By Robinson T. Sibe
In Nigerian Politics, nothing surprises me. Therefore, I’m not surprised by the news of his likely defection. Akpabio is a big masquerade in his state. His departure will therefore come with an impact. In this post, I’ll attempt to look at the impact matrix; from this, the politicians can plot the mitigation measures.
POSITIVE IMPACT (APC)
(1) At a time the Party is terribly hemorrhaging, Akpabio’s signing will be a gain. First, it’ll provide the party with some measure of media latitude. His capture is good for morale and for propaganda. He’ll make a good spectacle, and has the personality to dominate the headline in at least 3 days. Like the good orator he is, he will take to the stage. But, whether his people can understand his rapid conversion from the evangelical message, to the new sermon of a change he preached against, is another thing altogether.
(2) The South-South is an area of great concern for the party. Even a die-hard APC Supporter in his closet will admit to what a bad brand their party is, in this part. Akpabio commands (or used to command) a sizable good will in his state, therefore his capture will boost the fortunes of the party in his state.
(3) Akpabio has been minority leader of the Senate. That makes him a principal officer and leader in the PDP. Any man of his statue defecting, will clearly have an impact. Politics is a game of momentum. At the time the momentum was swinging consistently against the APC, his capture will be good to halt the massive decline in fortunes.
NEGATIVE IMPACT (APC)
(1) I said on Air about 3 weeks back that Akpabio is one of the worst minority leaders I’ve seen. He was flat as a minority leader. For the entire 3 years in the senate in that capacity, I can’t recall him making any spirited debate in that regard. The likes of Senator Abaribe did far better, even without such official title. Even APC Senators like Dino did more opposition work than him, even while in the ruling party. Therefore, from a parliamentary perspective, he won’t be a loss to his party. Apart from being part of the statistic, not sure he’ll be missed. His departure will give the PDP, that is if they are in minority, to elect a more vocal and active minority leader.
(2) In his native state, he comes from the Minority Anang, while the serving Governor is from the majority. I’m not sure the Governor’s people will abandon him in the middle of his first term. You know how strong cultural and ethnographic factors are in the Politics of this part.
(3) Secondly, his defection will likely unsettle the hitherto equilibrium in APC Akwa Ibom. It follows through from Le Chatellier’s Principle that if a constraint is applied to a system in equilibrium, the equilibrium point will shift to counteract the constraint. They will not surrender their all to their once bitter rival.
(4) Thirdly, the balance sheet size of Akwa Ibom State is such that you can’t ignore any serving Governor of the State. Politicians follow the money. Recent events have also showed the electorates follow the money too. He can’t match the Governor in this regard.
(5) Finally, the last three years have witnessed an intensive smear campaign against his person, by the APC. He was called all sorts of names by the APC. He was made to look like the personification of the wasteful years of the PDP. To now turn back to roll a red carpet for him is the final evidence for those who were still in doubt that there was no ideology all along. By the wave of the broom, he’s been beatified. Integrity is now naked! What a sin thing!
Robinson T. Sibe is a Political Strategist, Software Engineer and Geospatial Expert.