2023: Akpabio may gain support of North
The Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio may have gained the acceptance of prominent Northern elites, politicians, academicians and opinion leaders to join the presidential race ahead of 2023, if the mammoth crowd and array of people who filled the popular Mumbayya house in Kano were anything to go by.
Although the event was originally designed for the unveiling of a new daily, The National Interest Magazine, a publication being fronted by Senator Akpabio, the ambience of the entire event shifted midway as speakers after speakers took turns to eulogise the personality of the former Akwa-Ibom state governor and the reason he should be convinced to throw his hat into the ring for the race.
The launch of the maiden magazine put together by Senator Godswill Akpabio for Common Good (SGACG) attracted bigwigs and personalities from the North among them, former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramlan Yero, former Speaker of Kano House of Assembly, Alhaji Gambo Sallau and Sarkin Turken Kano Alhaji.
Although the convener of the occasion and strong associate of Senator Akpabio, Malam Jibril Tafida, told the audience that the event was not about 2023, many insisted on the launch of the politically motivated publication of a prominent politician of Southern extraction in Kano was only icing on the cake.
The event, according to Malam Tafida, was meant to officially launch ‘The National Interest’ Magazine.
However, Tafida stressed that the magazine was to correct the erroneous impression that many Nigerians held about the minister, even as he described Akpabio as ” the most misunderstood politician.”
He said: “To say that our current effort is a volunteer initiative by like-minded individuals, who share a belief in good governance and one Nigeria. It is also an effort to tell the world the truth about the most misunderstood politician in Nigeria today.
“This organisation, Senator Godswill Akpabio for Common Good, is for public education and not for 2023 campaigns. Therefore, the magazine is out to let the world know who Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio really is, and what he stands for.
“I would like to use this opportunity to tell you about a man whose generosity has reached every nook and corner of Nigeria. Someone who is generous and kind to everyone. He likes to help people irrespective of where they come from or what religion or tribe they belong to. Above all, he doesn’t expect anything in return. This is the man that built mosques and churches all over Nigeria and sponsored many to the holy land.”
Tafida further said: “This is the man that sponsored many to further their education both within Nigeria and abroad. This is the man that does not differentiate between the high and low class in his relationship with people. I must admit here that there is no politician today that loves Nigerians like Senator Akpabio. I’m sure many of you here will testify to that, therefore he deserves our appreciation and supports any time.
“The National Interest magazine is therefore here to serve readers the true position of things and how they are, anywhere they are, within the political circle.”
Tafida was convinced that Nigeria needs the personality and capacity of Akpabio to redirect the focus of the nation to the promised land. He believed Akpabio is versatile enough to manage men and resources as exemplified in his eight successful years tenure as a public servant in Akwa-Ibom.
Leading the clarion call for Akpabio to throw his hat into the ring in 2023, was ex-Governor of Kaduna, Yaro described Akpabio as his former colleague and ex-chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, competent and qualified Nigerian to run for the presidency.
Although Yaro believed any Nigerian irrespective of ethnic background should be given the opportunity in as much such a person can transform Nigeria from the present predicament, he maintained that Akpabio has the competence to move the country out of the wood.
‘’Any Nigerian, whether from the north, south, east or west, who can transform Nigeria into a united nation, anyone who respects our diversity, improve the economy and solve the problems of insecurity. Anyone who can make the person of Kano State feels at home in Akwa Ibom State is welcome to take a shot at the presidency.”
Also, Professor Abdullahi Hassan Goron Dutse of Nigeria Police Academy, Kano, in his lecture presentation titled: Leadership, Governance and Nation Building in Nigeria highlighted the leadership qualities of a good leader in nation-building.
Professor Abdullahi said, “leadership requires someone who is focused, humility, integrity and capacity to manage conflicts.”
Dr. Suraj Yakubu of the University of Nigeria also described the former Akwa-Ibom governor as a detribalised and competent leader, who can redefine the fortune of Nigeria.
Yakubu lamented that Nigeria has suffered from corrupt and bad leaders who lack require agility to uplift the country from the prevailing security threat and economic instability.
The reviewer of the Magazine and Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Federal University, Lokoja, Professor Gbenga Ibileye, applauded Akpabio for establishing the magazine.
Professor Ibileye equally believed that Akpabio’s performance in public service has endeared Nigerians to drum support and persuasion for him to join the presidential race.