FORMER Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, says he left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because he realised that President Muhammadu Buhari is a man of integrity who means well for Nigeria, and partly because the PDP has no “reward system” for loyal party members.
Akpabio, who was formally received into the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday at the Ikot-Ekpene Township Stadium, said he was not impressed that the PDP derided him and rolled out the drums to receive somebody who “destroyed” the party in 2014, and even proclaimed the person a National leader of the party.
Though he mentioned no names, it was obvious Akpabio was referring to the grand reception ceremony the PDP organised for Senate President Bukola Saraki and the other lawmakers and governors who defected from the APC recently.
They included former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Governors Aminu Tambuwal, Samuel Ortom and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Sokoto State, Benue State and Kwara State respectively, all of whom had left the PDP prior to the 2015 general election.
“I thank the PDP that gave me the platform to even come and stand with you, but I want the PDP to have a reward system,” Akpabio said while addressing the mammoth crowd of supporters that came to witness his defection.
“Adams Oshiomhole is a man I know that has a reward system and I know APC will have a reward system.
“In the PDP, I was so shocked when, all of a sudden, one of those who destroyed our party in 2015 brought others, and they came, the first thing they (the PDP) did was to get a hall in Hilton, and they did a party, and called a band.
“I said what is going on? I’m the leader and I am not aware. They said ‘we are welcoming decampees‘. I said ‘are you welcoming destroyers or decampees?
“I said ‘this party cannot work, if people who destroyed you are back, they will destroy you again’, and they said ‘no’.
“Then somebody raised the hands of one of them and said ‘this is the national leader of the party’. Immediately, in my honour, with your support and prayers, I put in my resignation, I said ‘I’m no longer the minority leader of this party from today.
“Because if you go around rewarding people who have destroyed the party, then it means you are encouraging others to destroy the party.”
Akpabio said that as far as he was concerned, “this is the end of PDP in the Niger Delta” and that he will work hard in the next election to vote in President Buhari.
“Do not be afraid of President Buhai if your hands are clean, because, for a man who won an election on the basis of integrity, he was not well for over one and a half years, should we stop such a man from actualising his vision for Nigeria?
“That is why today I’m standing (and saying) that Nigeria has not seen the best of President Buhari. We must see him as an opportunity. People should not be afraid.”
Akpabio said he is already being persecuted by the PDP-led Akwa Ibom State government as his younger brother, who was appointed commissioner by Governor Emmanuel Udom, has been fired alongside one other commissioner who went to receive him when he landed at the Uyo Airport. “Is that the way to go?” he asked.
Both former commissioners, as well as some members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly all joined Akpabio in defecting to the APC and were all received by the party’s national leadership.
However, Akpabio insists he has no problem with Governor Udom, saying there is no issue between them that cannot be resolved on the table of dialogue.
Akpabio also denied rumours that he joined the APC in order to become Senate President, adding, however, that “my name is Godswill, so I’m open to whatever is the will of God for me”.