By Saviour Ekpe
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Honourable Idorenyin James Umo came to public sphere, after the mandatory National Youth Service in Lagos, when he as a young graduate got employed with the defunct Peoples Bank of Nigeria in 1989 in same Lagos, worked diligently, rose through the ranks and voluntarily resigned in 1991 as the Akwa Ibom State pioneer Coordinator of the bank after successfully established eight branches of the bank across the three Senatorial Districts of the state. Honourable Idorenyin James Umo is the very definition of the ICT and business success story, continually setting the standards of excellence while expanding his interests in training, mentorship and empowerment.
In Akwa Ibom State and around Nigeria and indeed, the West Africa Sub-region, Hon. Umo’s signature is synonymous with the most prestigious of discourses in the ICT (information, Communication and Technology) world. Among some of his creations and innovations in the ICT world are the Sales and services through its outlets where individual and organizational clients have access to computer supplies, installations and maintenance; ICT consultancy as IBBIL provides consultancy services in project management, hardware configuration and selection, develop system for monitoring and evaluation as well as information management; ICT training: General Learners ICT Programme (GLIP), Executive Computers Learners ICT Programme (ECLIP); IBBIL Tertiary/University Learners ICT Programme (TULIP), IBBIL Kiddies ICT Club and IBBIL School Learners ICT Programme (SLIP).
Honourable Idorenyin James Umo has been responsible for various ICT services on international, national and state scenes such as technical partners for International Financial Corporation (IFC) sponsored Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) owners forum, stewarded by Pan-African University, Lagos in 2011; deployment of connectivity and learning tools to schools in Edo State under the School Access Programme (SAP) of the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) in 2009; supply and installation of computer systems and staff training on ICT facilitated e-learning equipment at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in 2008; Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) training centre: Graduate Computer Training Programme, 2011; consulting on the deployment of wireless internet access to facilitate ICT-based e-learning programme and internet connectivity in the University of Uyo; supply, installation, networking, maintenance of computer systems and staff training on ICT resources linking all key government ministries and agencies in Akwa Ibom State; supply, installation, maintenance and provision of training and consultancy services for ICT facilities in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; training of teachers on the ICT-based e-learning curriculum under the UBE programme in Akwa Ibom State; supply, installation, maintenance and provision of training and consultancy services for ICT facilities in schools across the 36 States of the federation and Abuja.
In 1997, Honourable Idorenyin James Umo started his business career with an incorporated limited liability company code named, IB Benest Investments Limited, which was involved in the importation and supply of goods and services to individuals and corporate organisations, notably, oil companies such as Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited. Because of high expectations on the ICT world and the vision for the future coupled with Divine direction, the company redefined its operations and strategies by recreating and remodeling its corporate image into IBBIL Computers with a wide network of partnership with leading ICT firms across the globe and has grown over the years to become one of the leading ICT organisations in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. Located strategically at No. 80 Aka Road, Uyo as its Corporate Headquarters, with branches at No. 2, Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo; No. 44 Abak Road, Uyo. For effective network operations, the company has extended its frontiers to all commercial cities in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States as well as liaison offices in all states in Nigeria including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory and South Africa operational office. Today, IBBIL Computers has over 200 staff strength across the world, which as the Chief Executive Officer, Honourable Idorenyin James Umo over sees its day to day operations around the world.
In the political scene, Honourable Idorenyin James Umo contested for the office of the Executive Chairman of Ibiono Ibom local government area but that effort was punctuated by military interregnum at that time and in 1999, when democracy was restored in Nigeria, he contested, won and served diligently as member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and represented Ibiono Ibom State Constituency between 1999 and 2003 and served in the capacity of Deputy Majority Leader and Chairman of many House Committees including that of Works, Housing, Transport and Environment. He was instrumental for the establishment of weekly prayer meeting in the assembly, which today has grown into a chapel. During his active service as a legislator, Honourable Idorenyin James Umo initiated many laudable programmes and attracted projects that had direct bearings on the people of Ibiono Ibom including massive innovation of schools, hospitals; building of electrification and water projects in communities that had dire need. His ascension to the assembly helped many indigenes of the State Constituency to gain permanent employment into the state public service, while students enjoyed enormous scholarship from local government, state, national as well as foreign aids for students in secondary schools and Tertiary Institutions.
As House Committee Chairman, Honourable Idorenyin James Umo identified and spearheaded some abandoned and corked oil and gas wells in the state, a situation that made unbearable to citizens of those communities, he waded into productive action by drawing the attention of the government and relevant companies and some actions were taken and the suffering of the people of those areas were alleviated.
As one of the leading voices in the assembly at that legislative year, Honourable Idorenyin James Umo also waded into the abuse and marginalization of Akwa Ibom indigenes working in the Exxon Mobil, the resultant effect of this effort was the immediate promotion of Akwa Ibom Indigenes to senior managerial positions, which today, that effort has elevated an Akwa Ibom son to the enviable height as Vice Chairman of the Corporation who worked diligently and retired honorably.
Honourable Idorenyin James Umo, a native of Ekimbuk in Ibiono Ibom local government area, graduated from the prestigious University of Lagos in 1987with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. Aside from formal education, Umo had attended workshops, seminars, conferences and trainings within and outside Nigeria, which gave him a wide range of exposure in leadership, business and governance. Involved in numerous civic and charitable organizations, he is also a member of the Board of Directors of IBBIL Computers, created to designate a new level of internationally important ICT world, defined by elegance and attention to details.
Umo is married to UduakAbasi Idorenyin Umo (Nee Miss UduakAbasi Monday Ekpuk) of Ikot Afaha Eket with whom the marriage is blessed with three children (two boys and one girl).
In 2011, Mr. Umo emerged as the flag bearer of the Labour Party and contested for the governorship of Akwa Ibom State with “Idorenyin 2011…God with us” as a slogan. This indeed, was a dream defined for an accepted moment.
In his soliloquizing moment, Mr. Umo always assured self in optimism, “one day; I will be governor of this great state”. Whenever he mused among very close associates about running for the office of governor especially in his youthful age, those moments were widely dismissed as publicity stunts, but in reality, the time for the long awaited dream is now that the entire state yearns for a man with credentials, idealistic activities, very focused without detractive tendency, humane in character, fair but fame in disposition, which attributes are found in Honourable Idorenyin James Umo. Fortunate enough and in tandem with Divine timing, the office of the governor of Akwa Ibom State has been politically and Divinely zoned to Itu/Ibiono Federal Constituency in Uyo Senatorial District in 2023 and Idorenyin Akwa Ibom is here to build upon the efforts of past leaders, ranging from the era of the Military administrators to the pioneer democratically elected governor of Obong Akpan Isemin to the cerebral Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel. He comes with the spirit of creating millions of new jobs to Akwa Ibos people, making businesses thrive, giving hope to the hopeless, efficiently utilize funds due the state while economically and liberally distributing them for the good of the state, building the decrepit wall of the state, re-uniting the people of the state as one indivisible people. It is the avowed commitment and Divine contract with God and social contract with the people of the state that he will not dabble into the allocation that are meant for the development of local government but ensures that those funds are used by the players of the grassroots government for concomitant development.
Mr. Umo will harness the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) tools to ensure that all schools in the state are fully equipped with computer laboratory, according to him, ‘a primary three child should be able to understand and operate computer independently’. Apart from making education attracted to students in the state, he is quoted on Newsfront Newspapers to promising to restore the fallen standard in education, “as far as education is concerned, we have lost generations and I have the key to bringing it back to our children”.
Hon. Umo, himself a born again Christian who constantly affirmed that he cannot deny God, cannot deny his faith in God and cannot deny the integrity he has built over the years in the altar of governance but promised to uphold it by giving effective and God-fearing leadership to Akwa Ibom people with diligence, sincerity, humility and with all sense of responsibility, “I have integrity and I will try to preserve it”.
As a homegrown politician and widely traveled entrepreneur that Akwa Ibom people desire as the next governor, Umo’s focus is to replicate the development strategies of Dubai, China, Singapore; security and agricultural might of Israel while the Rwandan model of leadership would be the Akwa Ibom experience if given the opportunity of serving as governor come 2023 at the Hilltop Mansion under the platform of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).