By Essien Ndueso
If he was a coach of a football team, he would not have fared better than most premier league coaches. As a fan of Arsenal Football Club of England, he not only has the names of all registered footballers in the team’s squad, but also has the data of their capacities, capabilities and potentials. I once met him after a match Arsenal lost, and his analysis of the match and the players who ought to have been in the team, as well as those who had no business in the pitch made me wonder if he studied football as a discipline in school.
Sir Emem Akpabio, Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Ati Annang Foundation has been a natural leader and role model. He is a tactician, strategist, a philosopher and a philanthropist. His love for community service and his selfless contributions to the development of the society have been timeless, and these have been greatly responsible for the emergence of his country home in Ukana Ikot Ntuen–Essien Udim local government area, as a rallying point where several far reaching advocacies had been made in the interest of the state. For a man who supports, gives, donates and empowers freely at all times, without asking for any political patronage in return, and has never sought for political appointment or elective position, Sir Akpabio deserves a thumbs up. The annual Ukana Christmas Concert, the Ati Annang health, education and sports development programmes are parts of the results of the deep thinking and germane disposition of this gentleman.
Oh, did I say he is a counselor? Of course anyone who knows Sir Emem Akpabio’s home will know that he does not discriminate, but makes himself available to offer advice and motivation. Little wonder he is known as a leader of the boys or godfather by a large group of young people in the state. His international and national contacts have been the fulcrum of several business organisations springing up in the state in the recent past, and his insatiable love for sports has seen the springing up of private youth sports academies and the regular visits of several ex-internationals to his neck of the woods.
Beyond that, he is a lover of excellence and a great mobilizer. Sir Akpabio was at the vanguard for justice and equity in the state during the tortuous political journey to 2015. His insatiable love for excellence and his foresight are responsible for his emergence as one of the earliest supporters of the Divine Mandate Project of His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel, and he has remained one of the most avid supporters of the Governor’s life touching programmes, canvassing for supports for the Governor from all within and outside the state. He seldom speaks in public, being a believer in the adage that action speaks louder than words. But it is on record that Sir Emem Akpabio, is one who can force you to go to bed once you know the assignment is under his supervision. He is meticulous, diligent and highly brilliant when it comes to organizing and executing a task. In other words, he does not joke with his responsibilities in his care.
- Despite being highly placed as a statesman, one of the arrow heads in the downstream sector of the Nigerian economy, Sir Akpabio has remained a humble and God-fearing icon who is without doubt at peace with man and with God.
On a day like this, we remember the Grace of God, transmogrified into the birth of this amiable man.
Sir Akpabio, we cannot but join our faith with other positive-minded people and lovers of good things to celebrate you. The lives you have affected, the inspiration you have exuded and the love you have radiated, shall continue to remain catalysts for more blessings upon you.
Age gracefully the leader of the boyz!