November 30, 2020

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Akpabio meets Buhari in UK ahead defection to APC

Speculations about Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio’s political future has ended.

The former Akwa Ibom State governor is set to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He completed his consultations with leaders of the ruling party at the weekend in London, the United Kingdom where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari, who is on a 10-day vacation.

Akpabio yesterday afternoon posted the photo of the meeting on his twitter handle with a line on why he met with the President. He, however, avoided any indication of his likely defection.

He twitted via Godswill Obot Akpabio (@SenatorAkpabio) at 2:11 pm:

“Our most important task as leaders is to engage in meaningful discussion and share ideas that will build the bridge between the struggle of today and the future we will all be proud of.”

In Akwa Ibom, there is excitement in the APC on Akpabio’s coming.

“We are mobilising for Akpabio for Wednesday’s rally,” a party chief said.

Last Thursday, Akpabio met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa.

Two Presidency officials and a minister confirmed Akpabio’s likely movement to the APC at the weekend. Presidential Liaison Officer to the National Assembly (Senate) Senator Ita Enang said on his Facebook page and Twitter handle. “Authoritative… I am confirming that the APC family in Nigeria as earlier indicated will formally receive His Excellency Senator (Dr) Godswill Akpabia CON on Wednesday, AUGUST 8,2018 at an elaborate ceremony in Akwa-Ibom State.”

The confirmation was made on Saturday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Prosecution, Okoi Obono- Obla, who said Akpabio would be received by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, among other party faithful.

“There shall be an APC rally at Ikot Ekpene, Akwa AIbom State to receive the former indefatigable governor of the state, His Excellency, Senator Godswill Akpabio to the All Progressives Congress. Acting President Osinbajo, accompanied by Senator Ita Enang and leaders of the APC in Akwa Ibom, will formally receive Senator Godswill Akpabio into the APC at Ikot Ekpene Stadium,” Obono-Obla posted on his Facebook account.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed also confirmed that the APC would welcome Akpabio into its fold.

Mohammed spoke yesterday at a Lagos hotel, when reporters covering the Conference of Speakers meeting accosted him at the lobby.

He told them that those who left the ruling party did so for personal interests.

“I welcome Akpabio’s defection, because all politics is local. All those who have left us did that for purely personal reasons. Since they say politics is a game of number, of course we welcome gladly the defection of the minority leader, like they say, ‘it is one-one goalless draw.’”

On whether Akpabio was being positioned for the position of the Senate President, Mohammed said: “That I don’t know.”

To Mohammed, the defection of some governors, state and federal lawmakers to the PDP was nothing to worry about

He said: “There have been so much hype about this defection and, to me, it’s nothing but storm in a tea cup. We must appreciate the fact that at the end of the day, all politics is local. One should ask, what is the electoral value of these defectors? In other words, today in Sokoto State, what’s the electoral value of those who have defected?”

The foundation for the defection, the minister said, was laid the moment Saraki became Senate president against the wish of the party. He said this affected the relationship between the executive and the legislative arms of the government.

An insider in the APC said yesterday that more PDP senators were expected to defect to the APC after Akpabio.

Pleading not to be named, he said: “Akpabio wants to move on, and between seven and 10 senators might also be joining the APC with him. Akwa Ibom State Governor Emmanuel Udom wants to mess him up; the matter has been on but he did not want to blow it up.

“He believes it’s time he moved on, being that the man he made governor had turned around to wage a war against him.”

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