Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, has been elected as the Senate President of the 10th Assembly.
Akpabio was chosen as the favored candidate by the ruling All Progressives Congress.
After securing 63 votes, Akpabio was officially sworn in as the Senate President, defeating his opponent, Yari Abdulaziz, who received 46 votes.
Godswill Akpabio, the newly appointed Senate President of Nigeria, is among the fortunate individuals in the country who come from a privileged background. It is noteworthy that his family members have held positions of power and leadership for a considerable duration.
Akpabio is perceived to be part of a prominent political lineage. His grandfather, Okuku Udo Akpabio, served as the Warrant Chief in the Ikot Ekpene province during the era of old Nigeria. Additionally, his uncle, Dr Ibanga Akpabio, held the positions of Minister of Education and Minister of Internal Affairs in the former Eastern Nigeria. Furthermore, his cousin, Justice Nsima Akpabio, served as a senator during the Second Nigerian Republic.
From a young age, Akpabio embarked on a remarkable journey of leadership, occupying significant positions along the way.
His educational path commenced at Methodist Primary School in Ukana, Essien Udim Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. He then attended Federal Government College in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he served as a senior prefect before completing his secondary education.
Even after secondary school, Akpabio’s leadership journey continued. While studying at the University of Calabar in Cross River State, he was elected Speaker of a Parliamentary Year and obtained his law degree.
With his Bachelor’s degree in Law, Akpabio briefly worked as a teacher before becoming an associate at Paul Usoro and Co., a Nigerian law firm. He then ventured into the telecommunications industry, holding positions at EMIS Telecoms Limited, a wireless telecommunications company in Lagos. In 2002, he rose to the position of Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the company. Additionally, he served as the National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Telecommunication Companies in Nigeria.
In 2002, while still serving as the MD of EMIS Telecoms, Akpabio was appointed as the Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources by Governor Obong Victor Attah in Akwa Ibom State. Over the course of 2002 to 2006, he held commissioner positions in three crucial ministries: Petroleum and Natural Resources, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, as well as Lands and Housing.
Following his tenure as commissioner, Akpabio ran for the Akwa Ibom governorship election, competing against 57 other candidates. He emerged as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and won the governorship election in 2006. He was subsequently re-elected for a second term in 2011.
In 2013, Akpabio became the chairman of the newly formed PDP Governors Forum. In 2015, he contested and won the Senate seat for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District, representing the district in the Nigerian Senate. Running under the PDP platform, he secured a significant majority of the votes.
Despite being a first-time senator, Akpabio was appointed as the Senate Minority Leader in contravention of Senate rules in 2015. However, he resigned from this position in August 2018 after defecting to the All Progressives Congress.
In July 2019, Akpabio was nominated by former President Muhammadu Buhari and screened by the Nigerian Senate for a ministerial appointment. He was subsequently sworn in as the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs on August 21, 2019.
In June 2022, Akpabio aimed even higher by resigning as the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs to compete in the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress. However, he stepped down from the race during the primaries to support President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Despite these developments, Akpabio persevered and secured his senatorial ticket through a court order obtained by retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Udom Ekpoudom.
With the ticket in hand, Akpabio engaged in the battle for the Senate Presidency and eventually received the party’s endorsement as their chosen candidate.