governor of Akwa Ibom State is defecting to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
According to impeccable sources close to the Former Governor who had served the State for eight years under PDP, EFCC is the least of Akpabio’s worry.
The Source noted that EFCC invitation is not new to the former governor as he had in time past visited there and had absolved himself to the satisfaction of the anti-graft agency.
The Source disclosed that what the Senator had confided with them as being the key reasons to why he is defecting from PDP is what he described as the misnomer of striping off Former President Goodluck Jonathan as the National Leader of PDP and handing it to the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki who Akpabio says is new member in the party.
The Source said “Senator Akpabio loves Goodluck Jonathan so much. And he finds it very insulting that the Former President who is his brother from South South is stripped off of being the National Leader of PDP. The Senator is upset that these same Saraki and Dino Melaye among others were the same people who fought the then President Jonathan and left PDP to APC.
“They went to APC, got top positions, left PDP in shambles to be managed by the former President, Senator Akpabio among other PDP stakeholders. After the party became strong, Saraki among others who left the party in shambles now returned to be crowned National Leaders”.
The source insisted that the Senator sees the PDP currently as a party which does not have the interest of South-South region at heart even as he is uncomfortable that those who did not sacrifice for the party in trying times are coming to take over the party.
The source further mentioned that besides national politics, at home, the Immediate Past Akwa Ibom State Governor is not happy with his successor, Governor Udom Emmanuel over his current body language in associating more with those he sees as his (Akpabio’s) political enemies.
He added “You have to understand that in a bid to make Mr Udom Emmanuel the Governor, the immediate past Governor made so many enemies like Obong Victor Attah among others. I can tell you that currently Governor Udom is dining and Winning with them even taking them into confidence than his political godfather “.
The Source said the Senate Minority Leader is very uncomfortable with the development and sees it as a breach of loyalty which he does not want to tolerate.
TOO EARLY TO CRITICIZE AKPABIO – JONATHAN’S AIDE
Reno Omokri, media aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, says it is too early to criticise Godswill Akpabio, a serving senator and two-time former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, who is on the verge of dumping the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Rumours of Akpabio’s possible defection began gathering last week, and reached a crescendo over the weekend when he met President Muhammadu Buhari in London.
Already, Akpabio has been unofficially welcomed to the PDP — first by the party’s official Twitter handle, and also by Lai Mohammed, who has “gladly welcomed” the defection of the Senate Minority Leader, saying it amounts to a “one-one goalless draw”.
However, Omokri has suggested that Akpabio is set to join APC from PDP.
”Don’t assume the worst about Senator Akpabio,” he wrote on his Facebook page on Monday afternoon.
“There is more to this than meets the eye. The Akpabio I know is a clever player! In battle, you sometimes send some of your own agents to infiltrate your opponent’s camp.
“This affords you the opportunity of destroying him from within. Politics is war by other means. Akpabio is no fool. Don’t render your judgment just yet.”
WE’RE DOING OUR BEST TO KEEP AKPABIO BUT…. PDP
Amidst media report that Senate Minority Leader and former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Senator Godswill Akpabio is set to defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it is doing everything possible to retain his membership.
The party said its constitution only allows room for defection if cracks exist within its fold, adding that at the national level and the Akwa Ibom state chapter of the party, the PDP has no factions.
A prominent member of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) told this medium on Sunday that speculations on the lawmaker’s imminent defection is not new, stating however that the party has continued to explore ways of handling the situation. Although the PDP will go the whole hog to retain the membership of one of its arrowheads and stalwarts, the party leader said the final decision lies with the lawmaker
He said: “We have been on this matter for quite a while now and as a party, we have done our best. We are not resting yet and we will do more to make him see reasons to have a second thought. “Our constitution makes provision for leaving the party which is when there is a crisis or crises leading to the creation of factions.
Across all the 36 state chapters, the FCT and the national leadership, we have no parallel executives. So there is no justification for anyone to leave our party for now.”
On the options before the party in the event of Akpabio’s defection; the PDP chieftain explained: “A man would only be able to tell which among his wife, makes the better soup after testing the soups made by each of the wives. If he chooses to leave despite the effort of the leadership of our party, we can only wait and see how events unfold for him.
“Deep inside of him, he knows what he is going into. The question is, why is he leaving? Let me add here that the choice is his but we don’t want him to leave because no party will be happy to lose its key member.” The lawmaker, some media reports claim, is having a frosty relationship with his successor, the governor of Akwa Ibom state, Udom Emmanuel over the control of party structures in the state.
WE’RE NOT AWARE OF SENATOR AKPABIO’S DEFECTION RUMOUR – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it is not aware of alleged moves by former Akwa Ibom State governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said that Akpabio, who is also the Senate Minority Leader, is yet to inform the party about his alleged plan to defect to the APC.
“The party is not aware. He has not written to the party to that effect,” Ologbondiyan said.
A DEVIL TRANSFIGURES TO A SAINT ONCE HE DECAMPS FROM PDP TO APC – MOMODU.
Publisher of the Ovation Magazine and former Presidential aspirant, Dele Momodu has said that former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, now a senator, Godswill Akpabio would become a ‘saint’ when he finally joins the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Momodu, while reacting to Akpabio’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, in London, said the Senator’s rumoured defection showed that ‘a devil’ changes to a saint when he dumps the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the APC.
In a tweet he shared, Momodu said, “I sincerely congratulated Akpabio for proving to the world what we have always known, that a devil transfigures to saint from PDP to APC and the opposite when he moves from APC to PDP”.
AKPABIO WAS A MOLE IN PDP – DEJI
A former Member of the PDP media unit who worked under former Natioinal Publicity Secretary, Adeyanju Deji has accused Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio of being a mole in the PDP.
He wrote on his facebook page: “CONFIRMED: Akpabio has been working 4 Buhari against PDP since 2015 as a mole. There are still many Akpabios in that party just like Sheriff then. Some of the things we say now that people laugh off is just like the way we said Sheriff was working for Buhari then & Wike laughed”.
A presidential aide, Bashir Ahmad tweeted that “Senator Godswill Akpabio has been a Buharist since 2015. Many haven’t seen it”.
Meanwhile, former spokesman for President Jonathan’s election campaign, Femi Fani-Kayode has lambasted Senator Godswill Akpabio. In an article circulated in the social media on Monday, the former Minister labelled Akpabio a coward.
“The fact that the former Governor of Akwa Ibom, Senator Godswill Akpabio, is a coward and a traitor is no longer in dispute. The fact that his brazen treachery knows no bounds is what can best be described as “settled law.
“Akpabio’s desire to decamp to the APC due to his trepidation and fear of the EFCC and Buhari’s regime is pitiful. If he has done nothing wrong then why the fear and why the trepidation? Where is his faith in God”, Fani-Kayode wrote.