Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, has said he was very thankful to God for sparing his life after he was involved in an accident on September 1, 2015.
Senator Akpabio, while addressing a large crowd of Akwa Ibom people, who gathered Wednesday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, to mark the 28th anniversary of Akwa Ibom State, said he had just returned “from the land of the dead”.
Mr. Akpabio, minority leader of the Senate, said he lost consciousness for about an hour because of the impact of the crash.
“When that accident happened, I was rushing that morning to join my daughter who was ill in her school abroad. When it happened, I lost consciousness and all I shouted was ‘God take care of my children and my people,’” said the former governor, who now represents Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District at the Senate.
Mr. Akpabio said when he regained consciousness at the National Hospital, Abuja, he was surprised to see Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State sitting by his side.
“I was moved to tears,” he said.
The former governor, surrounded by a horde of enthusiastic supporters who were very excited at seeing him back in the state, made a triumphant entry into the stadium that has been formally named after him.
He wore Akwa Ibom ‘chieftaincy’ attire. His entry into the stadium energized the crowd, his presence electrifying the gathering.
The climax of the anniversary celebration was the launch of a rebirth programme for Akwa Ibom people tagged ‘Dakkada’. ‘Dakkada,’ an Ibibio word, means stand up.
Senator Akpabio told an ecstatic crowd in the 30,000-capacity stadium that President Muhammadu Buhari had telephoned to wish him well while he (Akpabio) was in hospital in London.
He said: “Let me place on record the support of President Buhari who did something extraordinary. The President called the hospital that I was in London. He called the hospital line, and said put me through to the Minority Leader of the Senate who is in your hospital. And they connected him. The room number was Room 215. And he spoke with me. He said, Akpabio, we are praying for you. Insha Allah, it shall be well with you.”
The former governor seized the moment to explain why the 20th Anniversary Hospital, Uyo, built during his administration, hasn’t started operation several weeks after its commissioning, saying the foreign doctors to be employed in the hospital were waiting for clearance from the Nigeria Immigration Services and relevant medical associations in the country before they could come in to start work.