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Portrait Of Dr. Umanaette Udoh

A citation on the gentleman, Umanaette Udoh, is awe-inspiring. His towering image is due to his qualifications, depth and finesse in the intricate field of accounting, economics, public administration, et al. What is more, in the financial circle, he is easily reckoned with the sobriquet of Mr Finance Expert and Intelligentsia.

Born in Ukan-Akama community, Edem Aya Clan in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Umanaette attended a primary school in his community before moving on to Nigerian Christian Secondary School, Ukpom, Abak Local Government Area, where he obtained his West Africa School Certificate (WASC).

Burning with passion as someone cut out for academics and success, he journeyed outside Nigeria to the United States of America for further studies. He was admitted to study Accounting at the prestigious College of Business Administration, Texas Tech University and other institutions. His academic dreams materialized in colours. In no distant time, Umanaette Udoh, Ph.D., became a certified public accountant, USA; chartered accountant, Nigeria; chartered tax practitioner; chartered fraud examiner; chartered mediator and conciliator; certified trainer; certified business solutions provider and management consultant; Bank of Industry of Nigeria-certified business development service provider; business advisor and business coach.

He is the first person of the black race to bag Masters of Science in Accounting from the prestigious College of Business Administration, Texas Tech University in Texas; a product of Delliote, Haskins and Sells – a Big eight-firm of Certified Public Accountants, USA, where he was the only “Black-face Guy” during the 1979 award ceremony of Certified Public Accountants in Houston, Texas.

The young Umanaette in the ’80s was an assistant professor of accounting, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas. On returning to Nigeria, a country he loves so much, after gainful employment in private and public sectors in the USA, he became director of finance and accounts at the Nigerian National Shipping Lines Ltd (NNSL), where he was seconded to the United Kingdom West Africa Lines Ltd, a consortium of 13 European/West African Lines (UKWAL), headquartered in Liverpool, United Kingdom, where he served as deputy general manager, Finance and Administration.

On his return from the foreign service in the UK to the Nigerian National Shipping Lines Ltd, he was instrumental in securing a 30 million US Dollar facility for NNSL from the National Maritime Authority of Nigeria.

When the democratic government was installed in Akwa Ibom State, with His Excellency, Obong Akpan Isemin as governor, Umanaette Udoh, propelled by his love for the state, joined the State Civil Service as accountant-general. He was in love with Obong Isemin’s dream and passion to combat and destroy “Etok syndrome” from the psyche of Akwa Ibomites. And happily, Umanaette is still promoting the war against “Etok syndrome” as put forward by the erstwhile governor.

As accountant-general, one may ask, what did Umanaette do for Akwa Ibom State and her people? The battle of onshore/offshore oil dichotomy was won, thanks to the grace of God Almighty and the wisdom of late Governor Akpan Isemin, which saw the state’s share of monthly derivation revenue go up from N450,000 to N8 million. Then Umanaette was faced with and had to tackle head-on the thorny issues of “Determination, Computation, Negotiation” with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and Recovery of Arrears, which accumulated since the inception of oil dichotomy issue. Umanaette did his job satisfactorily and successfully secured for Akwa Ibom the arrears in full.

Another task faced by the former accountant-general was rising to the occasion to ensure that the issue of the absence of Akwa Ibom State House in Abuja was addressed. An imposing edifice needed to be built in Nigeria’s Federal Capital to serve as a meeting point for Akwa Ibom State government and its people to carry out various economic, political and social transactions with other states, personalities, diplomats, groups, and agencies within and outside the country geared towards the development of the state.

With financial sagacity of Umanaette in office as accountant general, the state was able to complete and furnish, within two years, the Akwa Ibom House, which became a major landmark in the ’90s in the Central Business District, Abuja.

Thirdly Umanaette went on to negotiate and settle all indebtedness owed by state government companies to banks along with ensuring the acquisition of the Anchor Insurance House, a major office edifice on Aka Road in the centre of Uyo. For his interest for the workers of Akwa Ibom State, then came the implementation of the National Housing Fund Scheme introduced by Act 2 of 1992. He, in his capacity as the then accountant-general, ensured that all state employees were registered under the scheme. This scheme, if it was implemented as enshrined in the Act, would have led to a substantial number of workers owning their houses.

On economic development and job creation, the former accountant-general after retirement from service has created and is still creating a noticeable impact in the state and beyond. In Akwa Ibom, he floated a business outfit – Sun Centre – which has become a household name. An addition to the Sun Centre staple is Sun Centre Digital Academy – which provides “Digital Access Education, Training and Certifications on Microsoft Imagine Academy, Cisco Academy and Oracle Academy platforms.

A lover of education, he has awarded scholarships to several youths to study in various institutions of learning in the state, believing strongly that education is a panacea to self-development.

In the area of politics, Dr Umanaette Udoh naturally is not a “shouting politician”. Like a statesman, he plays politics with decorum, supporting the government in power to succeed, not minding whether or not he is rewarded, provided that the government does what is right for the masses. This is Dr Umanaette Udoh, a man of peace and a man who loves God.

For Governor Udom Emmanuel, Dr Umanaette says he is a God-send to Akwa Ibom State at this point. He maintains that “His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel has done a lot for the state. People may not appreciate what he has done so far but many will praise him when he leaves office. Take roads for example. Today one can live in any local government area of the state and work in Uyo. Many industries have been built and more are coming. If electricity was under the control of the state, I am sure Akwa Ibom State would have close to 24 hours of electricity by now.

Read Also: Governor Udom Emmanuel Has Inspired Excellence In Governance, Development – Akparawa Godwin Ntukudeh, Ph. D

According to the financial expert, “on human capital development, within the last two years, about 100 accountants have qualified and joined our prestigious profession as chartered accountants courtesy of His Excellency’s Uyo ICAN training support scheme.”

With a note of finality, he adds: “Let’s give kudos to Governor Udom Emmanuel, wish him well and give him the necessary support to finish his Completion Agenda.”

With his enduring legacies, Dr Umanaette Udoh is surely among the Nigerian personalities in the honours roll of achievers for outstanding contributions to the development of their various states and country through professional expertise and services.

Dr Umanaette Udoh is happily married to Obonganwan Mary and the marriage is blessed with children.

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