One day after scoring a major political victory in court, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio he says he has forgiven those behind his political woes.
Mr. Akpabio said this on Sunday at a thanksgiving mass at St. Lucy Catholic Church in his farmhouse, Ukana, Essien Udim Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State.
The mass was organized to celebrate the Supreme Court ruling affirming Mr. Akpabio as the All Progressive Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for the 2023 elections in the North-West District of Akwa Ibom.
Mr. Akpabio and a retired police sub-inspector general, Udom Ekpoudom, had been engaged in a protracted battle over who should be the APC candidate for the district.
Ekpoudom won the party’s initial primary election overseen by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Akpabio had an interest in contesting Nigeria’s presidential election, but resigned from Bola Tinubu in the middle of the APC presidential primary in June last year. Thereafter, an APC faction in Akwa Ibom rushed to organize another senatorial primary election in Akwa Ibom North West, where Mr. Akpabio was announced as the winner.
The APC submitted Mr. Akpabio’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a Senate candidate for the district, but the Commission rejected it because it did not oversee the primaries.
Mr. Akpabio challenged INEC’s action in a Federal High Court and obtained a ruling in his favour: the electoral body was ordered to accept the former minister’s name as a candidate for the Senate.
His rival, Mr. Ekpoudom, went to the Court of Appeal and got the judgment of the lower court set aside.
Dissatisfied with the appeals court’s ruling, Akpabio appealed to the Supreme Court, which on Friday reversed the appeals court’s ruling in his favor.
‘I have forgiven everything’
Speaking about his political tribulation, the former governor of Akwa Ibom said he did not hold a grudge against anyone for what happened. “I have decided to forgive everything,” he said.
Mr. Akpabio’s comment is contained in a statement posted on Facebook by his media assistant, Jackson Udom.
Mr. Akpabio, who was at the church service with his wife, Unoma, and several of their supporters, thanked God for accompanying him on his quest to become the APC candidate.
He told the congregation that this was his second thanksgiving after the high court ruling.
“I stand before all of you today to thank, honor and praise Almighty God for our Supreme Court victory. When all hopes seemed to fade, our Lord came for me and that is why I have come to return all thanks because only He is worthy of praise.
“When the judgment was pronounced on Friday, I went out of my house in Abuja to the church to thank him for the victory. Upon my arrival today (Sunday) I decided to make the presence of God my first port of call, not for anything other than to tell him that I am grateful for his favor and his blessings for me,” said Mr. Akpabio.
Akpabio was elected senator in 2015 for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). He later defected to the APC in 2018, where he ran for a second term in 2019, but was defeated by PDP candidate Christopher Ekpenyong, who was Akwa Ibom’s lieutenant governor.
Akpabio’s main rival in the Senate elections is his former political ally, Emmanuel Enoidem, a PPD candidate.