A former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio has urged the Nigerian populace and the forthcoming 10th National Assembly to refrain from evaluating him solely based on his short stint as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
According to The PUNCH, he stated this in an exclusive interview on Saturday evening.
Akpabio expressed his preference to be evaluated based on his professional experience as a legal practitioner for a period of 36 years, as well as his tenure as a commissioner for six years and a governor for eight years.
Akpabio, the senator-elect for Akwa Ibom North West, is one of the candidates for Senate President of the 10th National Assembly, which is set to be inaugurated on June 6.
He was first elected to the Nigerian Senate in 2015, where he served as Minority Leader on the Peoples Democratic Party platform before defecting to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Akpabio resigned as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to run in the APC presidential primaries for the 2023 general elections, but ultimately stood aside for President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Despite being the President-elect’s and APC’s favoured candidate, Abdulaziz Yari, former Governor of Zamfara State, and Senate Chief Whip Orji Uzor Kalu have sworn not to withdraw from the Senate Presidency election.
“I do know that I have not changed in any way. I am somebody God has given the opportunity to be an uncommon transformer wherever I go. I will not like to be judged by ministerial appointment for Niger Delta, which everybody knows is a problematic place. But I would like to be judged by my record as a lawyer of 36 years, commissioner of six years and a governor of eight years,” Akpabio said.
It will be recalled that in July 2020, while serving as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio testified in front of the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta during an audit hearing regarding the N81.5 billion the ministry spent between January and July 2020.
However, there was some minor drama during the investigation when the former governor of Akwa Ibom State during the 9th assembly was told to “off your mic” by a committee member when discussing the corruption allegations made against him. This sparked the idiom “Honourable Minister, off your mic.”
Regarding his desire to lead the Senate, Akpabio pledged that if elected, he would uphold the 9th National Assembly’s January-December budget cycle.
He cited the implementation of the January-December budget cycle as one of the Assembly’s most notable achievements.
He also discussed how he felt about some of his coworkers who were against his goals.