Is former Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator representing Akwa Ibom North West District, and Senate Minority Leader, leaving for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)?
APC chieftains are certain. One US-based journalist and publisher of PointBlank News claims Akpabio told him on phone he is not leaving the PDP.
But the former Governor, who is not on the best of terms with his former political protege and successor, Governor Udom Emmanuel, has been spotted in meetings with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja and President Muhammadu Buhari in London, fuelling speculations that his defection is a done deal waiting to be consummated this week.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Ita Enang, on Saturday confirmed his defection.
Said Enang on Twitter: ““I’m confirming that the @APCNigeria family as earlier indicated will formally receive H.E @godswill_akpabio on Wednesday August 8, 2018 at an elaborate ceremony in Akwa Ibom State”
Akpabio, it was gathered has come under intense pressure to switch political sides, not because “he does not believe in PDP any longer, but because of the story of the cookie and the jar,” a knowledgeable source said.
Meanwhile, it has emerged in Abuja that a bulky file containing incriminating evidence of financial misdeeds is being used as the pressure point to “persuade some members of the opposition to switch sides.”
“The list of those this method is being used on is long, but I do not know the details of who and who is on the list. If the PDP thinks it is the only one with persuasive methods, the next few weeks and months will tell,” he added.
However, a source close to the National Assembly has revealed how lawmakers and other present and past political office holders are opting to remain, “nominally in the APC though their hearts are not there any longer, so they can bail out at the last minute to one of the opposition parties either immediately before or after elections.”
“Fear and self-preservation is kicking in, it is not altruism,” he added.