|Senate Minority Leader|
Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio has incurred the wrath of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) colleagues in the Senate over what senators of the PDP have reportedly described as Akpabio’s involvement in “anti-party activities”.
According to an informed source who did not want to be named, trouble began for Akpabio when he was spotted two weeks ago, during a secret visit to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Akpabio, the source disclosed on Wednesday, had paid a secret visit to Tinubu at his Bourdillon Lagos residence but was sighted by some individuals who instantly alerted the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu. Ekweremadu, by virtue of his position is currently the highest-ranking PDP member within the Nigerian government. Worried by the report of Akpabio’s visit to Tinubu, Ekweremadu immediately confronted Akpabio.
According to the source, Akpabio dismissed the matter casually, saying he visited Tinubu over some “personal issues.” Akpabio’s attitude was said to have infuriated Ekweremadu and the matter quickly escalated to the entire PDP caucus in the Senate.
“The whole thing did not go down well with Ekweremadu and the PDP caucus in the Senate who were concerned that their Leader in the Senate who should be actively engaged with providing leadership and a voice for the PDP opposition is busy hobnobbing, not just with the ruling party but one of its most influential chieftains who played a key role in providing the funding, structure and media propaganda that kicked the PDP out of power in 2015 after 16 years. To make matters worse, Akpabio did not show any sign of remorse in the way he has gone about the issue. PDP senators are angry with him and are now making moves already for his removal”, the source said.
Further checks revealed that the timing of Akpabio’s visit to Tinubu further worsened matters for the former Governor of Akwa-Ibom State. Recall that just last week, the PDP caucus in the Senate declared that it was withdrawing support from the government of President Muhammadu Buhari over the increasing persecution of leading PDP opposition members nationwide under the guise of fighting corruption. According to reports available, PDP Senators are concerned that Akpabio of all people is the one visiting Tinubu at a time the PDP Senators had just declared war on Buhari’s government.
In a similar development, a top PDP chieftain who did not want to be named has said Wednesday that Akpabio has disappointed many PDP members over his lackluster approach to his responsibilities as the Senate Minority Leader.
“He hardly comes to the Senate, and even when he shows up, he doesn’t make significant contributions. It’s as if the PDP does not even have a voice in the Senate. When last did you hear Akpabio move any motion on any serious matter or sponsor a bill? When last did he issue a statement over the persecution and oppression of opposition members like Fayose, Femi-Fani-Kayode, Omisore, Olisa Metuh and many others who are under attack by the Buhari administration? And he’s supposed to be our Leader in the Senate? This is not good enough at all. They have been in the Senate for the last one year. Is this how we are going to play opposition? We need a Leader in the Senate who can speak for us. Not someone with baggage or someone who cannot talk for fear of EFCC prosecution”, the source said.
Efforts to reach Senator Akpabio as at press time proved abortive, as his phone line was switched off