PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has been asked not to appoint former senate minority leader and Akwa Ibom State governor Senator Godswill Akpabio to a ministerial job because he will have a negative influence due to his past antecedents.
Senator Akpabio, who governed Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015, is regarded as a very robust and authoritarian character who does not tolerate dissent. After serving as governor for eight years, he was elected as the senator representing Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District and subsequently became the senate minority leader.
Last year, however, Senator Akpabio shocked the political establishment when he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). However, he failed in his bid to retain his senate seat as an APC candidate, which ended his bid to become senate president.
With President Buhari expected to name his new cabinet soon, the Ibom Integrity and Servant Leadership Culture Initiative has asked him not to appoint Senator Akpabio into any position. Dr Asuquo Edidem Etim, the group’s vice president, said it stands by its earlier petition to the president, stressing that its complaint echoes the inner thoughts of many members of APC in Akwa Ibom and the south-south.
Dr Etim said: “Our key interest in this regard is to ensure that President Buhari’s second tenure is remarkably better than the previous one, essentially by the choice of personnel he recruits to assist him to actualise his Next Level programmes. The few controversies around his government in the first term, as we noted in our letter, were apparently as a result of the unethical or insensitive actions of some of the former ministers, whose conducts were contrary to Mr President’s renowned discipline and conservative nature.
“Senator Akpabio came into the All Progressives Congress with no recognisable political structure. It should have been expected that a politician of that stature would be able to at least command the loyalty and following of at least half of the members of the house of assembly but he came almost empty-handed with a lot of distracting noise.
“The three members that later joined him came with a huge baggage of controversy that rubbed off on the party negatively. He couldn’t even convince his own cousin who was a commissioner in the state to join him, the situation was that bad.
“So, when PDP cleared all the 13 National Assembly seats, including his own, won 20 of the 21 House of Assembly seats in the state and retained the governorship, it became very clear that we had actually overrated his electoral value and influence. The huge repugnance against the person of Akpabio and his politics robbed the party of its popularity and victory.”