By our Correspondent
As a build up to the general elections in Akwa Ibom State, it is no longer news that the political situation in recent times has presumed a new dimension, especially since the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Obong Nsima Ekere declared interest to govern the state for the betterment of all. Ekere who is the former deputy governor of the state while interacting with newsmen recently noted that his determination to serve his people as the next governor of Akwa Ibom under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) come 2019 is borne out of sheer passion to liberate the state and the masses from the shackle of poverty.
When asked by Century Newsfront on his tenure of service, the governorship flag bearer who is from Eket Senatorial District reaffirmed his earlier stand; “I will run on one condition and the one and only condition is that you must agree because I want to run for only one term. The other party agreed to run for eight years and they are running on sentiment, because they don’t have anything to offer.” Meanwhile, a brief look into his profile accorded someone an opportunity to assess his unprecedented landmark achievements he has so far recorded for the benefits of the masses.
Many are of the opinion that he is the right man for the top job, who has all it takes to take the state to a higher dimension of leadership. Born on May 29, 1965 in Ikot Oboroenyin, Edemaya Clan in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Ekere started his secondary education at Regina Coeli College, Essene, Ikot Abasi, and completed same at Mary Knoll College Ogoja, Cross River State. He had a brief but very exciting stint at The Polytechnic, Calabar, from 1981 to 1982 before proceeding to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he graduated with B.Sc. Honours Degree in Estate Management in 1986.
He is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, FNIVS. Ekere is also a registered member of Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVRBN), a Senior Certified Valuer of the International Real Estate Institute (IREI), Minnesota, USA, as well as an associate member of the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV), London. In 1989, he established Gassons Nigeria Limited, an indigenous anti-corrosion, environmental, fabrication/maintenance engineering company. Before joining politics, Ekere was the Principal Partner at Ekere and Associates, a firm of estate valuers and real estate development consultants with offices in Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja and Uyo, which he started in 1993.
He had sat on the board of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) and also served in various entities like Universal Energy Resources Limited, Anchor Insurance before emerging deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State. His active and very impressive political career began in December 1997, when he contested and won election into the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly during the Abacha Transition, on the platform of the then fledgling Grassroots’ Democratic Movement (GDM). He wasn’t however inaugurated before Abacha died in June 1998 and that transition was truncated. He then joined the PDP at the start of the General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s transition regime in 1998, and played a very active part in the politics of the state till he emerged deputy governor on May 29, 2011.
Interestingly, in March 2008, Ekere was appointed Executive Chairman of Akwa Ibom Investment & Industrial Promotion Council (AKIIPOC), the investments and industrial promotions’ arm of the Akwa Ibom State Government. He also served simultaneously and very meritoriously too as the Chairman of Ibom Power Company, the independent power generating company owned by Akwa Ibom State. He was the leader of the ‘G22’, a group of 22 PDP governorship aspirants that protested the conduct of the December 2014 PDP primaries. He subsequently defected to the APC after some internal wrangling that bared its face in his gubernatorial ambition, a decision he took with an unusual calm and philosophical stead, even in the face of outright condemnation by his assumed cronies in the PDP.
He is married to Ese and has four children. Ekere is the current Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Without any ambiguity, Ekere is the APC’s preferred Akwa Ibom State Governorship candidate for the 2019 governorship elections. For the record, Ekere’s big come back when he was appointed as the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission. He has since performed creditably well to further boost his governorship bid, which is fast becoming a sure bet, despite the antics of opposition from the incumbent governor.
Since stepping onto the public service turf, he has brought freshness, dynamism and deep insights to bear on the running of government business. Ekere is a teacher’s son and no doubt must have indeed grown up with the best assets teachers give to their children and pupils viz: optimism, inventiveness, inquiry and passion for excellence. He is also an advocate for offering children the 21st century education they need to compete and succeed in today’s fast-growing technology-driven world.
His unstated philanthropic gestures include strong investment in people development through regular award of scholarships and educational grants; provision of potable water to rural communities in his Edemaya Clan, Ikot Abasi and medical outreaches to rural communities. In 2012, Ekere, along with his siblings donated a state of the art Accident and Emergency Ward/Trauma Centre to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.
In April 2018, he was conferred with the honorary doctorate degree in Management Technology by the Federal University Of Technology, Owerri in recognition of his innovative management style at the NDDC. Nsima Ekere, a Knight of John Wesley, KJW of the Methodist Church Nigeria, is the winner of the New Telegraph’s Corporate Leadership Award and The Sun Newspaper’s Public Service Award, both in 2017, in recognition of his outstanding commitment towards transforming the Niger Delta Development Commission into an organization that works more efficiently and professionally to achieve its mandate. He is also the recipient of numerous honours and merit awards, including traditional titles in recognition of endearing contributions and longstanding service to his diverse communities.