The “breaking” of the rumor of the defection of Senator Godswill Akpabio, incumbent senate minority leader and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC) a few days back, was received in the State with great apprehension and mixed feelings. The reactions to the probable defection of the principal officer in the senate were drawn from the unsuspected reasons that informed his decision to defect from the party which made him who he is today and gave him what he has acquired so far. It is a very sad story.
These reactions were basically because nobody foresaw this defection, coming at a time when Senator Akpabio was expected to consolidate the possibility of his “assuming” the senate majority leadership for the remaining months in the life of the 8th Senate, as his party, the PDP, claimed to enjoy a simple majority in the senate, to keep the status quo in the red chambers until further notice; neither could anyone pin the reason he submitted, through one of his aides, down as tenable, for taking the decision to defect at such auspicious time for Governor Udom Emmanuel. It is damning.
When defections and cross carpeting of politicians from one political party to another is not based on political ideology but on interests aimed at self propagation towards leadership perpetuation, then the health of our democracy is under terminal threat, and our democratic advance as a nation – one which has remained nascent and underdeveloped after over 18 years – remains physically challenged and mentally imbalanced.
The picture of our politics can, at best, be described as “criminal madness”. This specie of criminals are known as “government pickin” (government criminals). If it is possible, these sets of politician would sell Nigeria and Nigerians to Ghana and Ghanaians, instead of negotiating with American, and take the proceeds to Dubai to live drinking wine as water. Hell is waiting for all of them. None of them is interested about the well being of Nigeria and Nigerians. Watch them: they create impossible and critical political situations and complications at the approach of every general election.
Nothing else describes these bunch of unfortunate children of unfortunate parents better than the Parable of the Rich Fool, who was enriched by God but thought it was his efforts that provided him what scripture described as a bountiful harvest. He could not allow poor Lazarus, who sat at his gate and was generous enough to allow his (the Rich Fool) dogs enjoy a party upon his open wounds, have the crumbs that fell from his table. We know how he (the Rich Fool) begged Abraham for Lazarus, in the after life, to help him with a drop of water to tamper his patched tongue from heat. NOW is the appropriate time for these sets of politicians to attend to justice for their crimes against Nigeria and Nigerians.
One thing about Senator Akpabio’s defection from the PDP is sure, and this is that the incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, has shown immense understanding, and has given impossible respect to his predecessor and political godfather, Senator Akpabio, across every board for 3 good unrestrained years, and this is unprecedented in the anal of our political history as it relates the foolishness of political “god-fatherism”.
Politicians who still see themselves as godfathers are those who never passed their exams if they ever went to school – they have always shown their incapacity to learn – they never learn even with a sound teacher standing before them. It is to the credit of Governor Udom that the relationship between himself and his predecessor lasted until a few days ago.
The story is everywhere for anyone to comparatively judge the magnanimity and tolerance of Governor Udom Emmanuel for his predecessor. Danjuma Goje, former governor of Gombe State, who raised the incumbent, Hassan Dankwabo, will tell anyone who cares to hear that the mutual relationship between him and his successor did not last for 1 year.
For Udom Emmanuel to have tolerated Godswill Akpabio for more than 3 years indicates his infantile political classification and its nativity. Governor Akpabio respected his predecessor for only one week, and when he was sworn in as governor, his first official act was to demolish government house, Uyo to spite his political benefactor, Victor Attah.
It is alleged that it was Senator Goje who prompted Governor Dankwambo to resign from office as the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to contest the governorship election in Gombe State in 2011. The same story relating to Godswill Akpabio and Udom Emmanuel. There are several other examples of political betrayals, like in the case of Senator Theodore Orji and former Governor Orji Uzo Kalu, Chibuike Amaechi and Peter Odili, Nyesom Wike and Chibuike Amaechi, Godwill Akpabio and Victor Attah, and others like them.
In pidgin English it is said “you try”. Governor Emmanuel, in his relationship with Senator Akpabio, has tried, howbeit, unsuccessfully to please his former principal. Although in political calculations, it has always been clear to every Akwa Ibom politician that Senator Akpabio despises opposition politics because his political strategies and concepts are tailored towards militancy. He cannot win elections without what is tagged as ” federal might”. This is what may likely be informing Senator Akpabio’s defection.
Godswill Akpabio enjoys using “federal might” in elections and he cannot do much in elections without using this might. And as he resumes in the APC from Wednesday 8 August 2018, he will be resuming as the Party Leader of the APC in the State, according to the constitution of the APC. This means Senator Akpabio will be leading the APC in Akwa Ibom to the seeming battle to win the State in the 2019 governorship election.
To the ordinary eyes in Akwa Ibom State, Senator Akpabio’s defection is an advantage the APC in the State has over the PDP towards taking the seat of the governor of Akwa Ibom State easily, under ordinary view. To majority of members of the party in the State, Senator Akpabio’s defection to the party is received with mixed reactions, nevertheless, the members of the party’s executive committee know the huge work and pressure they would be put through.
The concern of the state executive committee members is situated more on the implosion expected in the party by the senator’s defection. It is worrisome that Senator Akpabio is coming at a time when the state executive committee of the party is yet to inaugurate the executive committees of the party at the local government area and ward chapters across the state. So the general thinking among the members of the APC in the State is that Senator Akpabio should have spared the party the heat his defection would ensue and the certain implosion it will generate.
Upon another consideration, some believe that Senator Akpabio’s defection is planned to distract the APC in the State to create an electoral advantage for the emergence of Udom Emmanuel as winner of the 2019 governorship race in the State. It is also considered that the senator’s defection may have been informed by his alleged money laundering case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). An aide of the senator claimed that the political difference between Governor Emmanuel and Senator Akpabio stems from the incumbent governor’s hypocritical stand on the issue of the EFCC’s investigation of his principal.
And if this is true, then Governor Emmanuel is a bastion of the Buhari administration’s fight against corruption and corrupt Nigerians. If this is the reason for his defection, Senator Akpabio automatically becomes a moral burden on the Buhari administration. And to be sincere, except Senator Akpabio’s defection can help President Buhari’s in the impeachment of Bukola Saraki as senate president, his input is not seen as necessary in the quest of the APC in Akwa Ibom State to form the next government in the State.
It is therefore clear that it is for political survival that Senator Akpabio is defecting to the APC and the national leadership of the party must as a matter of strategy tutor Senator Akpabio on specific assignments he should handle in the party, especially if he is coming to create an opportunity for Governor Udom to sail easily back into Government House, Uyo.
It is therefore from this foregoing that this article is generated. Let us consider that Governor Udom was content with his Zenith Bank job and it was Senator Akpabio who went and rouse him from his contentment, brought him into government and pushed him to be governor. In the opinion of many, it is impossible for Governor Udom to stand the forces the APC is presently parading in Akwa Ibom State. Senator Akpabio has returned in league with every politician he used Governor Udom as police baton to beat up.
He is now arrayed with all these men against Governor Udom for the 2019 governorship election in the State. Governor Udom MUST do 3 things NOW: he would either go all out to win his reelection very simply, or consider to field another candidate for the PDP and be content with 1 term governance or he goes into the 2019 governorship election and be shamefully disgraced. Below is the analysis:
1. For Governor Udom to win his reelection bid very easily, he should realize how he has not yet finished what Senator Akpabio brought him into government to accomplish, so he needs to follow him anywhere and everywhere he (Akpabio) goes. To avoid the seeming bloodshed and destruction of properties in the State that a combative election will ensue, it is advisable for Governor Udom to immediately decamp from the PDP to the APC, and sit at the feet of Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe, a good man that has variously been misunderstood.
Senator Udoedehe is a very liberal politician, always wanting the good of, and justice for the oppressed. He will ever show understanding for Governor Udom’s misery, and only extract a commitment from the governor. After all, if it was Senator Udoedehe who produced Akpabio, then he micro produced governor Udom as his political “eyeyin” (grandson). This way, winning his reelection bid and finding a new pathfinder to drive a better government from 2019 can be clearly visible. This way, he (Udom) becomes political leaser of the APC in the State and determine who gets elective ticket or not, punishing Senator Akpabio therefrom.
2. If Governor Udom chooses to remain in the PDP, then he should not contest the 2019 governorship election in the state. He should choose a candidate for the PDP, and support Senator Akpan Udoedehe to clinch the governorship of the State, while he releases the dossiers on, and for Akpabio’s distraction by the EFCC and make his presence in the State uncomfortable.
This way he will show his calling as a Church Deacon as a true example in humility and his dismal performance in government can be covered up, and his show of contentment for office holding will be legendary and unprecedented. He will leave the history of a politician who is not office hungry but knows how to choose rightly. Choosing from either 1 or 2, he will short change the present advance of Akpabio and those he may team up with, and bury their political ambitions in shallow graves.
3. If Governor Udom chooses to contest the 2019 governorship election in the State, it is sure that he WILL lose the election and be accountable for the bloodshed and violence that will attend the impending political war in which he will lose and be badly disgraced out of office. The most shameful thing he will suffer is his lack of communal legacy for the State. He has only governed, and showed governance to his Awa-Onna kinsmen, unfortunately.
Ini Akpan Morgan is the Convener of the APC Patriots Grouping (APCpg) in Akwa Ibom State, and he writes from Uyo