Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio is a Nigerian lawyer and the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. He has held notable political positions including the Senator of the Akwa-Ibom North-West Senatorial District, the Senate Minority Leader between 2015 and 2018, and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State during an eight-year tenure.
Godswill Akpabio is one of the most prominent Nigerian politicians and has been widely recognised nationally and internationally.
He is the author of the book, “Words that Build a Nation: Famous Words of Governor Akpabio” published in 2009.
Akpabio was born on December 9th, 1962 to Chief Obot Akpabio and Madam Lucy Obot Akpabio of Ukana, Ikot Ntuen in the Essien Udim local government area. He was raised by his mother, due to his father’s death when he was young. He comes from a family of prominent leaders, who have served in communities, regions and nationally. His grandfather, Okuku Udo Akpabio, was a warrant chief in Ikot Ekpene province; his cousin, Justice Nsima Akpabio, was a senator in the Second Nigerian Republic.
Akpabio is of the Catholic faith. He is married to Ekaette Unoma Akpabio, and they have four daughters and a son. He also has a son from another woman, Glenn Udosen.
|University of Calabar, Cross River State||Bachelor of Laws||Speaker of the parliamentary year|
|Federal Government College, Port Harcourt, Rivers State||West African Senior School Certificate||Senior Prefect|
|Methodist Primary School, Ukana, Akwa Ibom State||First School Leaving School|
|EMIS Telecoms Limited||Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer||2002|
|Association of Telecommunication Companies in Nigeria (ATCOM)||National Publicity Secretary|
|Paul Usoro and Co.||Associate partner|
Ukana, Ikot Ntuen, Essien Udim
9 December 1962
Akwa Ibom State
All Progressive Congress
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs (2019-2022)
Senator for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District (2015-2019)
Senate Minority Leader (2015-2018)
Governor, Akwa Ibom State (2007-2015)
In 2002, Obong Victor Attah, appointed Godswill Akpabio as the Honourable Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources. Within the next four years, he served as a Commissioner in three ministries: Petroleum and Natural Resources; Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; Lands and Housing.
In 2006, he contested in the primary elections of the People’s Democratic Party to emerge as the party’s gubernatorial candidate. Akpabio was successful in the primary elections by defeating 57 rivals, and he immediately started his campaign with the slogan, “Let God’s will be done” which was widely supported. In 2007, he became the Governor of Akwa Ibom State and was re-elected for a second term in 2011. While in office, in 2013, Akpabio was elected Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum.
In 2015, he was elected as a Senator, to represent the Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district (Ikot Ekpene). During this time, he was also nominated for the position of Senate Minority Leader by the South-South group of the People’s Democratic Party.
Akpabio resigned from his position as the Senate Minority Leader in August 2018, while announcing his defection to the All Progressive Congress, one of Nigeria’s prominent political parties.
In 2019, he was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari for a ministerial appointment, and on August 21st 2019, he was sworn in as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
He resigned on 11 May 2022 on the direction of President Muhammadu Buhari to contest at presidential primaries on the platform of the All Progressives Congress(APC). After Mr Akpabio stepped down at the last minute for former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu at the APC presidential primaries, he then emerged as the APC candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district. This decision has been shrouded in controversy, as a result of INEC refusing to recognise him as the party’s chosen candidate. INEC instead declared Udom Ekpoudom, a retired deputy inspector general of police, as the APC candidate during the senatorial primary monitored by INEC.
Awards & Honours
- Africa Lifetime Achievement Prize award by Millennium Excellence Foundation in Kenya
- The Congressional Certificate of Recognition of the United States Congress (2011)
- Best Governor, Infrastructure Development 2009 conferred by British Entertainment Network (BEN) Television, London
- Honorary citizen of the city of Georgia, New Jersey in the United States
- Commander of the Order of the Nigeria (CON)
- Best Governor, Infrastructure and Empowerment Award of the Central Bank of Nigeria (2012)
- Most Prolific Governor by the National Councillors’ Forum
- Most Education Friendly Governor in Nigeria (2008) by the National Parent-Teacher Association
- Best Booster Governor award for promoting Science, Technology and Mathematics by the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria
- Goodwill Ambassador of the Nigerian Medical Association
- Best Governor in Africa award from Africa Development Magazine, Accra (2013)
- Governor of the Year (2012) – Leadership newspaper
- Man of the Year (2011) – Sun newspaper
- Best Governor in Nigeria and Outstanding Human Brand (2010) – Billboard World
- Award of Excellence for Outstanding Performance (2010) – Nigeria Union of Journalists
- Excellency Award as Best Governor South-South (2009) – Global Excellence Magazine
- Built Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility of the Ibom International Airport, Uyo
- Construction of four flyovers in Uyo
- Construction of West Africa’s first digital library – the Ibom E-library
- Initiation and implementation of free healthcare programs for children (five years and below), expectant mothers and the elderly.
- Development of Ibaka Deep Sea Port
- Construction of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo (a business and leisure resort)
- The initiation and completion of the 3.7km underground drainage project using pipe-jacking drainage technology in flood-prone areas (Uyo, Itu and Abak).
In 2015, Akpabio was under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly diverting over 100 billion Naira from Akwa Ibom State during his tenure as Governor (between 2007 and 2015). According to American diplomats at the time, the level of corruption in his administration was “exceptional”. He however denied the allegations.
Members of the House of Representatives summoned Akpabio in May 2020, over the misappropriation of 40 billion Naira through corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).