It was a British Motivational Speaker, Henry King, who said that, “Second chances are meant not for the feeble minded, instead, for brave people, people who never gave up, but stood tall in their earlier assignments.”
It may no longer be news that Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel has forwarded the List of his new exco members to the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly for screening and confirmation and one of the distinguished personalities who has made the list is the humble Mr Akan., the immediate past Commissioner for Finance.
There is no gainsaying that the Akwa Ibom State, under the able leadership of Mr Udom Emmanuel has witnessed massive developmental strides, especially in the last seventeen months.
And one cannot take away the fact that the wave of unprecedented achievements currently being experienced in the State is being made possible through the forthrightness, efficiency, dedication, effectiveness and sincerity of some government appointees, past or present.
Undoubtedly, one of such government appointees is the Mr. Akan Okon, the immediate past Commissioner for Finance and Commissioner designate, a pragmatic, focused, and result-oriented chief servant, who remained resolute in his support for the current administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel, even after the dissolution of the State Executive.
Moreover, if democracy is truly the greatest gift to mankind, then, Mr. Akan Okon is truly the greatest gift to the people of Itu Local Government Area, the entire Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria in general.
Mr. Akan Okon is not only a successful financial connoisseur, but also a business manager extraordinare, who has remained a mentor and role model to many people, especially the youth, who desire to excel in their various fields of endeavour.
Interestingly, Mr. Akan Okon, in his many years of public and private service, has always exemplified qualities of the biblical Elisha, serving diligently, in whatever assignment he is saddled with, lending credence to the charge by the Holy Book in
Ecclesiastes 9:10A, that, “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”
As a the worthy Public Servant, Mr. Okon cut his teeth as a banker in his National Youth Service days, when he served in the Lagos Branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as Senior Supervisor, Loans and Advances Office between 1987 and
1988. He progressed in the Apex Bank to become the Assistant Manager of International Remittance Office, and quitted honourably, in 1992.
Upon his exit from the Central Bank, Okon found himself in another financial institution, First African Trust Bank, as the Deputy Manager, Treasury and Financial Institution Department and grew to become the Head of the Treasury Department. He later joined Standard Trust Bank, from where he left as the Area Manager-in-Charge of Calabar and Uyo in September 2002.
The dexterous Mr. Akan Okon later proceeded to First Atlantic Bank where he became the Head of Investment Banking of the Institution in 2006.
From First Atlantic Bank, he went to First Inland Bank as the Divisional Head, Investment Banking, and by 2009, he had climbed to the position of Area Executive in charge of the South-South Zone. Okon thereafter, founded Fantixis Investment and worked as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
As a golden fish in the waters of banking, the then Governor of Akwa Ibom State, now Senator Godswill Akpabio fished him out for service to the State, with his appointment as Commissioner for Economic Development in the Government of Akwa Ibom State in 2013.
It did not stop there. Mr. Okon in that appointment, also served as a member of the State Finance and General Purpose Committee. During a cabinet reshuffle, Mr. Okon switched position in the State Executive Council, from being the Commissioner for Economic Development to becoming the Commissioner for Finance.
In the new assignment, the financial expert was the Chairman of the State and Local Government Joint Derivation Committee; Chairman, State Micro-Credit Committee and member of the State Finance and General Purpose Committee.
Due to his competence and experience in Financial Management, it was not hard for Governor Udom Emmanuel, when he came on board in 2015, to select him to return as Commissioner in the Ministry of Finance.
From when he was appointed Commissioner, up until when the cabinet was dissolved, the Ministry of Finance headed by a consummate professional banker, an astute technocrat and a passionate Public Servant, Mr. Akan Okon, witnessed giant strides.
He helped tremendously in interpreting, financially, Governor Emmanuel’s excellent vision and peculiar programmes for the massive industrialisation of Akwa Ibom State.
While as Commissioner, Mr. Okon was constantly engaging his mind and intellect to formulate programs and policies that drive sustainable development to the State and when you transform challenges into solutions, when you achieve your set goals, when you witness the lives of others improved by your actions, and when you embrace your own power to create positive change, you have attained personal growth that will give you a new outlook and a new way of live. This can be said about Mr Akan Okon.
With his dyed-in-the-wool professionalism and managerial skills of men and resources, Mr Okon helped in the efficient management of the State’s resources. He developed a sound financial and cash management model and strategy, to ensure an effective and efficient delivery of key Government programmes. Hence, the many achievements of the State Government under the leadership of Mr Udom Emmanuel.
Under his watch, The Ministry of Finance, through the Internal Revenue Service, explored many untapped internal revenue sources and plugged leakages, hitherto, experienced, thus, increasing monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to a very good level.
Mr. Akan Okon piloted the 1st Akwa Ibom State
Revenue Summit on the theme: ‘Maximising Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) Potentials: A Collective Responsibility’, hosted by the Ministry of Finance on April 6th and 7th, 2009. The Summit which came up with positive recommendations and coupled with the efficient managerial inputs of Mr. Akan Okon, have since yielded fruits and is being applied till date.
Within the short stay of Mr Okon as Commissioner in the Ministry of Finance, a new treasury Complex was built for the Office of the Accountant-General. The accommodation problem, hitherto, faced by this very sensitive Office was solved, as the new building provided enough offices for the Treasury Staff to discharge their services effectively. This building is networked to link up with key Government officials to monitor the accounts of the State, as there is an On Line Real Time Internet Service.
After the dissolution of the State Executive, many clamoured for and are anticipating the return of Mr. Akan Okon to the State Executive, maybe due to his zeal and passion for service to his people and Akwa Ibom State, which is not in doubt.
As Mr Akan Okon has today made the list of to-be Commissioners, everything that can be said about him can be summed up in what the Bible says: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings”.
Congratulations Mr. Akan Okon on your Second Missionary Journey.