THIS WIND OF DEFECTION: AKPABIO IN FOCUS
By Emmanuel Ahanonu, Enugu. email@example.com
Defections in modern Nigeria: the wind is high and on. But it is not a new wind.
Since its introduction into Nigeria lexicon via the old Western Region House of Assembly, it has come to stay. Although, it all started as a mere Obafemi Awolowo Action Group (AG) gimmick to outwit Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik) National Council of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC) which got majority in both Eastern and Western Houses; that meant that Zik would have superintended both Eastern and Western regions Houses of Assembly. But as the wind of existing ethnic politics which was officiated by the 1946 Richard constitution was still glowing, Awolowo would dare not allow an Igbo Zik to take over his Yoruba House.
To allow Awolowo gain majority in the House, the literary bar which demarcated the House membership according to their political parties was lowered so that people can move over to the other side without hindrance. Accordingly, Awolowo succeeded in getting majority of the House membership but not without introducing an alien cross-carpeting or defection construct.
Today, cross-carpeting or defections seem to be synonymous with Nigeria legislature, especially since its fourth republic. Credence is now laid on the 1999 constitution (as amended) which allows for defection provided there is provable crack in the political party that sponsored such law maker or representative.
What is news is not the pace or rate of defections but the circumstances surrounding these defections. The allegations is gaining currency that these defectors cross-carpet for personal aggrandizement than the wishes of their electorates.
It is in the light of the above that some concern youths who felt shortchanged by their leaders defections has cried foul, few are threatening taking it up with their representative should they not retrace their step and end what they termed political strumpeting.
Views of some youths who have strongly condemned their representative defection or defection plans was sampled
The former National President of Niger Delta Students Union Government NIDSUG Obada Akpomie is one of the vociferous persons threatening taking up the issue against the erstwhile Governor of Akwa Ibom state (Sen. Godswill Akpabio) who is being fingered to be on this defection boat. Obada believe that Akpabio’s defection will not only be most selfish defection but a bad precedence that may affect the South-South zone for the rest of her political history.
When asked if Akpabio’s case is not the same as that of Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi who defected as a serving South-South governor, Obada said that Amaechi’s move was a matter of political exigency for the interest of his people who were being shortchanged by the government at the center irrespective of verisimilitude of their political affiliation. Adding that Akpabio’s case displayed the naked truth of the length an alleged corrupt politician can go to cover up his ill-acquired wealth; alleging that Akpabio was threatened by security agencies into planning to defect to APC lest his loots got exposed. He however hinted on the possibility of a Niger Delta youth movement he is championing with others to take up political betrayals like Akpabio.
Similarly, Amb. S. A Lukman, a former National President of National Association of Polytechnic Students NAPS, and one of the contenders of just concluded NANS election posited that it is very unfortunate that there is no longer morality in our politics, our politician actions are solely frivolities. Luckman said that “this is a testimony of how selfish our politicians are. They are not defecting because people are being owe salaries in various states, not because of herdsmen menace, bandit rampages in various Northern states, neither are they defecting because of Boko Haram that are still killing in North – East.
Speaking about Akpabio’s defection, Lukman acknowledged that “it is very bad that Akpabio who is vocal in both his state and senate should stoop to this degenerated state”. Adding that “APC is a hideout for criminal!. Akpabio should pay for his sins and stop hiding under APC to shield his loot as being alleged. They told us they have repented like our president claimed to have changed to a democrat but they have all fail us.
“Akpabio has failed the youth. It is very unfortunate that after his perceived good works in Akwa Ibom State where he works plenty and stole plenty. This is very bad for Nigeria youths, very bad to students, and masses condemn it in its entirety. He has no excuse
“For those who are promising Senate presidency to Akpabio, he should know that it is only God that gives positions. Nigeria politicians should be mindful of their actions so that this country will remember them for good, for their goodwill and interest in building of this country through their deeds and actions.
However, there is indicator that some youths of the region that Akpabio is representing may soon take to the street and cause some uproar as hinted by Comrade Godwin Ovuonaraire who was the former National president of National Association of Delta Students NADELSTU.
According to Godwin, Godswill Akpabio’s defection is not justifiable from any standard as there is no crisis currently in PDP. He said that Akpabio’s issues with EFCC shouldn’t have even made a wise Akpabio to defect to APC. He cited instance of former Governor Joshua Daire and Orji Uzor Kalu who are both members of APC but are still being prosecuted by their party machineries, “so there is no guarantee that Godswill will not be prosecuted.
He added that “if Godswill is moving to APC because of EFCC case, then, it is selfish of him. His people will take it up. This is the worst form of deceit. We, youths from the zone will resist it. I’m confident of that. We the South-South youths are having a lot in the offing to resist such anti-people decision. You don’t just come to a people, sell a particular political ideology to them and they bought it only for you to win their vote and abandon them midway without considering their emotions. This is the first time such is happening in South-South zone.
When reminded that there has been other defections from PDP to APC in recent time, he acknowledge it but noted that such only happened when PDP as a party was having issues and as such the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended covers such defectors. He finally hinted that whether PDP take up the issue against Akpabio if he eventually defect or not, the youth of the region will set the record straight through the actions they will take to serve as a deterrence against others from the zone who may someday decide to trade via that ugly road.
Meanwhile, while the wind of change is still blowing many card carrying members of various political parties across other parties, a University of Nigeria Nsukka professor of political science (Prof. Aloysius Okolie) has described it as healthy for Nigeria political growth if the people will utilize its positive side and grow fast to political maturity.
Many other youths of the region who spoke to our reporter are all venting their anger while alleging that Akpabio defection is just a ploy to move his file from EFCC desk into a production cow to be milked during the 2019 elections rather than the interest of his people he is representing.