BY SEGUN ABAS
It is no longer news that Nigeria’s senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio is set to decamp to the APC; what started as a rumour after his notable absence from the PDP NEC meeting has gathered so much momentum as the former Governor yesterday paid a visit to President Buhari in London.
The defection which seems very likely as Senator Akpabio has failed to release a statement against the rumors, comes as a shock to even the most assuming political analysts and journalists especially at a time when the main opposition party, the PDP has put its house in order and is set to welcome even more defectors from the disintegrating APC.
A closer look at the Akwa Ibom politician reveals a weak grasp in his home state of Akwa Ibom where he has been continuously hounded and blackmailed by President Buhari led APC administration over several allegations of corruption.
In 2015, The EFCC ran investigations on Akpabio which led to his subsequent arrest over a misappropriation of N101.8 billion state funds which plunged Akwa Ibom state into debt. The former Governor was not charged to court and resumed his duties in the floor of the senate.
In another report, the former Governor was probed again for gifting an unnamed commercial bank the sum of N1.4billion. Another case that was recorded but not taken to court.
The APC led Federal Government hounding of Senator Akpabio was so severe that the Akwa Ibom Government House was invaded by DSS agents in a plot to steal state secrets in an attempt to acquire more evidence against former Governor Akpabio.
In 2016, Senator Akpabio was arrested for a 3rd time by the EFCC when the Anti-graft commission alleged the illegal withdrawal of N18bn to the acquisition of a multi-billion naira mansion at Plot 5, Okogosi Spring Close, off Katsina-Ala Crescent, Maitama-Abuja, a multi-billion naira mansionette at Plot 28 Colorado Close, Maitama, Abuja and another multi-billion naira mansion at 22 Probyn Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. For the 3rd time, Senator Akpabio was released and no legal charges were filed.
JOINING THE APC
Since 2015, the once vibrant politician lost his voice and failed woefully to provide proper leadership as minority leader in the senate due to the subsequent media backlash against his person and the corruption allegations being thrown around his name.
While other Senators like Bukola Saraki faced all allegations and politically motivated persecution head on, Akpabio may have opted to quietly plead and “settle” with his blackmailers at the expense of the senate his party, his political career and now ultimately, the people of Akwa Ibom State.
THE ANTI CORRUPTION WAR
A move largely perceived as desperate, Akpabio’s defection to APC puts the final coffin to President Buhari’s anti corruption war. It further confirms the long assumed ideology that the APC is a party of protected corruption, where the members and high rollers of corruption in Nigeria are immune from persecution. Senator Akpabio’s rich history of corruption and corrupt allegations is set to be magically swept under the rug.
The same Government that hounded Akpabio, arrested him several times and invaded his former office with DSS agents to get evidence against him have thrown their arms wide open to receive him in their fold. Whether Akpabio was threatened to join the APC or not, it will go down in history that he was a subdued man.
Buhari’s infamous integrity has failed the litmus test with Akpabio. The Nigerian President who prides himself as incorruptible has thrown caution to the wind and made Senator Akpabio, one of the most corrupt persons in Nigeria according to President Buhari’s EFCC to be the Apple of the APC’s eye.
Senator Godswill Akpabio’s corruption allegations have long been in the wind perhaps as hard evidence which has been used recently to blackmail the former Governor. Perhaps enough evidence to get a conviction at the court which would see Akpabio off to prison. However, with the new turn of events, Akpabio who has been alleged to have his eyes on the prized seat of Senate President may begin to enjoy the peace of mind that comes as he is no longer a perceived threat to the President Buhari administration, perhaps at the expense of his own political goodwill.
Abas sent this piece from Ogun state