Godswill Obot Akpabio was born at Ukana, Ikot Ntuen, Akwa Ibom State on 9 of December, 1962. He attended the Federal Government College, Port Harcourt, then read Law at the University of Calabar. He completed his legal education at the Nigerian Law School before being called to the Bar. He became a teacher at the Afaha Secondary School, Essien Udim in 1982. He then joined Paul Usoro & Co, Lagos, a law firm, as Associate Partner. In 1995 he was Director, Corporate Affairs/Legal Services of EMIS Telecoms. In 2002 he was appointed Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources, followed by positions in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and then the Ministry of Lands and Housing in 2006.
In April 2007, Godswill Akpabio successfully ran for governor of Akwa Ibom State on the People's Democratic Party (PDP) platform. He took office on 29 May 2007.
In 2010 he appeared on CNN, saying that witchcraft is not a problem in his state. He ran successfully for reelection on 26 April 2011. Akpabio gained 975,585 votes, while the runner-up John Akpanudoedehe of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) scored 163,449 votes. It has been speculated that Goodswill Akpabio has "anointed Akanimo Udofia as his successor.