Dear Distinguished Sen Akpabio,
Permit me to thank you very kindly for your decision to join APC.
I wanted the euphoria to calm down before doing you this friendly letter. We haven’t met sir but I have been one of your greatest defenders on the social media. I like you as a person and I was happy with your transformational agenda and hoped that more of your types were needed to build enduring principles and values in our democracy. It wasn’t as if you were without faults but I like you all the same.
For instance Oro nation was superlatively the third leg on the tripod in the state until you came on board. Either inadvertently or by design you played down on that arrangement for no apparent reason. Let us forget the over flogged issue of governorship. Oro was deliberately denied any entitlement that promoted progress and was inflicted with a heinous political injury where mediocrity seemed to be tactfully initiated. Mediocrity became a virtue in Oro and the first eleven went into hiding until you left the stage. Today the same nation that has once produced deputy governor, speaker of the house and state party chairman was on its hands and knees until Mr. Udom Emmanuel recovered SSG (part of which you also denied them) and gave the Oro people. But yet I liked you because of something called hope. I would explain later.
But firstly let me disagree with those who described your decision as a defection including the National Chairman of APC who added the word uncommon defection. I base my argument on the following:
Firstly the legality or otherwise of your decision/action –
Section 68 (1)(g) of the 1999 as amended stated conditions under which defection is permissible as where there is division, merger or faction.
Although it would be difficult to prove there was division or faction in PDP as at the date of your action, it would also require some proving that there was no merger occasioned by MOU signed by some political parties (CUPP) to work together for which PDP was a leading party. Whether that translated to a merger can only be determined by the courts. Until then sir I think you should be left alone to go about your business.
Reason for Defection:
Sir you gave your reason for defection in very clear terms during your speech. Summarily you said it was necessary for you to join hands with PMB to move the country forward. Except if there was office of Co-president, I don’t think sir you must necessarily defect in order to cooperate with Mr. President. That presupposes a one-party state where everyone must belong to the same party before they can work together.
However, you made reference of the word “conspirator”. Maybe sir you believed the public may generally see your action as a betrayal or conspiracy. The question is, betrayal of who or conspiring against who?
“I will like to be a conspirator to conspire to bring peace to Nigeria; I will like to be a conspirator who join hands to bring food to the table of Nigerians …”
Conspiracy involves working in secret pursuant to certain objectives with some negative connotations. But on the lighter side people can also conspire to achieve some positive results.
If your reason as you said was to conspire with Mr President for national development in a multi-party democracy, I think the sir, with all due respect, you would have served President Buhari and indeed Nigeria better if you remained in PDP as Minority Leader as it were. Members of APC are already members of President Buhari’s choir. Joining them is just adding one more to the choir. Where the president needs conspiracy is with members of other parties especially the PDP. The principle of politics is lobbying. As a minority leader you would have been in a better position to lobby or even cajole your fellow PDP members to do more with the president under the terms of your “conspiracy” if you were still holding your position. Since it is a conspiracy, only you would know that you are on the side of Mr President. So when he sends bills and other request to the house no one would suspect you when you push it vigorously to go through.
Anything other than that is a selfish and “uncommon” conspiracy.
In your new situation, like any other senator, you have only one vote. And because of your present action, PDP which was your former constituency and even some APC senators may treat you with care. Forget the media hype. Your capacity to lobby anyone now hangs on a balance as everyone maybe unsure of your intentions. Therefore legislatively your usefulness to the president has diminished. Except there’s something else we don’t know.
This makes your reason doubtful and open to speculation. No wonder some speculated that you were under pressure from the presidency and had to bow for self preservation. I don’t want to join this school. However, let me leave that topic with a reminder, with all due respect sir, that you were until that decision, the highest elected member of PDP in the National Assembly. At least until Saraki’s defection to PDP. You were therefore the leader of OPPOSITION in the country – a man saddled with responsibility to checkmate the ruling party and balance the polity. By implication, you were the standard bearer of the healthy political tradition that defines PDP and has held this country together since 1999. Notwithstanding, attempts by some selfish individuals to bastardize its values through abuse of office and stealing etc. Those people most of whom form the core of APC today don’t represent PDP. They represent their greedy and selfish nature which is still on display in their present abode.
For you, I think that position was a great responsibility for a first timer in the senate. It was an honor beyond anything you have ever experienced. If indeed the ruling party made overtures to you, to join them it meant they appreciated your worth. It also meant God wanted to use you. That was a great opportunity for you to display political sagacity by joining them in principles. An opportunity to put a bridge across the aisles and dismantle the precipice that has bedeviled the National Assembly especially since the inception of this government and bring about an unrivaled legislative-executive and interparty connectivity which would result in cooperation and lasting progress. Not another boy-boy to the powers that be who takes sides where the field appears greener just for selfish purpose hiding under national interest. Not someone who allows his personal fears to override his sense of patriotism.
I knew you as a transformational leader not a transactional leader. What you have done seems transactional. It has no respect for the future of our democracy but to satisfy present exigencies and the powers that be. It is sad. My hope that one day you would go so far on the ladder to inspire national transformation with the same spirit you inspired the state seems deemed. Few may trust you now, even if you become senate president as we hear from grave vine. If you become Senate President, I expect a senate leader popularly voted and accepted across the aisles at this point in our history. Not some undemocratically and illegally foisted one. We have seen too many of that since 1999. None have served our purpose. We cant continue like that.
I know you as a man of duty and service. At a time the president of the country is still learning democracy, bowing on his feet is not service. He may have a good heart but wrong concept and perceptions as exemplified in his definition of the place of Rule of Law at the NBA conference. What you read in item 16 on the speech presented by Mr. President to meMbers of NBA on August 26, 2018 wasn’t an accident. It is what President Buhari believes and he is not alone. That has formed the hallmark of his presidency. It requires people of honor, people of courage, duty and selfless service to work across the aisles to checkmate him and his likes and build an enduring democracy. It doesn’t need cowards who chicken out at the slightest threat and take actions that help add more blocks to the wall of the executive – legislative interrelationships.
Therefore your present decision was not a defection but abdication of duty entrusted to you by this nation.
There is no implications however, beyond moral, something like honor. And honor is the least worry of any typical Nigerian leader. Especially in a country which is not only divided but has no respect for values and principles.
The shocking irony unfolding in your state of origin (Akwa Ibom) is a testimony to the dearth of values and principles in the Nigeria society. There were those who hated you with passion and left PDP solely for your sake. They ganged up since 2015 and formed themselves into APC for the sole purpose of bringing you down and every edifice and/or relationship you have built; be it political or social. They have been unrelenting hiring internet attack dogs, petitioners to EFCC and all manner of persons with nuisance values to pump negativity into your image. In every gathering they found themselves the agenda was always Akpabio.
Ironically you now share the same bed. And they come out cheering you and proclaiming your greatness in their lips. Same lips that cursed you.
How you cast your dice to navigate out of this situation will be of historical interest. More interesting would be if you offer yourself to these local political overlords as additional arsenal in their hands to help them achieve their long sought objectives. The objectives of paying you back while pretending to be clapping for and cheering you.