SENATE minority leader Senator Godswill Akpabio is said to be considering leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and joining the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) due to intractable differences between himself and Akwa Ibom State governor Udom Emmanuel.
Senator Akpabio governed Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015 as a member of the PDP before handing over to Governor Emmanuel, his hand-picked successor. After leaving office, Senator Akpabio then went to the senate and became the minority leader but it appears that the two men are involved in a bitter struggle over who controls the PDP in Akwa Ibom State.
Yesterday, PDP leaders converged at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja, where they welcomed recent defectors from the APC like senate president Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal. However, Senator Akpabio did not attend the event as he went to a meeting with vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa.
Sources close to the senate minority leader say the meeting was called to perfect Senator Akpabio’s defection to the APC. At around 3pm yesterday afternoon, Senator Akpabio arrived at Aso Rock with President Muhammadu Buhari’s adviser on National Assembly matters Senator Ita Enang and both men went straight into the vice president’s wing at the villa.
While the PDP’s national executive council meeting was going on, the three men were tied up in a meeting that lasted until around 5.20pm. According to Akwa Ibom sources, the growing rift between Senator Akpabio and Governor Emmanuel has deepened to a point whereby the two men are barely on speaking terms.
It is not clear if the recent defections from the APC to the PDP have had any impact on Senator Akpabio’s decision. Over the last fortnight, about 15 senators, 37 members of the House of Representatives and at least three governors have left the APC for the PDP.
credit; AYO AKINFE.