MY DECLARATION SPEECH ON WEDNESDAY, 4TH MAY, 2022, AT IKOT EKPENE TOWNSHIP STADIUM, AKWA IBOM STATE.
TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE OUR STORY
A Statement of intent to contest for the Presidency of Nigeria by Senator Godswill
Obot Akpabio, CON.
My dear Compatriots, determined to pay the debt of gratitude I
owe our nation for the opportunities to serve in high offices of
public trust; determined to let our nation drink from the deep
well of experience acquired in these offices, I, Senator Godswill
Obot Akpabio, with great humility, hereby submit myself for
your kind consideration as your next president.
I pay tribute to President Muhammadu Buhari for the patriotic
work he has done as our President. He has given hope and
direction to governance, and fought corruption with
uncompromising zeal. He has touched lives and empowered
people, he has made great advances in agriculture, human
capital development, and indeed in all sectors of our economy.
He has uplifted the integrity of the Nigerian nation. A lot can be
said about all his amazing successes and achievements, but
suffice it to say that I have come to perfect his marvelous
works. Although, Absolute perfection belongs not to man nor to
angels, but to God alone.
The labours of our dear President Buhari and our past leaders
shall never be in vain. In line with this expectation in our
national anthem, I have come to build based on their
developmental strides; to serve our country with heart and
might — serve her as a nation bound in freedom, peace and
unity, where the dividends of democracy shall be guaranteed.
I have come with these key items on my agenda: to secure
lives and properties; to make unity the touchstone of our
nationhood; and to invigorate our economy, prosper our
citizenry and promote democracyIn 2007, I was elected the Governor of a pedestrian State,
languishing on the margins of our national life. A couple of
years later, a European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, visited
the State and described what he saw, in amazement, as
“transformation extraordinaire.” He inadvertently, became the
originator of the swansong “Uncommon Transformation” which
other amazed visitors and residents of the state still echo till
now. In eight years of Uncommon Transformation, we gave the
State one of the best road networks in the country (the roads
built by us fourteen years ago are still pot-hole free). We gave
the State free and compulsory education for all children up to
Senior Secondary school; We gave the State free medical
treatment for pregnant women and for babies up to the age of
five; we delivered to the State world class facilities like the
International Airport, Tropicana Entertainment Centre, ELibrary, Ibom Specialty Hospital (rated as one of the best in
Africa), Africa’s first ever underground pipe-jacking drainage
system, Ibom Power Plant, Akwa Ibom State University, the
Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, and many other
projects too numerous to mention. We did so much that then
serving Presidents and past country leaders wondered where
we got money from to do all that we did. The trick was in our
vision, strategic planning, commitment and honest
implementation. Together we can do more than this for Nigeria.
At the Nile Valley in Egypt, people of different colours,
languages, religion and ethnicity co-habited peacefully and
gave the world its first modern civilisation. We are a reflection
of that alluvial Nile Valley and together we can reinvigorate
peace, unity and development and become the envy of the
world. This is why I am seeking to be your President. I have
done it before as Governor; my office pursued national unity
with great zeal. I sent both Christians and Muslims on
pilgrimages. The office reflected Federal Character because of
my abiding faith in Nigeria and its diversity. Not only did we win uncountable awards & honours, and
commendations from institutions like the United States
Congress, the Nigeria Defence Academy, foreign countries,
prestigious institutions of higher learning, prominent religious
and ethnic organizations; even Wikkileaks, referenced myself
as a leader to watch due to my infrastructural revolution and
efforts in industrial development. We took that pedestrian State
out of the margins of our national life, and made it a cynosure
of global interest. It attracted global icons such as the President
of the Republic of Ghana and the Republic of Ivory Coast; the
Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis; one-time USA presidential
aspirant, the Rev Jesse Jackson; diplomats; global sports icons
like Don King and Evander Holyfield; and a host of others. I am
offering my humble self for service to our dear Nation, because
I believe that together we can make Nigeria the cynosure of
global interest and an African economic lion. There is nothing
the Asian tigers have, in terms of human and material
resources, that we do not have.
As a Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, we have completed
projects abandoned for decades and thought to be beyond
salvage. We have had key projects commissioned by Mr
President. This uncommon feat was achieved through the
support of Mr President. We have effectively repositioned
NDDC to meet its core mandate. As a first time Senator, after
my work as Governor, my distinguished colleagues found me
worthy and elected me as their Minority Leader. This was in
recognition of the great equity and value I brought to the
Senate. I pay respect to that Hallowed Chamber for that
honour. I praise God for His grace.
The road to Governorship of Akwa Ibom State was marked by
immense value added as the Commissioner of Local
Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Commissioner for Lands
and Housing, and Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural
Resources. In Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, I left a
record in conflict resolution and raised the bar of respect and dignity for the traditional institution in Nigeria, and as your
President we shall give the traditional institution a voice in the
functionality and maintenance of peace in our dear country.
In Lands and Housing, we undertook land reclamation and
estate development. In Petroleum and Natural Resources, we
connected with Niger Delta issues and maintained peace
among the youth and assisted in bringing militancy to an end in
the Niger Delta Region. All these experiences paid off when I
became the Governor, which led to this commendation by our
eminent patriot and father of this democracy, General
Abdulsalami Abubakar, GCFR, when he visited the State:
“The type of development we are seeing in Akwa Ibom State, if
all of us in this country follow suit… there will be peace in this
country and there will be no need for any misgivings and
So I declare today conscious that this declaration has raised
the bar of hope for all Nigerians, poor or rich. Christian or
Muslim. I was raised by a poor, loving mother, who lost her
beloved husband six months after my birth. She taught me that
life is not about where you came from, but where you are going.
After primary school, I missed a year of schooling because she
could not afford my school fees. Despite this, my love for
education drove me to sneak into a nearby Secondary School.
One day the security of the school chased me through the
forest and I fell on a tree trunk and severely injured my leg.
That scar left behind a constant reminder that I should always
drive children to school, drive people to development, drive
goodwill in all my endeavours and be fair to all.
It is said that a good heart is the key to an open door; I
eventually gained admission to Federal Government College,
Port Harcourt. This premier Unity school imbued in me my
inflexible faith in the Nigerian Nation and connected me to
brothers and sisters in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria. Therefore, my declaration is a trumpet call for unity and action.
May the Fulanis, the Hausas and the Tivs arise to this call with
deeper faith in the Nigerian mission. May the Yorubas, the
Igbos and the Ijaws awake to this call with stronger hope for a
greater country. May the Efiks, the Ibibios, the Annangs the
Kanuris, and indeed, all other ethnic groups in Nigeria hear this
call and shout with joy that the clouds of national pains will
soon bring forth showers of national gains.
Fellow Nigerians, when the US Ambassador to Nigeria,
Terrence McCulley, visited Akwa Ibom State he noted
prophetically, “I have been to Akwa Ibom for the first time, but I
have to say that with what I have seen, the future of Nigeria is
in Akwa Ibom State.” The future of the Uncommon
Transformation of Nigeria; The future of making this country an
African showpiece; That future that McCulley spoke of, is my
dream Nigeria. I share this dream with you because the future
is the property of those who believe in the beauty of their
dreams. Together we will overcome every challenge. Together
we will defeat every Goliath. Together we will turn our mourning
into dancing again.
Let God’s will be done in 2023.
God bless our great country.