The Real Reason Alhaji Tambuwal Visited Akpabio in Uyo
When the media asked Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal why he visited Uyo, this is what he told them: “that he was in Uyo to consult the governor on issues that bother on national interest, commending Governor Akpabio for the development strides and for playing significant role in the stability of Akwa Ibom and the entire country.”
The Alhaji, who had been on a pilgrimage to Mecca and is the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Assembly, was telling lies.
Ask anyone in Akwa Ibom State where Akpabio could easily be seen by any dignitary who is interested in meeting him, he or she will be directed to Abuja, which is where Akpabio actually lives. So, if Alhaji Tambuwal really wanted to visit Akpabio or consult with him on any matter concerning the party, the State, or the nation, the Honorable Speaker didn't need to visit Uyo for an “informal visit” with Godswill Akpabio; all of such transactions could have taken place in right Abuja.
The real reason Alhaji Tambuwal visited Uyo was to collect money from Akpabio. Here is why.
Ever since the formation and approval of the APC party, there have been rumors upon rumors that Alhaji Tambuwal may defect and join APC. In fact recently, reports in the national dallies have mentioned the possibility that APC may actually pencil him down as its presidential candidate for the 2015 presidential race.
The PDP party hierarchy knows that the defection of Alhaji Tambuwal to APC may be a blow that could turn out to become the proverbial last straw which the Carmel could not take. To stop him from defecting, something has to be done. And the fastest thing to do is to send the Hon. Speaker to Akpabio in Uyo so that Akpabio could “treat” him in a way which only Akpabio is known for; pay-off the Speaker with amount of money which he would be stupid to reject, hence, his visit to Uyo.
It is not known if Alhaji Tambuwal succumbed to the pressure, or if he actually collected money from Akpabio. But sources from those who work at the airport have confirmed how they noticed bags and bags of what they suspected to be hoards of money in the entourage of the Speaker when he left Uyo to Abuja.
Akpabio's behavior may come as a surprise to those who are not from Akwa Ibom State. But in Akwa Ibom, the indigenes are used to watching this type of activities on a regular basis. If Alhaji Tambuwal left Uyo with money, as suspected, it is very likely that the presidency and the top echelon of PDP are aware of it. However, it is not clear if such money were contributions from other sources or solely from the treasury of Akwa Ibom State.
When I discussed this issue with an insider who lives in Uyo, this is what he told me: “Tell me which other State, other than Akwa Ibom, would have the money to pay Tambuwal. Tell me which governor would have the money to spare PDP to pay Tambuwal in order to stop him from defecting? My brother, if any money is involved, which I think it was, I can bet you that it is all Akwa Ibom money.”
The pay-off Tambuwal is a reminder of what happened after the 2011 gubernatorial election when Akpabio spent billions of naira to bribe the judges, the effect of which the people of Akwa Ibom State are suffering till this day.
Without the risk of sounding like a broken a record, it is shameful that while workers are still owed salaries, while contractors are still not paid, while interest rates on external debts are accumulating, and while the people are in excruciating and grinding poverty, Akpabio is still irresponsibly giving away the people's money and regaling himself in the politics of Ghana-Must-Go.
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
City of Portland, Oregon