The visit of the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, to the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, was part of the last-minute consultations on his planned defection to the APC, The PUNCH has learnt
A source privy to the meeting, and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, stated that Monday’s meeting which held in Abuja was at the instance of the PDP leader.
The source stated that Akpabio felt it was proper to visit the APC leader, who initiated the process of him joining the APC.
The source said, “Asiwaju started the whole process of bringing Akpabio to join the APC. The discussions and negotiations began a long time ago and what he (Akpabio) did when he came today was to just come for further consultations ahead of his formal declaration which is on Tuesday (Today).
“He (Akpabio) said his visit was just a homecoming visit because Asiwaju started it all. Don’t forget, capturing Akpabio who is ‘a big fish’ in the South-South is major inroads to the zone. You know his weight in Akwa Ibom and in the South-South as a whole.”
The source quoted Akpabio as saying, “You (Tinubu) started it all, I needed to come to where it all started.”
The source noted that the decision to target Akpabio was strategic, noting that it was largely due to the enormous influence he wielded within the oil-rich Akwa Ibom State and beyond, which would be an asset to the APC which had since 2015 been battling to get a strong foothold in the region.
Akpabio was credited with the feat of almost single-handedly installing the current Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, members of the National Assembly as well as their counterparts in the state House of Assembly.
With his defection to the APC, only one of the three PDP senators will be left in the opposition PDP with several members of the House of Representatives expected to join him in his new party.
The APC source said, “With Akpabio joining us, you know the days of the PDP in Akwa Ibom and in the South-South generally are already numbered. His joining the APC will help strengthen our party in the APC in the South-South.”