As politicians realign ahead of the 2019 general elections, feelers reaching THEWILL barring any last minute changes, indicate that Senator Godswill Akpabio, a stalwart of the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Senate Minority Leader will defect from the party to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Also on the list of likely defectors from the PDP to the APC are Governors –Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi).
Two senior members of the government with knowledge of the development, who asked to remain anonymous, told THEWILL that talks have been ongoing to receive the defectors into the APC, which recently lost three governors – Sokoto, Kwara and Benue – as well as at least 36 members of the House of Representatives and 14 senators, including Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
THEWILL gathered that Akpabio has had talks with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the APC national chairman and Thursday had a long meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa over his planned defection.
THEWILL can also report that relations between Akpabio, a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and his successor, who he singled-handedly installed in 2015, Emmanuel Udom, have been sour for over 2 years even though both men have pretended to be cool with each other in public.
Akpabio boycotted Thursday’s NEC meeting of the PDP in Abuja.
THEWILL further gathered that Governors Ugwuanyi and Ayade are no longer comfortable with the PDP following disagreements between them and the leadership of the party under Uche Secondus coupled with the overbearing influences of Senate Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu, who is from Enugu and Senator Liyel Imoke, the former Cross River Governor over the party’s affairs in their states.
THEWILL gathered that Ayade, who has been struggling to perform like his predecessor, Imoke, had reached out to President Muhammadu Buhari’s top aides and indicated his interest to defect. He is the only opposition governor in the South-South that has hosted Buhari twice on a state visit and was recently on the president’s entourage to the ECOWAS summit in Togo.
THEWILL also gathered that Governor Ugwuanyi has been tactically shying away from PDP affairs as he perfects his exit.
As for Umahi, our sources said the governor has never hidden his affection for President Buhari. “His defection is also a matter of time,” the source added.