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We never knew Akpabio was going to meet Buhari – PDP

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The Peoples Democratic Party said it was not aware that the Senate Minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio , was going to London where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday .Rather, it said the former governor of Akwa Ibom State told members of the party’ s National Working Committee that he was on his way to Germany .
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan , who stated this in Abuja on Monday , said the party was not aware of Akpabio ’ s planned defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress .

He said the minority leader of the Senate could have had what he called “ technical stopover ” in London .

Ologbondiyan said , “ He told us he was going to Germany and if he ended up in London , maybe, he had a technical stopover .

“ The PDP has no issues with Akpabio whatsoever and the party will not respond to speculations of his readiness to defect . We have no notice of the said defection and all I can say now is that we will cross the bridge when we get there . ”

Investigations by one of our correspondents showed that the rumour of Akpabio ’ s planned defection had been rife within the national leadership of the PDP , including the governors .

It was gathered that one of the governors , name withheld, from the southern part of the country had openly accused Akpabio of hobnobbing with the ruling party at the residence of the Deputy President of the Senate , Senator Ike Ekweremadu , recently .

The event was said to have happened when the leaders of the party visited Ekweremadu as a result of a siege laid to his house by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission recently.

The governor , according to a top -ranking member of the PDP , openly confronted Akpabio and demanded explanations why he had allegedly been meeting secretly with leaders of the APC .

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The source said , “ We were all surprised with the governor from the southern part of the country , who accused him ( Akpabio ) of playing a double game . He asked why Akpabio had refused to speak out for the party of recent and why he had been absent at party’ s events.

“ We all knew that Akpabio was actually meeting with APC leaders at night , and laughing with us during the day . But we didn ’ t know how to handle it .
“ Akpabio , however , refused to speak to the governor . Rather, he was just smiling , even though he seemed not to be enjoying the talk .

“ The DSP ( Ekweremadu ) tried to calm the said governor down , but you know he is very outspoken . He said it without fear or favour, that he knew that he was saying . ”

It was also gathered that the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, had tried to dissuade Akpabio from joining the APC .

Secondus, it was gathered, met with the former governor on many occasions , assuring him of the love of the party for him and that he ( Akpabio ) remained a ranking member of the party .

A source privy to the meeting said , “ Secondus had met with him on many occasions when the rumour started filtering in .

“ Though the former governor complained about the treatment he was said to be getting from his successor , Udom Emmanuel , he was asked to tarry , that the PDP would intervene . ”

It was also learnt that the Governor of Rivers State , Chief Nyesom Wike , was also involved in the negotiation with Akpabio .

“ Wike spoke with him on many occasions as well . He asked him to shelve the idea and cooperate with him and others to reposition the PDP to win the elections. Unfortunately , he seems not to have been persuaded by all the talks . ”

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Meanwhile , some members of the party in Akwa Ibom State said that Akpabio ’ s defection into the APC might not be unconnected with the case he had with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

A source , who did not want to be named , told one of our correspondents that apart from the EFCC issue, Akpabio also had issues with the state governor , especially on a single term .

They said Akpabio had made a deal with the governor that he would spend a single term before the position would move to another area in the state .

According to them , the agreement spelt out a single term for the governor , adding that the second term was supposed to go for someone from the Oron ethnic nationality .

The sources noted that in order for Akpabio to settle some scores with Emmanuel , he had to leave the PDP with his supporters to stop the governor ’ s second term bid .
“ His reason was also that the EFCC has been on his neck for a very long time . The other reason , which I think may not be so cogent , is allowing a person from Oron ethnic nationality to go for the second term instead of the present governor , ” a source said .

A former Minister of Lands , Housing and Urban Development , Chief Essien Nduese , said Akpabio had not told him or any other persons why he was leaving the party for the APC .

He noted that the former governor had had cause to complain to people without solid reasons .

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