A senior aide to President Muhammadu Buhari has described Senator Godswill Akpabio who recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to All Progressives Congress, APC, as an asset not liability, telling Nigerians not to listen to allegations from some quarters against him.
Sen. Ita Enang, Special Assistant to President Mohammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters, made the remark during a chat with newsmen in Calabar, Cross River State, shortly after His Eminence Rev. Nzie Nsi Eke, Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria PCN, declared open the 23rd General Assembly to mark the 172 years of existence in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Lai Mohammed, Information and Culture Minister said changes of APC, winning the governor of Akwa Ibom State in the forthcoming general poll is brighter with the defection of Senator Akpabio, former Akwa Ibom governor to the party.
Enang while soliciting support from all Nigerians to enable President Buhari quell insurgency, corruption and every other social ill that had taken slowed down economy, said Akpabio left the PDP as a great asset to the APC.
He said, “Akpabio was what we could call the certificate of registration of the PDP. We discovered that he had a nationalistic posture, considering his pedigree, we had no option other than to approach him. The APC worked so hard to bring him to the fold.
“What we observed was that Akpabio already had a lot of democratic/nationalistic credentials in him and was one Nigerian willing to work for the survival of the country and not for his parochial interest. We had to bring him to our party and so light met light. I charged other political party to cry less,” Ita said.
Similarly, Mohammed, who spoke on TVC Nigeria programme, ‘’This Morning,” monitored in Uyo, described as a big blow to the PPD, the defection of Senator Akpabio to the party, noting that the bandwagon effect would spread across the South-South geo-political zone.
He said, “Akpabio is a seasoned politician and he knows which party will best represent his people. He knows what is best for his people. He has ruled the state for eight-years and anybody who goes to Akwa Ibom will see his imprints in the state.
“He has become a national figure as such his defection is a big blow to PDP and advantage to APC. It is not just in Akwa Ibom but the entire South-South. If you look at the vote that will come from Akwa Ibom, you will know that the PDP has really lost. Like I said, it is a big blow to PDP. The coming of Akpabio to APC will have a bandwagon effect in the states of the South-South.”
However, the people of Oro nation, the third largest ethnic group in the state, have demanded that APC zones the governorship slot to the area to appease them over the wrong committed by Akpabio when he single-handedly foisted Governor Udom Emmanuel, an Ibibio from Eket senatorial sistrict on the state.
Speaking under the aegis of Oro Mandate Group, they said: “Oro nation will never compromise on the 2019 governorship seat as this remains the only way to preserve, promote and protect the peace, unity and progress of Akwa Ibom State as proposed by our founding fathers.
“The interest of Oro must be a major priority come 2019 and we demand the Governorship position be zoned to Oro by the APC and nothing less. We are tired of being constantly used and dumped by other ethnic groups while we remain slaves in the politics of the state.’’