In a society, where young men and women take politics as the only source of livelihood, this man, has constantly changed the psyche of youths by facilitating the employment of youths so numerous to count within the Oil & Gas sector.
In some families, where nobody has ever own a vehicle, he has singlehandedly broken such diabolic jinx by dolling out uncountable cars gifts including business empowerment start up grants, scholarships, skill acquisition trainings to Akwa Ibom indigenes and non natives. Those that have visited his hotel in Ikot Ekpene said that, he has employed more than the workforce needed in such an outfit.
Fortnight ago, through Rotary Club International, he put smiles on the faces of Physically Challenge people by donating and contributing to their welfare for the well being of the handicaps. I wouldn’t want to dwell on the giving aspect of Obong Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo, because his philanthropic dossier is in the lips of almost everyone, who have researched into the benevolence of this man. One feature of his that astonish me, is that, despite his standing in the society, Ukpong-Udo constantly pitch his tent with the downtrodden in the society. His Philosophy in this direction is that he dwells in the biblical verse “He who gives to the poor, lend to God.” One rarely sights him within the circle of the wealthy in the society, he prefers to dine and wine with the less privilege, maybe to ascertain their needs and carefully solve them.
What would have motivated him to embrace the oppressed? Available data at the public domain shows that, Obong Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo hails from a humble family in Ikot Akpa Edet Village, Ndiya Clan in Ikono Local Government Area. His father, Apostle Effiong Ukpong-Udo was a civil servant, while his mother, Evangelist Mrs. Josephine Effiong-Udo (Late), was a devout Christian. From the prefix titles attached to the name of his parents, observers are quick to view that, Obong Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo is a product of Christian environment; such may have affected his psyche and rules governing his lifestyle.
Obong Ukpong-Udo, fondly called Macaire appears to be a man, who never allowed his setback to determine his destiny. Yea, he came from a humble background, attended a certain primary school in Ibiono Ibom and Federal Government College Ikot Ekpene, where he obtained his FSLC and SSCE respectively. Macaire studied Applied Chemistry in University of Uyo and graduated in 1998.
In a society, where graduates allowed their certificates to determine their destiny, Ukpong-Udo, having seen that, Applied Chemistry wasn’t his dream course, brace up and imbibed the Dakkadda Spirit, by changing his destiny at the 11th Hour.
Because of his firm believe and seal for greatness and success, Macaire rekindled his quest by studying in Rapid Result College, London, University of Leeds, United Kingdom, where he bagged certifications in Fire and Explosion Engineering. He also enrolled and bagged a qualification in Process safety and loss prevention engineering and Masters of Science in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Management from University of Sheffield and University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom respectively. Currently he is rounding up his PhD Programme in United Kingdom. Such trainings drew and took him to Safety Profession- a profession, which practitioners are seldom due to the rigorous training associated with it.
At Present, Macaire is unanimously known as one of the most qualified practicing Safety Professional in the country. He is of value and asset to the society and his employer. This silence achiever, a devout member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, in 2008 walked down the aisle with then Miss Kuseme Michael Udofia, today, his marriage is blessed with three children namely; Macaire, Michelle and Marcella. I decided to christen his Children as ‘the Three M of Macaire’. For more than a decade, Ukpong-Udo has excelled greatly in his chosen career and has never been found wanting in his area of specialization.
He has worked at different levels as a Health Safety Environment Practitioner with various International Multi-national Organizations such as CGG Limited, GTZ, LYK Corporation, ABB Soimi. He was a senior HSE Adviser, Shell Petroleum Development Company LTD, QHSE Manager at Intels Nigeria Limited, HSE Support at Balfour Beatty Utilities Limited, United Kingdom and Regional Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental Manager with Orlean Invest Africa Limited.
Fawn Weaver had once said, “Show me a man who is smiling from ear to ear and living a beautiful life and I will show you a man who is grateful for what he has and totally in love with”. In a nutshell, this submission summarizes the humane disposition of Obong Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo. It may have been the reason why, The Entirety of the Cradle of Ibibio Nation, after careful assessment bestowed on him, the Political leader of Ikono Local Government Area. He is a Trustee of Transformation Initiative for the Empowerment of Ibom People (TIEP), a group, which piloted the dreams of the present government. He chairs, Board of Trustee of Ikono People Consultative Forum, trustee Akwa Ibom Centre for Community Development and National Officer, Continuity Advancement Group. For want of space, I purposely ignore to mention groups he has served as patrons and grand patrons as well as traditional titles he has acquired so far.
Ukpong-Udo, is a Registered Occupational Health and Safety Consultant, United Kingdom, Fellow International Institute of Risk and Safety Management, United Kingdom, Chartered Quality Professional, United Kingdom, Chartered Health and Safety Professional, United Kingdom, IRCA Certificated Quality, Safety and Environment Management System Auditor, Member, British Occupational hygiene Society, United Kingdom, Member, American Society of Safety Engineering, United States, member, National Safety Management Society, Member, Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria, Member, Canadian Society of Safety Engineers among other intimidating credentials.
Suffice to add that, all these attributes and achievements of Ukpong-Udo occurred before his ripe age of forty. An English saying states that, “A fool at Forty, is a fool forever”, with such an encompassing and intimidating profile of the political leader of Ikono, it is obvious, that, he is not only fulfilled at Forty, but he is heroic, achiever and loving.
I wasn’t fortunate to know him in time past, our relationship was a child of circumstance and was watered about four months ago, through the tutelage of the likes of Uwem Udoka, Amanam Idiok, Imo-Owo and other childhood friends of mine who preached the gospel of Macaire to me and I accepted, till date, that gospel serves as a creed to me. I rarely mingle with politicians because of their dexterity in telling lies and playing with the emotions of people, however, I have decided to blend with Macaire, because of his high level of sincerity and commitment to better the lots of the people in the society.
He doesn’t want to aspire for any political office, yet he has constantly blessed those within and outside the government. A couple of months ago, one of the Senior Special Assistants to Governor Udom Emmanuel narrated a story how, the Ikono Political Leader blessed some aides of Former Governor and commended them for working diligently with the then governor. Ikono Transition Chairman, Asuquo Nnana had said that, Macaire blesses people devoid of family, tribe and confraternity affiliations, recalling how he blessed someone with a vehicle in an occasion he knew not the celebrant.
He believes in Peoples’ Democratic Party, but consciously open doors to all, especially in Ikono to have a sense of belonging. This has resulted in a one party system in the Cradle of Ibibio nation, as members of other political parties have embraced him as their political leader and pledged unalloyed support to the government of Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.
His kind gestures know no bound; also he has constantly been awarded by professionals and members of the society. Barely a week to his birthday, E4+, a little segment of Media Practitioner bestowed on him BEST PHILANTHOPIST award, I am aware, that his first award after his 40th Birthday, will be given to him by the state Chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalists on the 4th of December, precisely Friday, this week. Like I said earlier, I don’t also want to write on his numerous awards, so as not to bore us.
On the whole, Macaire is a foot soldier of the present administration, this he demonstrates by his seal and commitment to better the lot of people. He untiringly solicits support from the people towards the present administration. I have watched him closely, and I can say with authority that, this man has never end his speech without inviting people to support the government of Udom Gabriel Emmanuel. He is the signpost of Dakkadda Initiative of the Present administration, because his destiny cannot be analyzed without the element of Dakadda. We had and we are still having people who are wealthy, yet lack the gift of giving. Little wonder why Ikono people bade, “farewell to greedy politicians” and decided to embrace a man who uses his hard-earned money to put smiles on the faces of people.
To Macaire, look! Like Nehemiah and Job, you may be confronted with some antics of the devil, which may come by way of childish blackmail and character assassination, however, be rest assured that, the same God that remembered the duo, will remember you when the time is nigh.
You are a plus to this generation. You have left an indelible mark in the sand of time. A Safety Professional, you are. A Political Leader, you are. An Elder of the Most High, you are. A landlord, Father, hotelier, business man you are. All these are features of what you assembled and accomplish before your forty years on earth.
You are indeed a child of destiny. ..A friend in need and a friend indeed. I won’t be surprised if by tomorrow, you are lifted above an understandable realm, a level, where your PA’s, SA’s and SSA’s will increase beyond bound. This is a confirmation to the psalmist, “He who dwell in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the almighty”.
As a person, I specifically thank God, for the privilege to share this planet with you, it is worthwhile. Though your candid advice and encouragement, I have now seen the need to support Udom Gabriel Emmanuel’s led Government. You are a peaceful man, who till date have samples of peace embedded in you. Never have you caused gnashing of teeth to even your enemies. You are wealthy enough to take mischievous elements who assassinate your characters to court, yet you have constantly toed the path of peace.
I could recall when you told me, “If I arrest that publisher, who assassinated my character, who will bail him out? And how will my conscience judge me? Instead let me ignore him, and pray for God to change his psyche and make him turn a new leaf. I know some people use media to gain relevance and make money, I cannot join issues with anybody who blackmails me, only that, I pray God should give me the wherewithal to put smiles on the faces of my people”. This alone, summarizes the philosophy of Macaire. A caring, compassionate and loving fellow! He cared up to a point that, he nearly lost his job, if he doesn’t relent in employing Akwa Ibom indigenes at his place of work. Happy Birthday to you Sir!