After the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum (PDPGF) was formed in February last year, Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio, who emerged as its chairman, rationalised its existence, saying that it was meant to fight the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC).
Akpabio said the forum’s strategy was to have continued interaction within the party with a view to building synergy. Soon after its formation, the forum delved into the crises in the South West PDP chapter and the Adamawa chapter.
Rivers State Governor Romiti Amaechi and the PDP governors that voted for him in the NGF election were bitter over the way then-National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, had handled the crisis in various state chapters of the party, particularly Rivers and Adamawa states. Angered by what they termed Tukur’s impunity and high handedness in the running of the PDP, they pressed for his removal. This did not happen and so they initially led their supporters to break out of the PDP to form New PDP before eventually defecting to the APC.
Beyond the speculated vice presidential ambition of Amaechi, which gave rise to the perceived antagonism between him and President Jonathan, some political watchers question the role played by Akpabio in the PDP hydra-headed crisis. Cynics say that driven by personal ambition, he found himself in rivalry with Amaechi as the Akwa Ibom governor was thought to be eyeing the vice presidential slot just like Amaechi.
Today, with the passage of each day, the politics of Akwa Ibom State appears to be creeping into the running of the PDPGF as it now seems that Apkabio is utilising it for self-preservation. Armed with his chairmanship of the PDPGF, he commands enormous influence within the national hierarchy of the PDP and can certainly use the position to get what he wants as far as Akwa Ibom State PDP is concerned. The consequence is that there will be no level playing ground for his rivals within the party at that level.
His argument that the PDPGF was formed to neutralise the APC may be valid but what observers are saying now is that Governor Jonah Jang’s faction of the NGF, the one recognised by the Presidency, also serves the purpose of neutralising the schemes of the opposition in virtually the same way. The possibility of overlap in their functions raises the question of the necessity for two organs with similar attributes at the same time.
Plot 323 Cadastral Zone,