Our Candidate

the man udom emmanuel

The right Candidate
after Godswill Akpabio

Very well educated,formally and informally. Started at the University of Lagos and later on attended elite business schools such as INSEAD, France, Columbia Business School, USA, the Wharton Business School, USA and the London Business School. A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. Fellow of the Institute of Financial Management. Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management. An Associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.

Has been a key member of teams in various blue chips that have managed for profit and done it successfully hence understands bottom line issues.Untainted, significant scandal – free wall street experience and pedigree in three key blue chips, including an authentic global  consultancy behemoth PricewaterhouseCoopers where he spent 6 years and rose to the position of an Audit Manager before joining Diamond Bank. It was from Diamond Bank Limited that he moved to Zenith Bank in 1996 where he became the pioneer Manager of Zenith Bank’s Lagos Central Branch. He was also Chief Financial Officer, Zenith Bank Plc., Executive Director in charge of Corporate Finance and advisory services, Research/Strategy/Financial Control, Telecoms, Multilateral, Conglomerates & Private Banking (MCP) and Foreign Subsidiaries.

A beneficiary of well merited multiple and serial corporate board positions. Has sat on the boards of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Nigerian Interbanks Settlement System (NIBSS), Zenith Bank Nigeria and UK and Zenith Pension & Custodian. With over 23 years cognate experience in financial services, he is authorized by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to carry-out financial services in the United Kingdom.

Just stepped down as Akwa Ibom State Secretary of Government on October 20, 2014 as required by law, to pursue his political ambition but not without making a strong impact within the short period he kept the job as could be attested to by his boss, the great Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio, Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State.

A good party man within the short period that he was given political appointment after several years as a private sector player.

Ibibio by tribe. Hails from Onna, in Eket Senatorial District.

Strong Christian convictions and a Deacon in  his  local Church, Qua Iboe Church Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria. The Grace of God, near Biblical style entry into the public service firmament in Akwa Ibom is almost Jonathanistic, has all the hallmarks of a divine will.

A devout family man / settled and calm home-front, a beautiful, humble and supportive wife and good kids.

Naturally a likeable personality. A quiet philanthropist, bridge builder, with extensive network of quality friends, within and outside the state of Akwa Ibom.

All things considered, Udom Emmanuel is the best candidate to take over from Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio come 2015.

  • To consolidate on the monumental achievements of Obong Godswill Akpabio.
  • To continue the good work of trying to make Akwa Ibom State the  pre-eminent business place in the Niger Delta, with a bustling, growing, and sustainable private sector-led economy.
  • To Creatively expose the sustainable competitive advantages of Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria and to the world and leverage them to create wealth and employment using the age long principles of co-operative effort.
  • Help further reinforce the image of a bustling contemporary Nigerian state, exploiting positively her potentials.
  • Help in creating a state on -the -rise feel among our stakeholders and the rest of the observing public.
  • Further establish Akwa Ibom State as a valued, peaceful and progressive part of the Nigerian state.
  • Ensure that Akwa Ibom State is seen as contributing in Nigeria and Globally.
  • Create a unique positive identity that impacts and elicits strong and positive sentiments among Akwa Ibom people for Akwa Ibom State within and in diaspora.




Udom Emmanuel is the Secretary to the Government of Akwa Ibom State. In this interview with GBENGA SALAU, he said with the achievements of Governor Godswill Akpabio in developing infrastructure, the state is now well placed to become an industrial hub in Nigeria.

Given your experience so far as the SSG, what do you think are the problems of the state and how should the next administration tackle the challenges?

The problems of Akwa Ibom State are not different from the ones in other parts of Africa and Nigeria. I will rather look at what results we have we seen so far, since the present administration of Chief Godswill Akpabio came on board. The administration has taken various actions that have produced good results. The present government has really tackled a major aspect of the problems facing the state, which is the issue of decaying infrastructure.  The government actually took the bull by the horns. This it did by ensuring that a lot of attention is given to infrastructure, which is the foundation of further development and wellbeing of the citizenry. Before now, we couldn’t land in Uyo, the state capital; a lot of things were not here, but with the present government under the leadership of Akpabio, a lot of new infrastructure has been built, while older ones have been reconstructed. In terms of roads, he has constructed more than a thousand and four hundred kilometres of roads and over 32 bridges. Facilities for hospitality and recreation have been provided and these will fast-track development. As at today, the state is developing a major seaport that will have a great impact on the economy of Akwa Ibom. This will in turn benefit not just citizens of Akwa Ibom alone, but people from all over Nigeria. The project is in partnership with the Federal Government and I also think the model will incorporate the strategic investor. These are things that, I believe if Africa over the past years paid due attention to, as at today, we would have solved so many of the problems we have.

Having paid a lot of attention to infrastructure and human capacity development, I am yet to mention that, the present government has invested a whole lot in education, including providing free primary and secondary education. Also in terms of healthcare, free healthcare for children up to the age of five, and for women has been a great achievement. These are things that are about capacity building based on the fact that a healthy nation will definitely be a wealthy nation. If you invest in education, wealth creation, healthcare and infrastructure, I think you are laying a solid foundation.  So, I want to take it up from the point of the achievements he (Akpabio) has recorded. If the foundation has been laid, the question is what do you now build on the foundation? Is it a skyscraper, then if it a skyscraper, how many storey?   On top of the foundation being laid now in terms of infrastructural development by the present administration, the next thing to look at is the industrialisation of the state. We need to, as a matter of urgency, create employment for the teeming youths that are still willing and are able to work. If you stratify a segment of our population, you would see that we have a whole lot in that youth bracket.

You have mentioned that infrastructure has improved and that you have improved human capacity building and there is peace in the state. One expects investors to start knocking at your door. Why are they not doing so?

They are; if I tell you investors are not knocking, I would not be telling you the truth about the realities on ground. One thing with investment is that unlike a 100- metre race, investment decisions go through stages and processes. I just talked about a port development. On the average, it takes five to seven years to develop a deep seaport like ours. If you consider at what point we complete the basic infrastructure that will lead to that, you can see that we are still on course. If you are building something that is enduring, it is not something you get overnight. Some of these things will take time. But the results will start showing in the nearest future.

What are the kinds of investments that have been coming in?

It cuts across. This is one of the states in the country that is so blessed by God. Even outside the oil, this is one state that an average peasant farmer does not need to see fertilizer and know what it is. The farmer would plant cassava, corn, yam and other crops and his harvest is bumper without fertilizer. Therefore, you can now imagine if those who are coming now put a kind of mechanisation into the agricultural sector. So, we have people cutting across; people who are here for the agro allied industry, the maritime services and so on; we have a lot of them. It is even in the Bible, when God founded the earth upon the sea, which shows that the development of the earth has a lot to do with water. That is in line with the plenty attention being given to maritime and ancillary services that will create employment. But, these areas of investments I’m sure we cannot just do in one or two years. It takes time, even to get some of these things off the drawing board also takes time. As I’m talking to you, the next visit of the President to the state is to do a groundbreaking ceremony of the major methanol plant; we are talking of an investment of close to US$1.8 billion, these are things that to get them off the drawing boards takes time. We do not give the names of such investors until they fully come in and begin to settle down. Such an amount of money comes from private investors and not the government.

As someone that is coming from the private sector, what can you say, from your experience, about issues that are really making governance and delivery service to the people so difficult in this country?

In life, they say what gets measured, gets rewarded. That’s where you would have the difference because in the private sector, there is a clear unit of measurements and expectations. But in the public sector, the parameters are not so defined like in the private sector.  And in the private sector, the reward system is different. They will reward you based on results because there is already a clear-cut expectation, objectives and also units of measurements of all your achievements. With that, the reward system is definite and unambiguous. So in the public sector in Africa nay the world, the reward system is not that clear.   However, I still want to point out that the principles of the two are the same because they all focus on managing people and resources to achieve certain results. But, how that is being done, the processes, the rules and the procedures are completely different. That’s where we have the major difference between the two. Then coming from the private to the public sector, it is like saying a lizard and a rat. They might be running towards the same direction but they run two different races.

Have you been able to liaise with the Federal Government over moribund sea- ports in the state, considering the nature of federal laws on ownership of these facilities?

The question is, why is Akwa Ibom peculiar? In elementary marketing, it is said that consumption is a function of availability. Then, you come to look at what is available on ground in the state and other places. Over the years, it is one thing to mark an area and say: we have a seaport. What is the depth of the water level there and how much have we invested to dredge the water. I can remember that over the years, even when we were in the university, how much corporate bodies have been screaming that they need to dredge the Calabar seaport area, so that the water channel could allow vessels to berth. These are things that need to be done first. Why is the Akwa Ibom seaport different? It is because it is a natural seaport as at today, we have discovered a channel where the water depth is over 17 metres and the international standard is about 13 metres. So, if international standard is about that figure, and you are discovering 13 metres and above, and God has already given you a channel that is 17.3, it makes it a unique port. You cannot find that in any other place, except in Akwa Ibom State. Besides, if you look at our location in the Gulf of Guinea, it makes the seaport more viable because in West Africa today, you cannot talk about trans-shipment without talking about our channel due to our location. So, this will also serve as a major trans-shipment port for both logistics and other services across the entire Gulf of Guinea. That alone makes it extremely viable. Ship repair yards can only be better here and we have only received proposals for people to do that and so many other things that I have called ancillary businesses that will follow such a project. All we need to do is to provide infrastructure to also enhance what God has already put in the water and the entire economic life will change and so that is what we believe.

We know ports development is in the exclusive legislative list in the Nigerian Constitution. On the processes, the only way out is for us to go into a partnership with the Federal Government, which is also what we are trying to do. Our initial model was that the state will take 20 per cent, the Federal Government will also take 20 per cent and strategic investors will come and take 60 per cent. But nothing is cast in stone. The model can still change, but the details of what model we adopt at the end of the day would still be a mutual agreement between the state and the Federal Government. And mind you, when you are talking of the state or Federal Government, you are still talking about Nigerians. Human beings, irrespective of where they come from, when they see something that is good for the whole country and for the citizens of the country, it will become obvious; what is good is good. I also believe that when we are saying Federal or state government, it is not like a major demarcation. It is still the same set of people. So, as at today, we are in that partnership and we are making progress.

What is happening at the Amape modular refinery, which is a private sector initiative, as well as the multimillion naira Aluminum Smelting Company in Ikot Abasi, which had raised the hope in many that it will create more employment opportunities and boost the state economy?

Let me start with the aluminum plant. It is one project that is dear to the heart of the government and it is generating a lot interest. Even recently, there was a peaceful demonstration by the workers of ASCON to the governor that the foreign interests in the company were trying to strip the assets of the company. I can’t call it asset stripping because people use vandalisation and asset stripping interchangeably; that may not be the true situation. Be that as it may, all they were trying to say was that the physical assets of the place was losing value. So, I think as at today, the issue of ASCON is a purely Federal Government matter. If it were to be a state government issue, we would have an answer to it. We always pass every question that is raised concerning the company to the Federal Government through the Office of the Vice President to the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE). I have read a lot about legal issues concerning the place, but I will leave that to the Federal Government and the BPE to settle. However, if you ask me as a citizen of Akwa Ibom State, it is my clear wish to see that place function, because it will benefit us, not just in terms of employment, but it could actually stimulate a lot of industrialization. So much could be done with aluminum, and I’m using this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to please have a review and reappraisal of what the challenges are and probably take note of the legal issues that are pending and see how they can actually bring back the company to life. The investment in that place is enormous. Is it power you want to talk about?  And as at today, the state government has actually laid a gas pipeline of more than 59 km quite close to ASCON and that could help in the running of the company.  On the refinery, it is a private sector-driven initiative and let me not comment on it, as the state government is not the core investor; we are only trying to partner.

With the benefit of hindsight, how do you think that we can attract more professionals into party politics, as some observers claim that part of the core challenges confronting Nigeria is because politics has been left mostly in the hands people who are not technocrats?

Now if you are discussing politics, the experience of one location can be different from another. Today, people are thinking that Akwa Ibom State has so much money, whereas it is not a function of how much you have but how well you utilize it, which is where the issue of prudence comes. Once that comes to link with Prudence, Purpose and Performance, which I call the three Ps, then things work quite well. The three Ps guided Akwa Ibom into what you are seeing today. Without the element of prudence, without the element of purpose and without element of performance, nothing would have been achieved. The definition of whether you are professional does not matter. What we should be doing is putting a round peg in a round hole because every man that has the capacity to manage men and material should be able to do certain basic things. Even in the private sector, a whole lot of businesses do fail. Why do they fail? They fail because of lack of capacity, lack of corporate governance. So that word, governance cuts across: one is private governance, while the other is public governance.  So, what makes people really fail is number one, that lack of capacity and number two lack of corporate governance. What’s your governance principle? How do you keep to the rules of the game?  Every single thing you do in life has its own rules, has its own natural rules you must play to. Irrespective of who comes, you have to ask whether that man has the capacity; that is number one. Does he have the discipline and other prerequisites? Does he have the personal attributes to actually enable him to achieve set objectives? It is not just enough for people to sit outside and criticize. The best player on earth is who watches from the sideline. Once you enter the field of play, it is a different ball game. What you should look at is what has this man done in life? Has he ever done something that produced result?  I think that is what we should be looking at.  Also, nobody should actually call himself a professional politician. There is no such thing. You should be judged based on your individual capacity and what you can do and how you can manage resources to produce results.