Akpabio will be the APC's biggest summer signing this transfer window. But like every other politician out there, he comes badly flawed.
Politics is really insane, come to think of it. One day, you are insulting one party and all its members, the next day, you are in bed with the same party and its members.
I have been chatting with a few stalwarts and chieftains of the APC since the news of Akpabio’s defection broke last Friday, and they are pretty excited about the move. They tell me of how formidable Akpabio is in the South South geopolitical region, how he’s respected among his peers in the senate, how his larger than life persona continues to suffuse Akwa Ibom—a State he governed for 8 years—and how he is just the right man to give Senate President Bukola Saraki and his clique a run for their money in the senate.
You know what? These APC chaps are right on several scores. Akpabio’s defection is the equivalent of a big money, marquee signing in football. He comes with loads of experience, has numerous scalps to his name, he is the senate minority leader, when he coughs, Akwa Ibom and most of the South South sneezes and Akwa Ibom will jump from a 24-storey building if Akpabio barks the instruction—no questions asked.
Akpabio will be bringing that street smart intelligence, a roughshod disposition and grassroot appeal to the South South zone of the APC. He is also a money bag, warts and all.
He’s got bags of corruption allegations dangling round his neck from his days as governor, but if you go to Uyo Township today, you’d have no qualms settling for Akpabio as the best governor that State has ever produced. Akpabio is perhaps the one governor from an oil rich State who deployed derivation from oil revenues to erect landmark infrastructure in a bid to open up his State for business and commerce.
But Akpabio is not the cleanest politician in the land by a long shot. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is still investigating the senator for allegedly looting the sum of N108.1 billion while he was governor of Akwa Ibom.
Akpabio has also been accused of acquiring choice property across the country, namely: 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.
At about 5:20pm of October 16, 2015, the EFCC arrested Akpabio over the alleged N108.1 billion theft.
In September of 2017, the EFCC revealed that it was investigating Akpabio over a N1.4billion gift to a bank.
An EFCC detective was quoted as saying at the time: “Among several allegations that are already in the public domain, the commission has made some progress in investigating the circumstances in which Apkabio, in 2013, paid N566, 883,728.66; N441,808,081.90; and N392, 631,943.37 as gifts to a new generation bank.”
In Akpabio, the APC is acquiring a hands on, pragmatic political player who is as tainted as they come. But when has that ever mattered when political parties open their arms to welcome defectors? If anything, Akpabio’s defection tells us that the lines between the PDP and APC are now non-existent. He is yet one more example of the ideology and value deficit in our nation’s politics. He is badly damaged goods but also a political ‘animal’ who gives as good as he gets and who spares no expenses when handed a task.
Akpabio’s first job, from what I have been told, will be to poach as many PDP senators as possible to the APC and then begin to assemble the two-thirds majority senators who will impeach Saraki as senate president. The APC is recruiting Akpabio as the final piece in the jigsaw to unseat Saraki who left the APC with some 15 senators.
Akpabio is also leaving the PDP because he has lost out in the power stakes to his successor, Governor Udom Emmanuel who has seized the PDP structure in his home State. His switch to the APC is happening because he can't wait to go to-to-toe with Emmanuel, a governor he handpicked to succeed him and who he now considers an ingrate.
In the final analysis, Akpabio could be a shrewd summer signing for the APC. What we should all learn from this transfer is that the APC’s claim to integrity and change are but mere buzzwords tailored to hoodwink an unsuspecting public. The politicians switching camps aren’t doing so for love of country or because they are determined to fix a badly damaged country. The receiving party isn't welcoming new members because those members can help shape and actualize its people oriented agenda. This is where we are. Know this, know peace.
It’s Akpabio today, it will be Akpororo tomorrow.