Former governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio, has said his heart was with Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 election and not with his party’s candidate, former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr Akpabio, who last month defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), made the disclosure after a meeting of the elders and leaders of Akwa Ibom State with Mr Buhari in the state house on Monday.
Mr Akpabio, until his defection, was a senate minority leader in the national assembly.
According to the reports by several media organisations including Vanguard and ThisDay, the senate minority leader said though his mind and soul were not with Mr Jonathan at the time.
He however said he was compelled to vote for him because Mr Jonathan is from the Niger Delta and he did not want to engage in anti-party activities as a PDP governor and also the chairman of PDP governors’ forum at the time.
However, Mr Akpabio said now that he finally belongs to where his soul and spirit were in 2015, he could freely express his interest at the 2019 polls without fear or favour.
“In 2015, we had a son of the Niger Delta, former President Goodluck Jonathan, contesting the election and I was also a chieftain of the PDP. I was also the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum. So, in spite of the fact that I believed strongly that the current president needed to be supported, there was no way I could play anti-party activity in 2015. So, I voted for PDP,” he was quoted as saying.
Taking a swipe at his former party, Mr Akpabio alleged that throughout the PDP’S 16 years in office at the federal level, there was not a one kilometre road project by the federal government in the state.
He said Akwa Ibom State would be the first state to be won by the APC in the South-south at the forthcoming 2019 general election, adding that Mr Buhari will win the state by landslide.
“But today, I am at liberty to exercise my franchise and that means I am with my body and soul – that is, with my supporters and my family – and as a leader, we are going out there en masse, in our thousands to cast our votes for the president in 2019 and I am saying this with emphasis,” he said.
He described the current PDP in the state as a mere empty party whose body and soul had moved to the APC, disclosing that no fewer than 266,000 persons had also dumped the PDP for APC since his defection.
According to him, no single indigene of South-south will vote against Mr Buhari in 2019 neither will there be any defection from APC that can affect the chances of the party in the forthcoming elections.
“I can predict that the first state in Nigeria to fall to the APC in 2019 presidential election is Akwa Ibom State. No one can controvert this. l still speak with authority because I have my people’s backing to pronounce what I have just pronounced. Victory is for APC and victory is for Mr President, come 2019 in Akwa Ibom State,” Mr Akpabio said.
Mr Akpabio who said he begged Mr Buhari to be part of his recent trip to Beijing, China, said it was there in China that the plan to hold yesterday’s meeting with Mr Buhari was hatched.
In the delegation were former Petroleum Minister, Don Etiebet; APC governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom in 2015, Umana Umana; former deputy governor of the state, Nsima Nkere; Otoekong Jackson, Sunny Udoh, Eseme Oyibo, national assembly members, among others.