With the recent wave of defections among Nigeria’s political class, the opposition People’s Democratic Party are so far the biggest winners. With a Senate majority and major gains in the House of Reps, the party can only look to consolidate.
The bigger picture:
In spite of the gains made at the legislature, it isn’t eureka yet at the local level – the States. We take a look at two states where two former Governors might be heading to the ruling All Progressives Congress barring any major intervention.
Godswill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom:
Senator Akpabio is not in good terms with his chosen successor, Governor Emmanuel Udom over a number of issues. In the past week, speculations were high that the Governor was set to defect to the APC.
At least two national dailies, The Nation
and New Telegraph,
reported that the PDP National Secretariat made attempts to convince Senator Akpabio to remain with the party. A source quoted in the news report said:
“All I can tell you is that Secondus made Akpabio to understand that PDP stands ample chance to reap from the crisis in the ruling party as it is certain that the party will gain upper hand in the Senate by the time aggrieved members of the APC leave. Whether the former governor gave them his word is another thing.”
The APC has also acknowledged
the reports but the local chapter of the party appears to be in the dark.
What we know: Akpabio has always denied a rift with his successor, but the picture he has painted is far from reality. The former Governor has been reported to frequently use the phrase “All is not well” at various domestic meetings at his Senatorial, complaining of the Governor’s neglect of his zone and the projects of his (Akpabio’s) own administration.
The recent defection of Senator Barnabas Gemade, a member of the Ortom camp to the PDP is said to have convinced the former Governor to finalise his decision to move to the APC where he would team up with another former Governor, Senator George Akume to wrest control of the state. Leadership newspaper reports
that Suswam’s defection plan has been perfected.
According to a Suswam camp insider: “We cannot work for the re-election of Governor Ortom and we have decided to leave the party as the governor is joining the party. We don’t think Benue workers will support PDP with Ortom as a candidate. We weighed all options and decided with our leader, former Governor Gabriel Suswam to join APC and work together with Akume.Governor Ortom/Gemade camp begged Suswam not to defect to APC but he refused.“
What we know: The PDP National leadership have agreed in principle to grant an automatic ticket for the Benue West Senatorial Zone to Gemade who currently occupies the seat. Suswam intends to challenge Gemade again after losing to him in the 2015 elections. With Gemade’s defection it is logical to see why he might pursue this ambition elsewhere.