Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio CON born 9 December 1962), is a Nigerian lawyer and politician who is currently serving as the 15th president of the Nigerian Senate since 2023. He served as Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District from 2015 to 2019 and since 2023. He also served as minister for Niger Delta Affairs from 2019 to 2022. He previously served as governor of Akwa Ibom State from 2007 to 2015.
Godswill Akpabio is the son of Chief Obot Akpabio and Madam Lucy Obot Akpabio (née Inyangetor) of Ukana, Ikot Ntuen in Essien Udim Local Government Area. He was born on December 9, 1962. He lost his father at an early age and was raised by his mother.
Akpabio was educated at Methodist Primary School, Ukana, Essien Udim LGA, Akwa Ibom State; the Federal Government College, Port Harcourt, Rivers State; and the University of Calabar, Cross River State, where he obtained a Degree in Law.
While at the Federal Government College, Port Harcourt, he was appointed the Senior Prefect. In the University of Calabar, Akpabio was elected as the speaker of the parliamentary year.
Akpabio’s grandfather, Okuku Udo Akpabio, was the Warrant Chief in Ikot Ekpene province. His uncle, Dr. I. U. Akpabio, was the Minister of Education/Internal Affairs in the then Eastern Nigeria. Justice Nsima Akpabio, his cousin, was a senator in the Second Nigerian Republic.
Akpabio is a Christian of the Catholic faith. Akpabio is married to Ekaette Unoma Akpabio, the founder of Family Life Enhancement Initiative (FLEI), a non-governmental organization providing a platform for redirecting the focus of development efforts on the family as a strategy for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Akpabio and his wife have four daughters and a son
Akpabio had a brief stint as a teacher and as an associate partner with Paul Usoro and Co., a law firm in Nigeria.
He also worked with EMIS Telecoms Limited, a wireless telecommunications company in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2002, he rose to the position of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the company. In this position, he helped in shaping the future of the burgeoning telecoms industry. He had earlier served as the National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Telecommunication Companies in Nigeria, (ATCOM), while a director of EMIS.
In 2002, he was appointed Honourable Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources by the then Governor Obong Victor Attah in Akwa Ibom State. Between 2002 and 2006, he served as a Commissioner in three key ministries: Petroleum and Natural Resources, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, as well as Lands and Housing.
In 2006, he aspired for the governorship of Akwa Ibom State in a contested primary election and defeated 57 other aspirants to emerge the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). His campaign with the slogan, “let God’s will be done” received mass support and was elected Governor in 2007. He was re-elected for a second term in office as Governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2011.
In 2013, he was elected Chairman of the newly formed PDP Governors Forum.
In 2015, he contested and won the Senate seat of the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District (Ikot Ekpene) to represent the district in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Running under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he polled 422,009 of the 439,449 to defeat Chief Inibehe Okorie of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who recorded 15,152 votes to be declared elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Akpabio was nominated for the position of the Senate Minority Leader by the South-South caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ratified by the caucus of the PDP in the Senate and announced by the Senate President as Senate Minority Leader on 28 July 2015. The PDP lost the majority to the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the 2015 general elections.
In August 2018, he resigned as the Senate Minority Leader, after he had announced his defection to the All Progressives Congress. His defection was marked by Political rally in his hometown at the Ikot Ekpene township stadium, Akwa Ibom State.
In July 2019, he was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari and screened by the Nigerian Senate for a Ministerial appointment. On 21 August 2019, he was sworn in as Minister for Niger Delta Affairs.
In June 2022, Akpabio resigned from his position as minister for Niger Delta Affairs to contest in the presidential primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) but stepped down on the night of the primaries for the eventual winner Bola Tinubu. A few days after the presidential primaries, he emerged as the Senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District. He went on to defeat his closest rival Emmanuel Enoidem of the Peoples Democratic Party to become the senator-elect in the 2023 general elections polling 115,401 votes, against Enoidem’s 69,838 votes.
On 13 June 2023, he was elected President of the Senate of Nigeria with 63 votes defeating Senator Abdulaziz Yari, a former Governor of Zamfara State who scored 46 votes.