Senator Godswill Akpabio’s elder brother, Chief Isong Ibanga Akpabio, has said that the recent defection of his Senator brother and immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot make the oil rich state to fall for APC.
The senior Akpabio said this on Wednesday in Lagos when he was cornered by News Express, a few days after he returned from an overseas trip.
He said he was as shocked as everyone else when he learnt of his younger brother’s defection.
“Since I came back (from abroad) I have not gone to my village and I am yet to meet him (Senator) in person). I know many people are confused just as I am. I have talked with some folks on phone and they said it’s something they never expected to happen. I know some people may be very happy it happened, and some may be very unhappy it happened,” he said.
Asked if his brother’s defection will change the political equation in his home state, the politician cum businessman who in 2006 aspired to govern Akwa Ibom alongside his now Senator brother, also on the platform of PDP, replied: “The state has been ruled by PDP for the past 19 years. I cannot see APC just wake up one day and say they have taken over the state. I know that Akwa Ibom people who have embraced PDP over the years will not, because of the defection of one person, change over to another party.
“I don’t really mind APC coming to the state if they have any goodies to offer the people, but I think it is an uphill task, Akwa Ibom is PDP state.”
Questioning the APC motive to take over the state, Isong, who retired from Exxon Mobil some years back as head of corporate affairs, said: “But why is APC always eyeing Akwa Ibom? The other time there were so many court cases until Udom Emmanuel won at the apex court. May be the PDP should also go and take over Lagos State which is traditionally an APC state. In the United States there is the Blue, which are the Democrats, and the Red, which are the Republicans. Akwa Ibom has always been democrats. I don’t want crisis in the forthcoming general elections. I don’t want APC to try to take over what they know under normal circumstances they cannot, may be they would want to rig the elections and cause trouble. Akwa Ibom is PDP state and I can say that anywhere.”
Isong Akpabio revealed that even as a PDP stalwart in the state, he voted for President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election thinking that he (Buhari) and his party (APC) would bring about the much needed change then. But he said he, as well as other Nigerians, have been completely disappointed in the Buhari-led government. He cited insecurity as the major area the government has failed in woefully.
On the insinuations that his Senator brother might have decamped to the ruling party for fear of being indicted as a result of his alleged financial impropriety which runs into about N200 billion, Isong said: “I am not sure Godswill stole any money. Do you know what N200 billion means? The only thing I know is that my brother is generous, and much of the money he spends on generosity is family money. We are not a poor family, we didn’t start today. Akpabio family is a well to do family and had produced great statesmen in this country in the past, and still counting.
“It’s certain Godswill did not defect to go back to be governor again. He must have defected to go higher, and it is his right to aspire to greater heights. What is wrong if he becomes the Senate President tomorrow?
“My only consolation is that those who are attacking him are a minute proportion. Those are the enemies, so if the proportion of the enemies is less, it means he has no problem. In politics, they say, there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies but permanent interest.”
Commenting on the widely spread rumour of the frosty relationship between the Senator and the incumbent governor of the state, purportedly as a result of the Senator’s comment some time ago that his successor has abandoned the projects he started in his senatorial district, the senior Akpabio said: “Every leader has his own project focus. I do not subscribe to a former governor castigating his successor over the project he did not complete. Agreed, Udom should complete the projects he met on ground, but that depends on two elements – one is availability of funds, the second is that the incumbent too wants to do as much projects as he can that he will be remembered for.
“If I were Godswill, I would ask for new projects in my area, not the ones he did not complete because one would ask, why didn’t you complete the projects you embarked on during your eight years in office? But I would advise the governor to do the much he can to complete those abandoned projects, if there is any.”