Ahead of 2019, politicians have started strategising to ensure they get their desired results in the 2019 general elections. This explains the gale of defections going on among nearly all the political parties in the country.
While the recent defections have seen many heavyweight politicians crossing from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, it appears a reverse switch has started.
On Saturday, August 4, the senator representing Ebonyi south senatorial district in the National Assembly, Sonni Ogbuoji, and an ex-minister of state for power and steel, Goddy Ogbaga and 13 others abandoned the PDP for the APC.
However, the one that seems to be unsettling the PDP more is the impending defection of Senator Godswill Akpabio who is the minority leader in the Senate. Senator Akpabio, representing Akwa Ibom northwest in the Senate, is regarded as one of the pillars of the Peoples Democratic Party, not only in Akwa Ibom state but in the entire south-south geopolitical zone.
Ahead of the impending defection, Akpabio has visited the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in Lagos and President Muhammadu Buhari in London. It has been speculated that he will officially announce his defection on Thursday, August 9.
As Akpabio visited President Buhari on Sunday, August 5, the president’s personal assistant on new media, Bashir Ahmad, shared some quotes attributed to the Senate minority leader. The quotes give some insights into what the relationship between President Buhari and Senator Akpabio looks like.
Ahmad, in fact, believed that the quotes show that Akpabio has been a “Buharist (a supporter of Buhari) since 2015”.
NAIJ.com highlights the quotes below:
1. “Today in the Senate, 49 PDP senators have declared their support for President Muhammadu @MBuhari” – Senator Godswill Akpabio
2. “Let me place it on record the support for President Buhari who did something extraordinary. While I was in hospital he called me and said Akpabio we are praying for you. In sha Allah, it shall be well with you.” – Sen. Akpabio (PDP) on September 25th, 2015
3. “The PDP senate caucus reiterates its support to President Muhammadu Buhari and his quest to bring about a greater Nigeria.” – Sen. Akpabio
4. “While I was in Hospital Pres. Buhari called me and said Akpabio we are praying for you. Insha Allah, it shall be well with you” – Sen Akpabio
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that members of the APC in Akwa Ibom state on Sunday, August 5, kicked against the speculated defection of Akpabio. The party members under the aegis of Akwa Ibom Progressives Watch petitioned the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, warning on the impending dangers of defection of Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state to the APC.
In a letter dated August 3, and addressed to the APC national chairman, the group said it has noted with deep concern the broad chorus of disapproval and complete despondency among different strata of members of the APC in Akwa Ibom state over the defection of Akpabio to the party.