May 28, 2022
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2023: The Kind Of Successor Akwaibomites Want- Micheal Okon

On 29th May 2021 when His Excellency Deacon Udom Emmanuel celebrated his Administration’s 6th Anniversary, the Champion of the Dakkada philosophy took time to ask Akwaibomites the kind of  Successor they want and I quote:

“Let me now ask you my dear Akwaibomites: Do you want a successor who will cancel out all the great strides in industrialization we have started? The peace we currently enjoy and return us to the years when violence and kidnapping reigned and sowed fear in the hearts and minds of the people? Do you want a successor who will come with anger towards all we have done, as opposed to continuing with the great works we have started? Do you want a leader whose approach to testing his popularity would be to drive in a long convoy to “Ibom Plaza” and throw money at the hapless people, watching them scramble for the money and the people would say that’s “Ano owo Mkpo”! Is that the kind of a successor you want? Is that the kind of empowerment our people deserve? Someone who will bring out the worst in our youths rather than challenge them to seize the future and unleash their potentials? Do you want a successor who will relegate God to the background and assume an all-knowing power?”
Extract from Gov Udom Emmanuel’s 6th Anniversary text May 29th 2021

Few days ago we started an appetizer on possible contenders for the Hill Top Mansion, an attempt to provide answers to the pertinent question a great leader often ask before handing over the destiny of his people. Today we shall peruse through  another abridged profile of the Kind of servant leader Akwaibomites should desire for the plum job come 2023. He is a Professional par Excellence, a thorough-bred achiever with indelible marks in the stands of time. A technocrat of no mean repute, as you peruse through this servant leader tick the boxes where it applies and at the end you will agree with me that this is the kind of Successor we deserve. Ladies and gentlemen, beloved Akwaibomites I give to you;

The Executive Chairman
Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service (AKIRS)

Mr. Okon E. Okon, a well-groomed and seasoned administrator with over 32 years industry experience in both private and public sectors, was appointed by our Governor and great visioner, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, in 2017 as the pioneer Executive Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service with specific mandate to turn-around that critical institution – a mission which, by the grace of God, he has thus far executed diligently, successfully and with exemplary integrity.

Further to his chain of outstanding performance and commendable accomplishment in banking and the ongoing repositioning of AKIRS as an autonomous government agency, he was again recently appointed by Akwa Ibom State Governor, His Excellency Mr. Udom Emmanuel in January 2021 as a member of the Board of Directors of Akwa Savings and Loans Ltd, the state-owned mortgage bank on another turn around mission.

Mr. Okon, a native of Uruan Local Government Area where he also attended his primary and secondary education, obtained his first degree in Economics with 2nd class upper grade from the University of Cross River State, now University of Uyo, in 1988.

He served the nation during his National Youth Service with the Guardian Newspapers Group in Lagos in 1988/1989, where he excelled in finance reporting. Thereafter he started a flourishing career in banking and attended robust executive courses and continuing professional education in many leading Business Schools globally including Harvard Business School – Boston, Wharton Business School – Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School – New York, Euromoney – London, IDI – Dublin and Lagos Business School – Lagos.  The trainings cut across Business Leadership, Executive Management, Administration, Financial Management, Negotiation, Contemporary Business Development Strategy, Change Management and Sustainable Governance.

Successor Akwaibomites Want
Successor Akwaibomites Want

In addition, he has a Masters Degree in Economics and an MBA, both from the University of Lagos.

Furthermore, he has participated in many international and local Tax Conferences including Andersen International Tax Conference at Dubai in Oct 2019 and Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA) 40th Annual Technical Conference at Penang, Malaysia in November 2019 in which he presented group report on Shadow Economy & Taxes: Issues & Challenges.

He has to his credit about 30 years of highly rewarding career experience in Banking & Finance (especially in Corporate Finance & Investment, Treasury, Mortgage, Trade, Retail and MSME banking) with impressive performance trail. Of the 30 years, 21 were in senior management positions including 3 years as the pioneer MD/CEO of Omegabank Savings & Loans Ltd (Mortgage Bankers) and over 10 years as General Manager across 2 major commercial banks including Wema Bank Plc from where he joined public service of Akwa Ibom State.

Mr. Okon has benefited from extensive leadership exposure and has also acquired profound technical skills and capacity.  He is well-versed in public sector administration, corporate governance, management & general administration. He is pragmatic, proactive, agile, energetic, hands-on and endowed with good sense of executive judgment. He has a good working knowledge of the structure of the Nigerian economy and a bird’s eye view of the global outlook.

Hmmmm, let’s pause for a moment to insert another extract of His Excellency’s question to further guide our assessment of Mr Okon Okon:

“Do you want a leader who will fritter away our commonwealth in search of cheap popularity or one who would utilize the resources and continue investing in projects with enduring value? Do you want a successor who would see Government as a cabal where our commonwealth would be shared among a privileged few or do you desire a leader who would continue to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of our people, a successor who understands the economic dynamics that shape our globalized space and would utilize those skills to advance our well-being? These are questions you have to provide answers, and the answers you provide would determine the type of a successor you deserve.” Extract from Gov Udom Emmanuel’s 6th Anniversary text May 29th 2021

Mr. Okon, in spite of his robust career exposure and executive trainings locally and internationally, remains an epitome of humility in service, and more importantly, a servant of the Most High God, consistently striving to follow the footprints of his Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ in all areas of his callings and engagements as evidenced by his strong commitments to the service of God and humanity.

In 2009, persuaded by his strong entrepreneurial inclination, community spirit and financial services orientation, he led a team of investors of Akwa Ibom State extraction to establish Palmcoast Microfinance Bank in Uyo which currently is the leading indigenous Microfinance Bank in Akwa Ibom State. Strategically, over fifty households feeds from her employ, while multiple Small scale businesses across the State consistently takes advantage of the banks poverty alleviating schemes.

Akparawa Okon, though a highly successful technocrat and a thorough-bred professional, is very passionate about community and public service.  In appreciation of his sterling character, many communities, Christian denominations and Associations have honoured him with recognitions and awards of excellence/outstanding performance in various aspects of human endeavours including the recent ones from the Alumni of the Guardian Newspapers, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF), Etoi Clan in Uyo Local Government Area, Mosongo-Ibonda (Central Uruan) Clan in Uruan Local Government Area and Friend of Ukanafun Local Government Area.

Mr. Okon is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria a fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria and recently appointed as a Council Member of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, representing Joint Tax Board (a national body of all tax authorities in Nigeria).

Mr. Okon was a registered member of the Boys’ Brigade Nigeria Organization in his secondary school and became a patron in Boys’ Brigade Nigeria, 5th Shomolu Company, Methodist Church Nigeria, Igbobi, Lagos in 2001.

He is married to his dear wife, Barr. Mrs. Nkereuwem Okon and their marriage is blessed with 3 lovely children.

True Democracy is defined by the people,the choice of who becomes the next Governor of our dear state, the only state named after God should not be left in the hands of Professional politicians alone. You, yes you,I mean you should let your voice be heard because when the chips are down you will feel the impact of your choice and silence is also a choice.

Let’s attempt to conclude this piece with yet another quote from His Excellency’s 6th Anniversary text:

“So my dear Akawa Ibomites, if what you are desiring is a successor who will not have the capacity and the discipline to build a State where you and your children will live in peace and strive to excel, if you are desiring a successor who will turn back the clock of our developmental strides, if you are desiring a successor who will bring out the worst in our youths as opposed to galvanizing their energies and challenging them to be the best they can be, if you are desiring a leader who would not efficiently utilize the resources of this State on projects that have redeeming value then I am sorry to disappoint you, God will not give us such a successor.”- Extract from Gov Udom Emmanuel’s 6th Anniversary speech

Before us is the answer, the choice is ours. Mr Okon Okon has proven  his worth overtime, the magnificent work he is doing at the Akwa Ibom Internal Revenue services, the feats accomplished, the reforms that has improved our Internally generated revenue (IGR) for the public good is commendable. He that knows where,when and how to generate should naturally know the how,where and when to invest for a better Akwa Ibom State.

© Micheal Joseph Okon is a Public Affairs Analyst and writes

Successor Akwaibomites Want

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