Reality Settles On Friends And Foes of AkpabioArticles/Opinion, Featured, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Wednesday, August 15th, 2018
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – After the flamboyance and glitter that went with the news of his defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC, the reality is coming to dawn among friends and foes of the former Senate Minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
As no one feels the shoe like the one who wears it, Akpabio is undoubtedly the first person to feel the positive and negative consequence of his shocking but not totally unexpected decision to leave his comfort zone to the pool of sharks.
First, like the popular sobriquet of his new political friends, All Promises Cancelled, Akpabio has been baptised with the first failed promise with the party not able to deliver the well-reported promise of Senate President to him.
If the party made the promise and Akpabio believed it, it would have been a Herculean task given the parade of APC senators like George Akume, Ahmad Lawan among others that have been queuing up for the coveted position.
The promise of Senate President was expected to trigger a bandwagon that would have caused many otherwise feckless political minds to go with him to the APC. As it is, Akpabio has failed to trigger the bandwagon, and only his brother and a former personal aide he made a commissioner in the Udom Emmanuel cabinet went with him to the APC.
In the state House of Assembly, only two of the 27 members he put in the House of Assembly considered his junket worth it to go with him to the APC.
So on both sides, APC may have failed to deliver the Senate Presidency to Akpabio and Akpabio on his part has also failed to trigger the political meltdown in the state.
A week after the defection, women in thousands came out on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, to the streets of Uyo, the state capital to express solidarity with Governor Udom Emmanuel. Unlike the crowd that were bussed in from outside the state and who could not understand the local language on the day Akpabio defected, the women who demonstrated for Emmanuel were local women who knew one another and conversed in the language against the strange spirit that had come over Akpabio.
Still, on promises, the APC may, however, be keeping up with the promise of protecting the former governor of Akwa Ibom State from the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Given the zeal with which the EFCC has taken to freezing the accounts of state governments as with Benue and Akwa Ibom States, it is undoubtedly reassuring for someone like Akpabio that the same EFCC would for now overlook the petitions that have been levelled against him over his activities as governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Of course, the many projects that were earmarked for which money was reportedly paid for but not completed would not concern the anti-graft agencies. The seeming double standard could well be reflective of the popular mantra in town that defection to the APC is the quickest way to sainthood in Nigeria.
However, for the many citizens of Akwa Ibom, who had been bemused over the decision of Akpabio to join a political party he once stridently criticised and opposed, the reality is also dawning on them.
Many who did not believe the possibility of Akpabio defecting came to the stadium that decisive day to witness the occasion; they were Doubting Thomases who went to the Ikot Ekpene Stadium with the mind that unless they saw the man raise the broom that they would not believe.
For these and many others, reality has dawned, and they have believed that Akpabio has finally left the PDP to the APC.
However, the reality is also dawning on many APC chieftains whose party has now welcomed Akpabio into their fold.
The reality for them is that almost all of the leading APC chieftains were driven to that party by Akpabio. From Chief Donald Etiebet, the leader of the APC caucus in the state, Chief Umana Umana who was betrayed by Akpabio at the point of his succession, Mr. Nsima Ekire who was almost impeached as deputy governor under Akpabio, Eseme Eyiboh who was rushed out of the House of Representatives among several others, Akpabio has to adjust to the reality of dwelling among his enemies.
What of Senator James Akpanudoedehe, the man who was among the first to revolt against Akpabio and became the father of the opposition before Umana and Nsima came and shoved him aside.
Akpanudoedehe was the manager of Akpabio’s first governorship campaign for the 2007 election. However, two or three years later he had become so disenchanted that he left the PDP to head the opposition that was nurtured in the then Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and fought Akpabio to a standstill in the 2011 governorship election.
Indeed, the controversy over how Akpanudoedehe is relating with those who recently came from the PDP to join the APC was yet to settle before Akpabio came on board.
Indeed, in an interview he gave to a national newspaper recently, Akpanudoedehe was quoted to have said:
“These were the people whose government charged me for treason, murder, arson. There was nothing they did not do when I brought the opposition to the state. They are the ones now singing Halleluya. And with their evil collaborators, they rewarded them with offices and they now rally round them because of the contracts from NDDC.”
So even when they were yet to settle issues among themselves, Akpabio came into the fray to further muddle an already stormy situation. The fact that Akpabio was named the head of the party in the state is something that is also bound to ruffle feathers.
If the leading chieftains of the APC in Akwa Ibom State share the common factor of having been chased out of the PDP to the APC and the man that chased them has now been named as their leader in their new home, it is a shivering reality that is bound to unnerve many.
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