GOA, August 8 and the verdict of history
On this day last year, Senator Godswill Akpabio took an uncommon decision by leaving his comfort zone ( he had earlier resigned as the Minority Leader of the 8th Senate) by leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join the All Progressives Congress (APC.)
This was one decision that took the political space like a thunderstorm. Many people could not fathom why he will abandon the PDP, a party he had worked so had to build to take a dive into the unknown.
At several fora he had explained that the uncommon movement was in the national interest and a route to linking his people to the centre. Even while he was in the PDP, Senator Akpabio had espoused the belief that it is not in the interest of Akwa Ibom State to play opposition politics. The State stood to gain more by being with the ruling party at the centre.
Many politicians in Nigeria, including a Vice-President, Senate President, Senators, Members of the House of Representative, Governors and others have at one time or the other cross carpeted and the country moved on. Not so with the movement of Senator Akpabio. Those who felt he had no right to determine his political destiny and he should have been around to bottle feed them politically made him the object of attack till date.
Without a doubt the movement from the PDP to the APC has cost Senator Akpabio a lot. But with the benefit of hindsight, there’s absolutely no regret about the decision he took. I am sure that if the same scenarios were to present themselves again, he would have still chosen to swim against the tide. That is the stuff great men are made of.
Today, Senator Akpabio is at the election petition tribunal to retrieve the mandate that was given to him by the people of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District. Many people have suggested that since he has been appointed a Minister by President Muhammadu Buhari he should relinquish the mandate or withdraw the case at the tribunal.
Well the case at the tribunal is not about Senator Akpabio. It is about the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District and to prove the point of who actually won the election. After that Senator Akpabio will consult with the people and decide what to do with the mandate. The people on the other side should not bother unnecessarily what he intends to do if he wins at the tribunal.
It may not be obvious to the politically myopic but many years from now I am sure posterity will be kind to Senator Akpabio and will judge him as a great patriot who had the interest of his people at heart.
Undoubtedly, August 8 will remain a date that the political foundation of Akwa Ibom State was shaken by the uncommon defection of Senator Akpabio. Like him or hate him, he remains a political colossus.
The dividends of that movement has started yielding and very soon Akwa Ibom people will thank God that Senator Akpabio took the decision he took even though some people did not like it.