OBONG UMANA OKON UMANA Was Also the AKWA IBOM STATE GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANT FOR 2015
He Was Born on 20th August, 1959, in Calabar, old Cross River State, Umana left no one in doubt about a future that will be coloured by hardwork and excellence. After the dislocation in his early life occasioned by the Civil War, he proceeded to Edgerly Memorial School in Calabar, to round off his primary education in 1971, with Distinction in the First School Leaving Certificate. Those who did not take him seriously began to pay him deserved attention after he repeated the same feat at College.
During his last year (1976) at St. Patrick’s College, Calabar, he not only scored Grade One in the West African School Certificate examinations, he also claimed the school’s Best Graduating Student Award for that year.
No one was surprised when he won the University of Calabar Foundation Scholarship in 1980, graduating with a prestigious Second Class Upper in B.sc. Economics. As has become his wont in every area of his life, he also sought and achieved the icing on the cake of an excellent academic career: An M.B.A in Finance from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Umana’s decision to have gone back to Rivers State for an M.B.A. is instructive. It might have been a way of discharging a lifelong nostalgia.
He actually started but could not complete his primary education in Port Harcourt, no thanks to the war. Again, known for his knack for knowledge, he has attended various Special Training Courses, home and abroad. Only a few should suffice here: Senior Executive Programme at London Business School (Feb. 2009); Columbia Senior Executive Program at Columbia Business School, Columbia University Graduate School of Business, New York (May 2002); Modernising Government at RIPA International, London (Nov. 2001) as well as Budgeting for Efficient Economic Management at National Centre for Economic Management & Administration (June, 1992).
These educational and training opportunities have no doubt made Umana, who holds a number of Chieftaincy Titles, the star performer he has been at the many positions of responsibility he has held.
Whether at the beginning of his work life, as an Industrial Attache at Champion Breweries from July to October, 1978; or as Research Assistant at the University of Calabar in 1979 sponsored by the Munich-Germany based I.F.O. Institute for Economic Research; or at Gajir City High School in Benue State where NYSC posted him as Instructor in Economics in 1980/81; through School of Basic Studies, Akamkpa in Cross River State which he joined as Lecturer III in August, 1981, rising quickly to Lecturer I in 1987; to Akwa Ibom State civil service which employed him as Principal Budget Officer in October, 1989, his bosses all saw in him someone qualified, capable, dependable, and meant for the top.
Which should explain one, why and how he clinched the Akwa Ibom State Public Service Award for Outstanding Performance in 1991; and two, why he was appointed to many Administrative Panels of Enquiry (eg. Member, Administrative Panel of Enquiry into management of Akwa Ibom State Property & Investment Ltd.); Inter-Ministerial (eg. Chairman, Inter-Ministerial Committee on Direct Labour Jobs as well as Chairman, Inter-Ministerial Committee on Micro-Credit); Steering (eg. Chairman, Steering Committee of Akwa Ibom State & World Bank Community-Based Urban Development Project); and sundry Committees of government (eg. Chairman, State Programme Coordinating Committee (SPCC) of United Nations Development Programme).
There’s no gainsaying the fact that he was in his element, most, during his civil service heyday. His meteoric rise to the position of State Director of Budget in just nine years, plus his appointment as Permanent Secretary in charge of Budget Office in October, 2000, are unassailable proofs of a life of hardwork, excellence and enterprise. He only retired from the Civil Service of his own volition three years later, when a higher position beckoned.
However, this should not be misconstrued to mean that Obong Umana Okon Umana is only an all-work person. On the contrary, the Civil Service Veteran is an all-rounder, a Jack of all trade and Master of all.
Politically, he was variously, Administrative Secretary of Social Democratic Party (SDP) for Ikono Local Government Area in 1990; Supervisory Electoral Officer for Etinan Local Government Area during the 1996 Local Government zero-party elections; Akwa Ibom State Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Finance, during the second term of Gov. Victor Attah (2003-2007); and has been Secretary to State Government since 2007, when Gov. Godswill Akpabio took over. A firm believer in accountable stewardship, he is Publisher of Ibom Diary, a bi-monthly pictorial magazine that captures human and physical developments by the Godswill Akpabio administration.
Furthermore, this proud son of Ndiya in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area whose hobbies include reading, chess, music and squash, is a known quantity within social circles. At different times, he served as President, Ibom Central Lions Club (1996/97); Region 12 Chair of Lions Club International (1999); and currently, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Chess Association. He is a proud member of one of Africa’s leading socio-cultural organisations, Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio.
Similarly, Obong Umana is a heavyweight in terms of his profession. The Finance and Economy Guru is a member of Nigeria Economic Society as well as Fellow, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.
This silent achiever, who always seeks to align with other stakeholders to make Akwa Ibom better, is married to Florence, and they have four children: Edikan, Kapnie, Nsikak and Imitoro!