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Senator Godswill Akpabio, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State and the leading aspirant for 10th Assembly president has called on Nigerians and members of the incoming 10th National Assembly not to assess him using his brief tenure as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, saying he preferred to be judged by his record as a lawyer of 36 years, Commissioner of six years and a governor for eight years.

Akpabio stated these in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Saturday night.

Akpabio, an Akwa Ibom North West Senator-elect, who is one of the contenders for the office of the Senate President for the 10th National Assembly, scheduled for inauguration on June 6, was first elected to the Nigerian Senate in 2015 from where he became the Minority Leader on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party but later defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Akpabio resigned his position as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to contest the presidential primaries of the APC for the 2023 general elections but later stepped down for the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Though he is the preferred candidate of the President-elect and APC, a former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari and the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, have vowed not to step down from the Senate Presidency race.

Akpabio said, “I do know that I have not changed in any way. I am somebody God has given the opportunity to be an uncommon transformer wherever I go. I will not like to be judged by ministerial appointment for Niger Delta, which everybody knows is a problematic place. But I would like to be judged by my record as a lawyer of 36 years, Commissioner of six years and a governor of eight years.”

He promised that if elected Senate President, Nigerians would sustain the January-December budget cycle initiated by the 9th National Assembly, stressing that the introduction of the January-December budget cycle was one of the major success stories of the outgoing Assembly.

Akpabio said, “If given the opportunity by my colleagues to lead the 10th Assembly, one of the programmes I will like to sustain would be the January to December budget cycle

“The Introduction of that is what I commend the 9th National Assembly for very seriously because it allows for proper planning and allows the government to take off on a good note and also help bring about foreign direct investment into the country.

“So I think that will be sustained by the 10th Senate and that is whether I am Senate President or not. I believe working with my colleagues, we shall sustain it, because it is a collective idea. Everybody is important.”

He also explained his relationship with some of his colleagues opposing his ambition.

“On the issue of whether somebody is supportive or not, that is not the issue. The issue is that we must continue to engage. God has put us together for the next four years.

“We must continue to speak to people so that whatever perception they have which are really not correct about me will be totally debunked”, he said.

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