By Uche Amunike
Barely two weeks after Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio stated he was not sure if he would join the 2023 presidential race, he has officially joined the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential race for the 2023 election.
In front of a mammoth crowd, Akpanio made this declaration, Wednesday, at the Ikot Ekpene Stadium in Akwa Ibom State, which significantly is the same place where he announced his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the ruling APC three years ago.
By this move, he has just joined his colleague, Minister of Transport and former governor of River State, Rotimi Amaechi in the Presidential race to succeed their boss in 2023.
Senator Godswill Akpabio is a former governor of Akwa Ibom state who served for two terms and is the immediate past Senate Minority Leader, who promised to make security and the economy top priority if elected.
Both Ex-Governors Amaechi and Akpabio served as governors of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states respectively between 2007 to 2015.
Senator Godswill Akpabio was succeeded as Governor, by Udom Emmanuel who is also currently running for Presidency under the aegis of the PDP.
Hear him: “In 2007 the Eagle landed in Akwa Ibom State. By 2015 when the eagle departed, your lives were not the same again. In 2023, I stand to declare that the will of God for this nation shall be done. I am here to deliver a message.
‘The message I am bringing to you is not just a message of continuity of the infrastructure, human empowerment, the story of turning boys into men, story of the compulsory education for all Nigerian children, of opening the gates of the government house to all Nigerians, sending both Muslims and Christians on pilgrimage.’
‘It is also a message of restoration of your dignity, of your greatness within the ECOWAS region, African nation and the rest of the world. I am here, very determined to pay the debt of gratitude I owe to you and to our great nation for the various opportunities you gave me to serve in high offices of public trust.’
‘I am determined not to let our nation sink, but to drink from the deep well of experience I have acquired in those offices. Therefore I, Senator Godswill Akpabio, hereby declare my intention to seek the nomination of my great party, the All Progressives Congress to become not just a candidate, but your next president come 2023.’
This declaration is being watched live from 59 countries in the world. I have never seen a politician so loved by this country like Godswill Akpabio.’
Meanwhile, Akpabio’s declaration to succeed President Buhari was made at this time that the Akwa Ibom chapter of the APC is deeply divided in the state. The State Chapter of the APC has two factions.
The Stephen Ntukekpo-led chapter is loyal to Senator Godswill Akpabio and formed a massive part of the crowd at the stadium on the day of his declaration, while the second faction led by Austin Ekanem is loyal to John Akpanudoedehe. They were noticeably absent at the venue as Akpabio made his declaration.