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Hall of Fame

Profile of Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Quote John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, quipped:“As we express our gratitude, we are mindful...

Written by Nigerian Image · 10 min read >
Profile of Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Quote

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, quipped:“As we express our gratitude, we are mindful that our highest appreciation lies in works than in words”.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

This should remind us that our service to our generation lies in works, therefore this inclusion is here to bring to us service of Governor Udom Emmanuel to his generation, before and now that he is the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State.


Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel was born on July 11, 1966. He has come a long way to where he is today. He is an Akwa Ibom son from Awa Iman in Onna Local Government Area, born to a Christian family of Mr. Gabriel Emmanuel Nkanang, a retired Head Master. He has spent most of his career in the banking sector of the economy, starting with the  internationally renowned audit firm, Price Water House Coopers, 1988-1994, from where he rose to the position of Audit Manager – Financial Services – before his sojourn in the banking sector for close to 20 years. His sustained momentum in the banking sector had been remarkable, where he gained most of the experiences and exposures that have made him who he is today. He is a promise for excellence, a man of integrity who was spotted early by Diamond Bank Plc in 1994, but exploited by Zenith Bank Plc in 2006 for a board member position, which he held, even as he moved to take up appointment as the Secretary to the State Government of Akwa Ibom State.

Educational Background

After his primary and secondary school education, he prepared for his “A” levels examination at the school of Arts and Science, Uyo, which he sat for and passed in 1981. He proceeded to the University of Lagos and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Second Class Honour, Upper Division in 1988. He moved on for the Master of Science Degree in Corporate Governance at Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.

Because of his appetite for knowledge, he found it necessary to enrol in some prestigious and frontline business schools around the world at different times to be exposed and be grounded in many areas that his job in this competitive age would demand.

This man of destiny is armed to his teeth, and has dug deep to stay in tune with time and demands of any office, private or public. Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel is an accomplished Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), since 2005, and an Associate of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (ACIT). 

Udom’s Governorship Aspiration

The then Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, in his search for the best and the right size for his political and governorship shoes, found Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel to be that size to take over from him. 

Naturally, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel’s presence and intention to contest the governorship position caused a lot of brouhaha in the polity, and for governorship aspirants, on the PDP platform, in particular. Very many aspirants came out for that one position and after the primaries on December 8, 2014, the dust of uneasiness had settled down with many still bitter and angry. Many saw his presence as a threat and maintained that he was from outside the PDP family. The opposition party in the State, APC, also found it so difficult to accept defeat in the governorship election thereby moving from one court to the other for redress until the Supreme Court handed down its judgment to douse the contention.

Udom’s Leadership Style

Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel’s approach to anything he has to do is very technocratic as he strives to run an all-inclusive and proactive government. He is a man that upon all the uproar that trailed his appearance, had not remotely or otherwise resorted to tribal or any primordial appeals, stereotyping or primitive jingoism in any situation he found himself. This is Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, unshaken once he is convinced that what he is doing is right. He is a leader, and indeed the type Akwa Ibom State needs now.

Governor Udom Emmanuel is a man who is known to have served and is serving his generation in remarkable ways. This is to say that even before he became the Governor, he had touched many lives positively and consistently through the utilization of his experience, exposure and wealth of knowledge in corporate settings for the development of our State and great country in general. For example, as a great lover of knowledge that he is, in 2014, when he got to know that his friends and associates were planning to celebrate his birthday, he had to halt it, but rather advised the money be spent to fix school desks and other educational materials for public schools in the state. According to him, he believes that education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive, easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.

He is a man who does not leave any stone unturned by digging deep to climb higher in whatever he gets on to do. The Zenith Bank where Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel was spotted had been in the top list of 13 Nigerian banks that made the list of top 1000 World Banks as published by the Bankers magazine of the Financial Times Group in its 2014 edition, the second year of sustaining that feat. The same Zenith Bank PLC was ranked top in Nigeria at 293 position based in Tier-1 capital. This man was not just any staff of Zenith Bank PLC, but an active player who contributed immensely towards the achievement of the above-mentioned rankings.

Udom and His Banking Career

He has been well prepared to make these achievements through courses and Executive Management Programmes at enviable Business Schools across the world. He had studied in the prestigious London Business School for Advance Leadership Management Programme, at Insead France for Advance Management Programme (AMP); at Harvard Business School, a frontline Business School in the United States of America, studying Negotiation and Competitive Decision Making, and at Columbia Business School, New York, also in the United States of America, for training in Executive Leadership.

To consolidate himself in Banking and Business, he studied Enterprise Risk Management and Basel 11 at Dun and Bradstreet; Strategic Thinking and Management for Competitive Advantage at the Wharton Business School, United States of America. He had also, at various times, undertaken courses in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as well as Risk Management: Asset and Liability Management at Euro-money, London.

Udom Fits Akpabios Shoe

Chief (Dr.) Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, wanted someone he could be sure would maintain the momentum of his developmental strides, to take Akwa Ibom State to the next highest height. He believes in putting things in place today that are capable and fit to solve tomorrow’s problems. It is certain that man can disappoint you anyway, as the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9 that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it”?  But the man, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, is some sort of a different breed. He is a man of his word and holds his integrity very close to his heart. Wherever he finds himself, he meaningfully contributes to the development of such organization, tied to his belief that you should not leave any organization the same way you met it. By his antecedents, he is a picture of everything and anything good, a man tested and proven, imbued with financial discipline needed to successfully run a state.

To confirm that he can deliver, his various appointments, postings and responsibilities add credence for his stepping out to serve his beloved state. With the wide range of academic and professional accomplishments to his credit, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel had served and gained experience and valuable exposures in the Banking and Business sector of the Nigerian economy. He worked at Price WaterHouse, Coopers from 1988-1994, an international repute accounting and management firm. He was appointed audit Manager-financial services of the company. His service in the banking sector exposed him to: led Audit-financial services: corporate Business Analysis and Advisory: corporate Business Development as well as corporate Tax consultancy and Tax planning and Advisory services. The promise and can-do spirit was spotted early by Diamond Bank Plc. which took him in, as head, Special Projects Department, responsible for Multilateral Agency Projects, including International Development Fund (IDF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). These responsibilities took him from 1994-1995.

Udom’s Positions at Zenith Bank

As the journey in the Banking Industry was showing to be the route to his destination, he was penciled down by Zenith Bank Plc for a Board appointment. In 2006, he was appointed Executive Director of Zenith Bank Plc, a position he occupies till date. His other board appointments included: Non-Executive Director, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), 2010 – date and Director, Nigeria Inter-Banks settlement System (NIBBS) 2009-2011.The brilliance of Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel in delivery of his services stood him out in a vantage position for additional appointments as Non-Executive Director of Zenith Bank in countries like Zenith Bank UK, Zenith Bank Gambia, and Zenith Bank Sierra Leone.

He further served in the same position for Zenith Insurance, Zenith Pension and Custodian, Zenith Securities, Zenith Trustees and Zenith Registrars.Additional feathers on the wings of Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel’s credentials include corporate strategy planning, International investor Relations, oil and gas sector, Infrastructure and power sector, multinational conglomerates and private Banking (MCP), as well as Telecommunication sector.  He has also served in the following committees: Executive management committee, senior management committee, credit committee, Asset and Liabilities committee, staff committee, Exception committee, Audit and risk management committee as well as Nomination and Governance committee. Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, in this long and eventful journey of life, has for 17 years been actively involved in diverse banking responsibilities and key decision making processes, all of which prepared him for the position of Governor of Akwa Ibom State. When Diamond Bank Plc engaged Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, it looked unusual that he could be given an executive portfolio of Head, Special Projects, taking responsibility for Multilateral Agency projects including International Development Fund (IDF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), with responsibilities to deal with international funding and packaging. But this happened. This position brought him in contact with different types of organizations, individuals and governments, arming him to the teeth with immense competence to serve his state.

That a self-made man, with no godfather, but through sheer merit and sound track record in his career development, had been able to achieve all these reveals the extent of his competence, excellence and integrity. These offices he held which went with myriad responsibilities do, hence, paint a picture of his service to his generation and nation.

Americans went to the moon through the inspiration of one man, a hazardous adventure but with boldness, faith and asking for blessings from God, they succeeded, while Russia which started before them, till today has not been able to match that feat. Akwa Ibomites coming together, working together with able leadership of Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, can be inspired to reach out for our moon, doing better than those that had been there before us. Governor Udom Emmanuel is what I call a Mix Grill of competencies: a man of action, a man of integrity, knowledgeable, well connected, locally and internationally with noticeable record of accomplishment and passion for positive impact.

“The beautiful ones are not yet born”, but for now, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel is here, a square peg in a square hole, a role model, a Mixed Grill, and Melting Pot of competencies and very distinguished leader.

Udom’s Dakkada Initiative

The “Akwa Ibom Dakkada” initiative, his brainchild, can be said to be akin to the inspirational words of President John F. Kennedy to Americans which he also stood by to undertake that most hazardous adventure to unknown celestial body that man had ever undertaken. The character and greatness of Akwa Ibom and its people is being weighed in the balance of “Akwa Ibom Dakkada” creed, brainstormed and impeccably crafted by one man, Governor Udom Emmanuel, who sees that something needs to be done to rescue the soul and spirit of our greatness before things badly slip out of hand. The time is now, let us progress with this personality.

Udom’s Famous Speech During His Governorship Aspiration

Governor Udom Emmanuel presented himself like any other seriously hopeful to lead his State would do on October 21, 2014 in Uyo stadium, by introducing himself thus:

“Fellow Akwa Ibom citizens, I humbly present myself, by the Grace of God, as that humble servant dedicated to service and committed to lifting Akwa Ibom into the comity of highly industrialized States. I am passionate about an all-round development and continuous transformation of the State.  I am passionate about wealth creation for our people, I am passionate about industrialization and economic development, and above all, I am passionate about the well-being of our people on a sustainable basis.  I hereby present myself to be that force of change that will galvanize all Akwa Ibom people, irrespective of ethnic stock, religion or political affiliation, and create a springboard on which our people will ride to unprecedented levels of economic well-being and development. I hereby present my credentials as testimonial of my capacity and preparedness for this assignment for which I solicit your endorsement.

I am a Chartered Accountant by training and Banker by Profession.  I have over 25 years of experience in Nigeria’s financial services sector, creating and managing wealth.  As a young Ibibio man without a godfather, I rose through the ranks in one of Nigeria’s leading and most dynamic financial institutions, where I served with loyalty, dedication and integrity.  I exited Zenith Bank Plc. as Executive Director, Corporate Finance and Advisory Services with an unblemished record.

I am widely traveled with a network of friends in many of the world’s major financial capitals.  I am a family man, devoted to my wife and children and committed to serving my community.

I am a motivator to many, a challenger of the seemingly insurmountable situations; with a track record of performance on every assignment I have been given.

At every opportunity, I have been privileged to serve it has been with utmost diligence, humility, integrity and a passion for excellence.  My unblemished career scorecard in the banking sector is a testimony to my integrity and professionalism.

This is indeed a historic moment for Akwa Ibom.  It will mark the transition from a most distinguished administration, which has set an impeccable record in governance in Nigeria, to another epoch-making era.  The succeeding administration must consolidate the gains of the past, sustain the legacies that have been built at great cost and build on this strong foundation that has been laid.

It is time to move Akwa Ibom to a higher level, to raise the bar of economic development and industrialization to a higher pedigree.  It is time to put a capable man on the saddle of development.  It is time to put a round peg in that round hole, a time to turn our dream to reality.

I humbly offer myself as that bridge between our dream and our reality.  I offer myself as the right choice for the continuous transformation and economic development of our people.  I offer myself as the right choice in this God-ordained mandate to take Akwa Ibom to the Promised Land. I offer myself as the right choice to further transform our dear State into a State of our dreams, good enough to bequeath to our children, and in fact the future generations.

I once again call on you all, to please empower me with your mandate, and I promise you that, together, we will demonstrate to the world that with God all things are possible.  This I believe we can and together; it will be done.

I trust that you will make the right choice by choosing Udom Emmanuel as your next Governor of Akwa Ibom State, come 2015 because UDOM IS RIGHT. God bless Akwa Ibom State. God bless Nigeria.”

This was heart-warming; a message of hope crafted and sieved into humility for a new eventful epoch in the history of our great State, and he has proved it, a true service to his generation.

Udom As Akwa Ibom State Secretary

Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel in the discharge of his duty as the Secretary to the state Government of Akwa Ibom state is that, “He displayed an uncanny character, stoic appearance, deeply touched mien, and yet amiably disposed to everyone who comes in contact with him. He is a thoroughly developed mind with a sound vision, a composed personality whose mind is totally free of malice and prejudice, with no room for any compartmentalization. His type of politics of conviviality of development of love stands him out as a statesman” are statements truthfully painted, going by his antecedents and law of attraction glaringly reflective on his person, drawing droves of people to go with him, not necessarily that it is where they would want to go or ought to be, but because of the person right there at the driver’s seat. This is a sign of a great leader.

Udom’s Project

Moment he was sworn-in on May 29, 2015 he went into action intervening in existing and new projects in the State to give human face to his government. He has done so well in the past four years as the Governor of this State. It is believed that he will leave a landmark to be always remembered for after his second term in office. In fact, he has made impressionable impact in service to his generation on record right from when he was in the private sector and now that he is serving his people.

Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel is an enterprising person, a sound administrator, visionary leader, an upright man and inspiration to the youths, a pride to Akwa Ibom and Nigeria at large. He deserves the Award of Honour as a Distinguished Nigerian and his excellent name printed in gold in the HALL OF FAME of the Nigerian Image. 

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