Former Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio said yesterday he joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) “in the national interest” and because President Muhammadu Buhari “is a man of integrity and a nationalist’’.
The 55-year-old former Akwa Ibom State governor gave other reasons why he joined the ruling party as the need to put all hands on the deck to salvage the situation in the country and not to aggravate it,” adding that “the country is at war … and everyone should put heads together. I decided to join to emancipate the people and provide succour for the people.”
He said the nationalist instinct in him also informed his decision at a time the nation needed peace to grapple with pressing challenges.
“I decided to join the APC at this time because I am a nationalist. In times like this, everybody should support to bring peace to our dear nation; to stop the killings and ensure employment for our teeming youths.
“With my declaration, uncommon change has come to Akwa Ibom. We believe that Southsouth cannot stand alone on its own.
“We need to collaborate with others. I consulted. What I have done today is to take the people of the Southsouth to the centre.
“Whatever I do is in the interest of of Akwa Ibom. I want to leave a legacy in the national interest.
He also urged his former party to have what he called a reward system.
“With my exit, this is the end of PDP in Niger Delta’’.
He also urged Nigerians to believe in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Do not be afraid of President Muhammadu Buhari. If your hands are clean. Nigerians have not seen the best of Buhari; so give him the chance.’’
He spoke at a rally at the Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium that joining the APC would enable him have the opportunity to work with others to sweep away poverty and impunity. The broom is the APC’s symbol.
He said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of today had no vision and the leadership is arrogance.
Akpabio said all hands must be on deck to salvage the situation.
“I will like to be a conspirator to conspire to bring peace to Nigeria; I will like to be a conspirator who joins hands to bring food to the table of Nigerians. I will like to be a conspirator who conspires to stop the killings in our country. I will like to be a conspirator who conspires to join hands to bring good employment to our children. I will like to be a conspirator who brings uncommon transformation to the people of Nigeria. I will like to be a conspirator who dualised road from here (Ikot Ekpene) to Aba.
“I do not want to be a conspirator who joins hands to topple government. I do not want to talk about Akwa Ibom State, because I am here on a national platform, but I will like to tell you something today. This is the moment of uncommon change. Uncommon change has come to Akwa Ibom State. Uncommon change has come to South south. Uncommon change has come to Niger Delta.
“Some people are saying that they put a gun on my head. I have a young man here who wrote a lot of petitions against me to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Those petitions were sorted out and as I stand before you, I have never been charged to court, because nothing was found wanting in my covenant to Akwa Ibom people.
“The Southsouth as a minority zone cannot stand on its own. The Southsouth as the largest producer of the resources of this country should also partake in the sharing of the resources. What I have done today (yesterday) is to link the Southsouth to the centre. What I have done today (yesterday) is to link Akwa Ibom to the centre.
Akpabio also apologised to all the people he had offended, who were in the APC before he arrived, asking them to kindly forgive him, stressing that whatever he did was in the interest of the good people of Akwa Ibom state.
He accused Senator Ben Murray-Bruce of lying against him, on his alleged presence at the National Assembly on Monday.