The special adviser to the president on national assembly (senate) matters, Mr. Ita Enang, will head a delegation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a rally in Ikot Ekpene on Wednesday, August 8 to receive the senate minority leader and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Godswill Akpabio into the APC fold.
Akpabio, who is expected to announce his formal defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had met with President Muhammadu Buhari in London as a prelude to his leaving the party.
Buhari is currently in London on a 10-day leave.
In a tweet on his personal handle, @SenatorAkpabio, after the meeting, Akpabio wrote: “Our most important task as leaders is to engage in meaningful discussion and share ideas that will build the bridge between the struggle of today and the future we will all be proud of.”
Enang who confirmed the meeting said: “I’m confirming that the APC family as earlier indicated will formally receive H.E, Godswill Akpabio on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at an elaborate ceremony in Akwa Ibom State.”
The head of digital communication of the presidency, Tolu Ogunlesi, confirmed the meeting between Buhari and Akpabio in London on his Tweeter handle, @toluogunlesi.
“Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio, Senator representing the Akwa Ibom North West District, and Senate Minority Leader, today in London met with PMB,” twitted Ogunlesi who also attached photographs of the two men taken shortly before they met behind closed doors.
NewsGazette learnt that the rally will be attended by the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and some other APC stalwart including its national chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.
It would be recalled that last Thursday, Akpabio attended a meeting with the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The meeting lasted for 90 minutes and fueled rumours that Akpabio was planning to defect to the APC after falling out with the current governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.
It would also be recalled that in June 2016, Akpabio, paid a secret visit to the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at his Bourdillon Road residence in Lagos and incurred the verbal wrath his PDP colleagues in the senate who described the visit as “anti-party activities.”
Worried by the report of the visit, the deputy senate president, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu confronted Akpabio.
Akpabio was reported to have dismissed the matter casually, saying he visited Tinubu over some “personal issues.”
It is believed that Akpabio’s defection would score some consolation points for the APC as the party has been hit with a wave of defections that has led to the loss of dozens of lawmakers, including the senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, members of the House of Representatives, three state governors and several state executives to opposition parties, mostly the PDP, in one week.
Meanwhile, there is fear in APC camp in Akwa Ibom that the former governor might be coming to help kill the party.
Meanwhile, here are some social media reactions to Akpabio’s defection
Precious Ikpang @MrIkpang
Replying to @APCNewspaper and 3 others
So i guess we will stop hearing on planet radio and inspiration how Akpabio mismanaged billions of naira… They will suddenly call him a saint now, and a man who changed Akwa Ibom. Can’t wait
Mr. Stanley Nwabia @MrStanleyNwabia
I hear APC has some dirt on Godswill Akpabio and have mandated him to decamp into their fold or be exposed and hounded by EFCC.
Oga Godswill, your legacy in Akwa Ibom is bigger than whatever APC has on you. Don’t allow APC reduce you to forger Kemi Adeosun’s level. Fight back.
Daddy D.O🇳🇬 @DOlusegun
So Akpabio lied to his PDP compatriots that he couldn’t attend the NEC meeting on Thursday because he was travelling abroad, only for them to see him at the Villa with VP Osinbajo. If he can cheat with you on his current party, he can cheat on you too. #NuffSaid
Godswill Akpabio – the senator representing my local govt is extremely popular because he transformed our area significantly as Governor. His impact was massive. He enjoys huge, huge support. At least 1/3rd of Akwa Ibom will vote for who Akpabio says to vote for.
The Nigerian Wailers @NGRWailers
The EFCC will arrest Senator Godswill Akpabio by Wednesday next week if he does not defect to APC. He pleaded with Osibanjo to give him until the resumption of plenary for him to consult widely. The man is under serious pressure from Buhari and his people.