By Emmnuel Aziken
Senator Godswill Akpabio will this weekend be reflecting on the uncommon bump that has recently rocked his political stability.
Not since 2002 when he began his uninterrupted fairytale political adventure has Akpabio been smacked in the way he was by the Port Harcourt Girl!
As Governor Nyesom Wike confessed on Thursday after ‘rescuing’ Ms. Joi Nunieh from the policemen that laid siege to her Port-Harcourt residence, the erstwhile managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC is not the normal Port-Harcourt girl.
She is also or had until recently been President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘girl.’ Those in the know talk of a family relationship that has lasted years.
The relationship even survived a brief stray by Joi in working for another Port-Harcourt girl, Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke when the later was minister of Petroleum Resources.
When Mrs. Aisha Buhari was away for months after the 2019 election, Joi was one of the few who knew her itinerary and was by her side when she returned last October.
She was the lady on the right when the First Lady gave those hot salvos against Oga Mamman Daura at the airport.
So, when for whatever reason Ms. Nunieh was named into the board to represent Rivers State on the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and she refused to go for the Senate screening, people knew that there was something bigger coming her way.
Eventually, she was named as managing director of a yet legally inchoate Interim Management Committee of the NDDC.
Despite campaigns against the IMC from high quarters, Ms. Nunieh being a member of the family knew the direction and went the way.
Akpabio was with her to that point. By partnering with her or using her, the former Akwa Ibom State governor some claim was hoping to raise his political ascendancy in the South-South above his contemporaries.
Whatever, the two of them were together in suppressing the proposed board that was partly packaged by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole among others.
It would be a shock if Akpabio did not know of the relationship between Joi and the Buhari family. If true, then he may be excused on account of the fact that he only joined the All Progressives Congress, APC in 2018.
But if he did and made the demands either financial or sexual as claimed by Joi, then he would have then knowingly courted trouble.
However, unlike Akpabio’s tale of ‘four former husbands,’ some former female friends also talk of a woman with temper. One former female friend has described her as temperamental.
So, whatever was his purpose in partnering with her, Akpabio may now be regretting his decision. If he wanted to use the NDDC to gain dominance in the Niger Delta region, stepping on Buhari’s girl would have been foolhardy.
It is interesting that in the midst of all the innuendo, name calling and political subterfuge that has shadowed the NDDC brouhaha since last year that one name has been exceptionally missing.
Rotimi Amaechi, perhaps the only top player to have outlasted Akpabio in the political arena in the Niger Delta has been exceptionally quiet. One source told your correspondent that this is about the only time since the creation of the NDDC that Amaechi has not had a role in the formation of the board.
Of course, after eight years as Speaker and another eight years as governor he would have known Joi the Port-Harcourt Girl. He as a top confidante of the president would also have known her relationship with the First Family.
It is still left to the imagination why he has been quiet on the NDDC and not associated with either of the two major camps in the region on the issue.
Political observers in the Niger Delta had of course known that in the last few months, Akpabio, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh and their close associates had been in open warfare with Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole among others over control of the NDDC.
Amaechi has carefully removed himself from the melee watching the two camps do mortal damage on one another as the political fallouts percolate across local, regional and national levels.
One particular spinoff at the local level is the reported feud between Senator Peter Nwaoboshi and Dr. Ojougboh. It is no secret that both men are in contest for the All Progressives Congress, APC senatorial ticket for 2023. Both men are shadow boxing ahead of the contest against the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s presumed nominee, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
One lesson Akpabio would have to learn is President Buhari’s big heart in accommodating friends, family and loyal aides. If you are not in that bracket and you cross the line you are in trouble.
The man who announced Senator Akpabio defection from the PDP two years ago, was Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, formerly the special assistant to the president on prosecutions. How he came about playing a major role in Akpabio’s defection is left to the imagination. When his time expired and his trouble came, he ran away out of the country.
When Joi in the opinion of Akpbaio was accused of indiscretion as MD of the NDDC, the worst was her demotion as she was still named in the IMC.
However, for Akpabio if it is proved that he trespassed as Joi alleges, there certainly would be uncommon consequences!