Former Akwa Ibom Governor, Godswill Akpabio on Tuesday emerged Chairman of the Tenth National Assembly. On this edition of Parliament Fact File, we trace his background and journey into politics leading to his emergence as Nigeria’s number three citizen
- Born on 9th December, 1962 in Ukana, Ikot Ntuen, Essien Udim Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State.
- He bagged a degree in Law from the University of Calabar, Cross River State and is an Alumnus of the Nigerian Law School, Lagos.
- After his stint as an Associate with Paul Usoro and Co., a law firm in Nigeria, he went on to EMIS Telecoms Limited, where he rose to become Managing Director.
JOURNEY INTO POLITICS
- Between 2002 and 2006, he served as Commissioner under the administration of Obong Victor Attah in Akwa Ibom State (1999 – 2007). He was first appointed Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources and later served as Commissioner for Lands and Housing, as well as Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
- He ran for the governorship of his state in 2007, under the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and won. He later ran for a second term in 2011 and was re-elected.
- In 2013, he emerged as the Pioneer Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party Governors Forum (PDP-GF); until the end of his tenure as Governor in 2015.
- He ran for the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District (Ikot Ekpene) seat in the National Assembly and won after defeating his close opponent, Inibehe Okorie of the All Progressives Party (APC).
- In July 2015, following his nomination by PDP South-South Caucus, he was appointed by his party’s Caucus as the Senate Minority Leader despite being a first-term Senator.
- He resigned his position as Minority Leader of the Eighth Senate in August 2018, and defected to the governing, All Progressives Congress. (APC).
- Akpabio lost a re-election bid for his Senate seat, as he was defeated by Christopher Stephen Ekpenyong of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 2019 election.
ROAD TO PRESIDENCY
- Akpabio was appointed Minister for Niger Delta Affairs in August 2019 by then-President Muhammadu Buhari after a successful screening by the Nigerian Senate.
- In May 2022, he picked up the N100m Presidential Nomination Form of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to run in the party’s presidential primary election.
- At the APC National Convention on June 8, 2022, he withdrew from the 2023 Presidential Contest to support the eventual winner, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
RETURN TO THE LEGISLATURE
- Following a highly controversial APC re-run Senatorial Primary election, Akpabio defeated Udom Ekpo Udom, his closest rival for the party’s ticket.
- In January 2023, a five-member panel led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun of the Supreme Court upturned the ruling of the Appeal Court to declare him as the validly nominated candidate for the APC Akwa-Ibom North-West Senatorial seat.
- Akpabio defeated his closest rival, Emmanuel Enoidem of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), in the February 25 National Assembly Elections to emerge as Senator-Elect for the District.
- Senator Akpabio defeated former governor, Abdul’aziz Yari (APC, Zamfara West) to emerge as President of the 10th Senate.
- Akpabio, as Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, was accused by Joy Nunieh, a former Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), of sexual harassment and repeatedly pressuring her to take “an oath of secrecy” not to expose fraud at the NDDC.
- In May 2020, the then Minister was summoned by Members of the House of Representatives over the misappropriation of N40 billion under his supervision of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the infamous ‘Honourable Minister, ‘Off your Mic’ saga.
- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in April 2023 asked Akpabio to “personally report” at its Abuja headquarters for interrogation over an alleged diversion of N108.1 billion during his tenure as Governor of Akwa Ibom State funds.