(By Chris K. Amadi)-As the wind of defections is blowing across Nigeria, with the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, appearing to be losing more of its high profile members in the last few days, observers are suspecting that the recent moves of Senator Godswill Akpabio, senate minority leader from Akwa Ibom, might see him defecting with others to the APC, a development that is capable of reversing the gains so far recorded by the PDP.
Reports have it that the senator has been avoiding key events of the Peoples Democratic Party, the platform he used to become a governor for eight years and also win election to the senate. There are however concerns that the same Akpabio, who was absent at the recent National Executive Council meeting of the PDP in Abuja reportedly met with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, and that a reception for his defection have been scheduled for August 8 in Akwa Ibom State. Reports have it that he has gone outside the country to see the president who is presently on 10 days leave.
Although Senator Akpabio has not publicly declared his intention to leave the PDP, the meeting of the former Akwa Ibom governor with the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in Lagos on Saturday has given more impetus to his speculated planned exit from the PDP because of what observers refer to as alleged sour relations with Governor Emmanuel Udom of his home Akwa Ibom state.
Although political analysts have posited that defections will continue until next year, even up to the eve of the elections, but many watchers of political developments in Nigeria, and especially in the south east and south south parts of Nigeria where President Muhammadu Buhari did not fair well in the 2015 elections posit that the speculated defections in the two zones of Nigeria into the APC will favour Buhari’s re-election in 2019.
Meanwhile, the presidential ambition of Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi has been given a boost with the endorsement of Nigeria’s former military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida. At a visit of the presidential hopeful to the former ruler in the course of his consultations, Babangida was reported as recalling the maturity Alhaji Markafi demonstrated in managing the affairs of Kaduna state when he was governor, and when he represented his constituents as a senator.
Daily Post reported Babangida as saying:
“You have my blessings and I will look forward to hearing from you on some of these articulations I heard from you today. Honestly I feel so proud,” adding that Nigeria needs people like Markafi to put the nation on the right and fast lane of development.