Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has faulted viral claims that he has withdrawn his presidential bid in the forthcoming elections.
Naija News reports that the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State is seeking to contest the 2023 presidential race on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Reports are, however, flying in some sections of the media that the former lawmaker is no longer interested in contesting the exalted position.
Senator Akpabio had on Wednesday announced his resignation from President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, declaring vacant his position as the minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
The politician on Thursday reiterated his desire to become Nigeria’s next president, stating that he had rather resigned his appointment as a minister to enable him to carry out wide consultations across the country as a private citizen without the paraphernalia of a government position.
Naija News understands that Akpabio made these clarifications when he submitted his N100 million expression of interest and nomination forms to Sulaiman Argungu, APC national organising secretary at the party’s headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.
Akpabio further said that the erroneous reports of his withdrawal from the presidential race were the handiwork of his opponents who are worried by the wide support his presidential ambition was getting.
He said: “If you are the one won’t you write that? If you are contesting and then you see the calibre of Senator Godswill Akpabio what will you say? You will write whatever you like. When you see politicians you know them. I am a lawyer, they say Res Ipsa Loquitur, the act speaks for itself.
“So all the rumours have ended and we wouldn’t have taken the kind of step we have taken. So we are on course and I believe strongly that 2023 must be a reality, not just for me and my children but for posterity. The ideas he brings, all the positive things the president put in place; we need to engender love, we need to engender continuity and then we need to secure our people; we need to improve the economy and we need to ensure national integration.
“The unity of this country even from amongst us here; the 36 states are represented in this mere submission of forms. When we did the declaration, the 36 states plus the FCT, plus our neighbouring countries were all represented. So, the mammoth crowd you saw was not only made up of Nigerians, it was made up of all interested neighbours who are interested in the future of Nigeria because, as I said, one of every black people in the world is a Nigerian.
“So what happens to Nigeria, happens to the black race that is why you see the interest that people are showing and our neighbouring countries are showing in my aspiration to vie for the office of the president and we will become the next president of this country.”
The hopeful aspirant boasts that he will replicate the ‘uncommon transformation’ he brought about in Akwa-Ibom across the country and calls for peaceful consultations and an electioneering campaign.
He said: “We should eschew bitterness, we should go for a very clean campaign devoid of bitterness, insults and all that and unnecessary propaganda so that we can continue to put this country together. Most wars in the world are started through propaganda and false information.
“I think, God’s willing and with the prayers from all Nigerians, we shall succeed in ensuring not just free and fair elections; not just free and fair primaries but ending this particular administration in peace with all the dividends that are on the ground for all Nigerians,” he added.
Mohammed Murtala, an APC chieftain who accompanied Akpabio to the venue of the submission of the forms assured him of support from the northern part of Nigeria for the realization of his presidential ambition via APC ticket.
Murtala said: “We are here today to show you that we are Nigerians and our aspirant is capable of contesting this election because he has the capacity. I am telling you if God gives him the leadership of this country; we will see a different Nigeria because he doesn’t discriminate, no issue of religion, he is a Nigerian.
“I am an Hausaman, he is from Akwa-Ibom but I stand for him and I will fight for him to the end. We are making sure that all the masses around northern Nigeria and Nigerians will support Akpabio. I am telling you Akpabio is the best person to move this country forward.”