Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Elder Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo: The story of a giver-leader

Elder Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo: The story of a giver-leader

It was the 33rd President of the United States of America, Harry S. Truman who said, “In a period where there is no leadership, society stands still”. He added that “Progress occurs when courageous and skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better”. 

In Ikono Local Government Area, the immortal words of the deceased US President and statesman ring true. For some years now, since the demise of their former Political leader, the Late Prophet Monday Udo Inyang, the area was at a stand-still politically as they were without a political leader to light the path for them. 

During this sad era, various individuals laid subtle as well as overt claims to the political leadership seat of the area, but none had the explicit blessings of the leadership of the local chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which is constitutionally empowered to choose and adopt a political leader for the area or that of a cross section of the political class. “Since the late Prophet Monday Udo-Inyang left this divide, I have not held any meeting to adopt neither have I  empowered anyone to adopt or appoint anyone as the political leader of Ikono local Government area”, Chief Etim Inyang, the Ikono PDP Chapter Chairman   stated recently at the extended executive meeting of the local chapter of PDP. 

All that changed when a thoroughbred Occupational Safety and Health consultant and a chartered Safety and Health Practitioner with double digit number of years experience in the oil, gas and shipping industry of the country and beyond, the Regional Quality, Health, safety and Environmental QHSE Manager of Orlean Invest, West Africa Limited and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Macaire Resort, No 47 Old Itu Road, Ikot Ekpene, Elder Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo arrived the political science of the area. In just a few years of his active political involvement, Macaire as he is popularly called, has used his courageous leadership skills to steer the area’s political ship calming its once upon a time tumultous divides. Today, there is uncommon progress in the area as all contending political divides have collapsed under the leadership of Elder Ukpong-Udo   

Within the political terrain of Ntippe Ibibio and beyond, the name Macaire is one that rings loud and clear. Whether one takes interest in active politics or not, visits home regularly or not, the positive contributions of the large- hearted entrepreneur cum philanthropist are sure to reverberate to them. As at last count, the Port-Harcourt  based HSE Professional has facilitated direct employment for over 300 indigenes of the state into the lucrative oil and Gas sector, bought over 70 cars for many other teeming youths and elder, provided huge financial assistance and capacity building to many more as well as engaged others in diverse skill acquisition programmes. 

Nothing from his humble beginnings in Ndiya/Usung Ikot Idaha, would suggest that the young Emmanuel who today bestrides the area’s political science like a colossus. He did not allow his beginnings to deter him as the young Macaire upon his graduation from the University of Uyo went in search of the Golden Fleece in the oil and Gas Industry. Between 1995-2002, he worked in the HSE departments of many multi-national organizations and held sensitive positions in most of them like the CGG limited, the GTZ limited, the LYK Corporation, among many other multi-nationals. 

By 2002, the impressive  work ethic and HSE proficiency of the Ntippe  Ibibio born oil worker caught the eye of the foremost  oil giants, Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited, SPDC and they signed him up to become their Senior HSE Adviser, a position he used to secure employment for many Akwa Ibomites. While at his SPDC beat, Mr Ukpong-Udo developed and implemented a whole new Safety Management System for the foremost oil multi-national and its subsidiaries in-line with required international standards and best practice. 

Between 2003-2006, the large hearted HSE professional was on the payroll of Intels Nigeria Limited as its QHSE Manager, another position of tremendous authority where his professional competence was again in copious display. Suffice to say the truck-load of Akwa-Ibomites who today work in the company are there courtesy of this Ikono born professional. 

In 2006, Mr Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo’s quest for more challenging positions saw him engaged in HSE department of Balfour Beatty Utilities Limited, United Kingdom and in the same year moved onto Orleans Invest West Africa as the Regional QHSE Manager, a position he is still occupying. His work schedule includes carrying out technical HSE audits, training of HSE officers, developing  and managing of HSE documentations, manuals and standard operating procedures, conducting. Risk Assessment and HAZOP studies for all projects prior to Construction and during the development phases.  

Despite conquering the oil, Gas and shipping industries as well as securing direct employment for hundreds of youths, Mr Ukpong-Udo who also holds a Masters of Science (MSC) in Occupational and Environment Health and Safety Management from the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom was still not satisfied with his contributions to the society. This led him to establish one of the fastest growing hospitality outfits in the state, Macaire Resort, 47a Old Itu road, Ikot-Ekpene, a 3- star outfit that has further helped to reduce the un-employment gulf in the state. 

Even with Macaire Resort in place, the passion to be of greater service to his people was still very strong and un-quenchable and as such the frontline philanthropist pitched his tent with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. First, he had since gone to his ward, Ndiya/ Usung Ikot Idaha Ward 8 and registered, and had remained a valuable asset to the party both at the ward, chapter and state level.  

It was however during the build-up to the 2015 General Elections that the pivotal role of the philanthropist per excellence in the Party further came to the fore. He supported not a few of the candidates from the party across the state both financially and morally in the General Elections, but it was in his home local Government, Ikono, that the philanthropist’s benevolence was in full throttle as he not only invested heavily in financing the elections he played a leading role in harmonizing all the political wards and interest groups in the local government, a role which resulted in the landslide victory of the party at the polls. 

Throughout the electioneering, Macaire was visible across the length and breadth of the local Government, holding meetings with various stakeholders  and interest groups, douling out  the much needed finances to party officials and agents, setting up logistical  framework and support for the monitoring  of the elections, touring the various polling units to meet with the political footsoliders and lots more. Today, Ikono local Government is PDPish courtesy of the stupendous commitment and  strides of the Ntippe Ibibio philanthropist. 

Little wonder that shortly after the elections, the political stakeholders of the area decided to honour the philanthropist cum political strategist who had metamorphosed into a major financier and power-broker within the Ikono PDP. It was his kith and kin, the people of Ndiya /Usung  Ikot Idaha who make up Ikono Ward 8 that met through their political elders and stakeholders on Saturday, April 25 to unanimously appoint him as the political leader of the ward. In a communiqué signed at the end of the enlarged General meeting, the PDP Ikono ward 8 listed a long catalogue of Elder Ukpong-Udo’s contributions to the growth of the Party in the ward as reasons that make him eminently qualified to lead them. 

As the philanthropist cum political strategist was trying to assimilate the pleasant news, another pleasantly surprising news broke that he had been unanimously adopted as the  substantive political leader of Ikono local Government Area by the PDP leadership of the area. Part of the communiqué  of the extended executive meeting of the Ikono PDP meeting held on Saturday 2nd May 2015 that confirmed the adoption  reads, “The Collective leadership of the PDP, Ikono chapter on grounds of strength, trust and commitment exhibited by an outstanding son of Ikono Local Government in areas of community development, human capacity empowerment, employment  generation… and with the party being satisfied with the  numerous contributions of the General Manager, Intels W/A Ltd and Managing Director, Macaire Resort, Elder Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo do hereby appoint him the SUBSTANTIVE POLITICAL LEADER of Ikono LGA” 

When viewed from the fact that since the exit of their late Political leader,  Ikono LGA had not had a substantive political leader, keen political  watchers had expected an opposition of some sorts to the adoption of Elder Ukpong-Udo. But surprisingly, rather than oppose the adoption, the Ntippe Ibibio political stakeholders and grass-rooters alike are in full support of entrepreneur. 

Only recently on Thursday 7th May 2015, the Ikono Legislative Council via a resolution towed the line of PDP elders and faithful in Ikono ward 8 and local chapter by also adopting Elder Ukpong-Udo as the political leader of the area. In a motion moved and seconded by the Majority Leader Hon. Solomon Akpan and the Majority Whip, Hon Moses Akpan , the House unanimously resolved that  the large hearted philanthropist  was the substantive Political leader of the area. 

Many other interest groups and politically minded associations have towed the line of the legislative Council and as last check, there is no dissenting voice to Elder Ukpong-Udo’s leadership of the PDP in Ikono L.G.A.

 Given the wide acceptability of his nomination, it behooves the new political leader to carry all political divides in the local Government along, all views and voices must be heard, the party structure and machinery need to be re-engineering and positioned for better results especially as the local Government elections draw near. Thankfully, the Political Leader recognizes this and has already begun the process.  He has promised to single-handedly build a befitting permanent party secretariat for the Party within six months once a piece of land is been allocated to him. He has also promised to continue in empowering the party faithful so as to make them self- reliant and resourceful. 

There can be no gain emphasizing the fact that the emergence of Elder Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo as the substantive Political Leader of Ikono Local Government Area is a loud testimony of his wide acceptability across the length and breadth of the area. With Elder Ukpong-Udo leading the Ikono PDP chapter, better times and greater tidings await the political faithful of the area.

 Congratulations, our brand new Political leader. More Grace. More Years….

No comments:

Post a Comment