Jerome Nwanta

Sunday 28 April 2019 was a politically glorious day for the APC in south-south of Nigeria as it witnessed what would be described as a re-connect between the Minister for Transport and former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi and the Senator for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District, former Senate Minority leader and former Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

The meeting which took place at the private residence of a chieftain of the party, Nasiru Danu in Abuja, on Sunday, was aimed at strengthening APC and settling differences that existed between the Minister and the Senator. A source has confirmed that the meeting was intended to be a secret meeting at the instance of the senator who had approached a well placed personality within the Presidency to broker a meeting between him and the minister in his (Akpabio’s) interest stating that he would do anything to be in the President’s good books, including prostrating for Amaechi. It is gathered that the release by Keyamo, SAN is a damage control reaction to the threat by this yet unknown peronality to expose the meeting as Akpabio later went ahead to have the meeting, as inspired by Keyamo, SAN without recourse to him.

On the cause of the lingering rift now possibly settled, recall that they had been an existing cold war between the duo since the issues sorrounding the leadership of the Governor’s Forum in 2013. The then governor’s forum became divided under the leadership of the minister over crisis that had Akpabio’s signature and Akpabio pushed for and became the pioneer chairman of PDP Governor’s forum, the act which many political commentators had described as one of the most crude political moves of the century and is today still referenced as one of the principal cause of President Jonathan’s failure at the 2015 polls. A source from the presidency who pleaded anonymity also revealed that the Minister had been livid since the day Akpabio jumped ship to the APC and in total denigration to his position in the party suddenly started addressing himself as the leader of the party in the south-south. Again, with Akpabio’s defeat at the polls, insinuations has been that Akpabio is plotting to assume Kyari’s office as the Chief of staff to the President, a rumour that does not sit well with Amaechi. It has been gathered that the minister has made his stands clear that if such happens, he will not only reject his appointment as a minister but will pull away his weight from the APC and work against the party. Putting one and two together, one may say that it has been Akpabio hurting Amaechi all the while and the minister may have been justified in his enemy stands against the senator.

All that seems to have been sorted now furtherance to the meeting as reported.
According to Festus Keyamo, SAN both chiefs of the party promised to close ranks and work in unison for the overall interest of the party in the country. The statement made available to the press read thus in part;

“Sunday, April 14, 2019, marked a new chapter of cooperation within the APC family as two frontline leaders of APC from the South-South region, the Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and former minority leader of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio met each other to iron out their perceived political differences”.

The meeting, our correspondents gathered was at the instance of Senator Godwill Akpabio and was brokered by two chieftains of the Party, Alhaji Nasiru Danu, (the Dan Amarna of Dutse) and Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN. At the meeting, Senator Akpabio willingly ceded the title and functions of the leader of the APC in the south-south to Amaechi and pleaded with him, on bended knees to look away from the happenings of the past. In his plea, Senator Akpabio reminded the minister that both of them were friends during his (Amaechi’s) court case while struggling to be Governor of Rivers through the court. He made particular reference to the fact that the bullet proof car that drove Amaechi before his swearing-in as Governor of Rivers state was his (Akpabio’s) own and they had been friends for as long as he could remember before he (Akpabio) made some wrong choices politically.

Akpabio also accused Mr Nsima Ekere, the Gubernatorial candidate of the APC in Akwa Ibom state in the 2019 elections of being the reason for the initial fracas between the duo as Mr Ekere, while serving as Deputy Governor under Senator Akpabio was having clandestine meetings with Amaechi on how to unseat Akpabio . He also said that it was alleged at the time that Amaechi was the main financier of Nsima’s bid to take over the Governorship seat from Akpabio. This, he said eventually became the principal reason he wanted Mr Ekere impeached.

In the friendly conversations after the reconciliation, Akpabio expressed gratitude over the reconciliation and expressed confidence that with Amaechi on his side he will certainly win his case at the Court of Appeal. He also expressed confidence with the constitution of the tribunal, claiming that he has two of them on his side already and that he’s still working on the last one .

How long this relationship will last is what we cannot say but as at today, Akpabio and Amaechi are one.

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