By Emmanuel Sam
The Honourable Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, is a refined gentleman, a loyal friend, team player and an unassuming leader. Today, Thursday, October 1, marks a special event in the life a Colossus, born six years after Nigeria’s first Independence Day.
Mr Akan Okon, a native of Mbiatok Itam, in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has led an exemplary life of dedication and perseverance in search of excellence since he bagged a Second Class Upper Division in Business Administration from the University of Lagos, in 1987, and later obtained s a Masters Degree (MBA) in Banking & Finance from the University of Calabar, in 1991.
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Accordingly, he became highly experienced and accomplished in the banking sector with a career spanning over two decades. He started his banking career with the Central Bank of Nigeria, where he worked in several departments the last being Assistant Manager, International Remittance Office of the same bank, in 1991.
He has also occupied top positions in reputable Banks such as Area Executive Standard Trust Bank [now UBA]; Head, Treasury and Financial Institution Department in First African Trust Bank Limited; Head, Investment Banking in First Atlantic Bank Plc, and Area Executive, South-South, First Inland Bank Plc where he distinguished himself in Investment Banking.
A few years after, Akan went into private practice having established his own Financial Advisory firm, Fantixis Investment Limited as the Managing Director/CEO of the company, where he held sway until his appointment in the Akwa Ibom State Executive Council in October 2013 as Commissioner for Economic Development, and later redeployed to superintend over the State Ministry of Finance, Housing and Special Duties, Special Duties and Aviation Development, Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport a position he held till date.
As an Investment banker and risk management expert, his contributions are significant in the effort to better the lives of our people. Evidently, the State Governor, His Excellency Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel has by God’s grace made him a member of various key committees such as Board member, Victor Attah International airport, Board Member, Ibom Air; Member, Post Covid19 Action Recovery Economic Structures; Member, National Economic Committee Resolution Implementation Monitoring Committee Council; Member, Akwa Ibom State Debt Management Council; Member, Public Procurement Council; Team Head, Akwa Ibom State Covid-19 Action Recovery Structuring Committee.
Meanwhile, as the Honourable Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akan Okon brought professionalism and pragmatism to bear in his assigned duties to bolster the State’s fiscal and economic development priorities.
And as the Commissioner for Special Duties and Aviation Development, Mr Akan Okon brought his professionalism as an Investment Banker to bare, and that gave birth to the pride of Akwa Ibom State in the sky, Ibom Air to bolster the State’s fiscal and economic development priorities. He leaves behind a legacy of innovative leadership at every assignment he is given.
Mr Okon is the quintessential corporate man with many layers of skills and knowledge acquired from several professional training courses he has attended both within and outside the country including London School of Corporate Finance. He loves soaking up knowledge, improving his skill set and sustaining valuable contacts which explain his involvement in several professional bodies. He is a Member, Chartered Institute of Bankers; an Associate of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, (CITN), a Fellow, Institute of Chartered Economists Nigeria (ICEN); Fellow, Institute of Sales Management; Fellow, Chartered Institute of Leadership of Nigeria, (CILEAD) and lots more.
As a devout Christian and Community Leader, Akan has distinguished himself in promoting causes for the Church, community development and well-being of humanity. His philanthropy has earned him several dozens of excellence awards from the clergy, socio-cultural and political associations, few of which include an Award of Excellence in Leadership and Enterprise from the Redeemed Christian Church of God; Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary International; African Child Prize For Integrity And Professionalism from the African Child Foundation; Kwame Nkrumah Exemplary Leadership Award from the West African Students’ Union Parliament; Distinguished Service Award (DSA), The Association of Heads Of Federal Establishment (AHFE); Award of Excellence,21st Century Icon Of Good Governance & Role Model To The Younger Generation, National Association Of Niger – Delta Students (NANDS); Award of Honour, IBEREDEM NAAKISS, National Association Of Akwa Ibom State Student’s (NAAKISS) Worldwide, Uyo Chapter and others.
Married to Mrs Queen Okon with four adorable children, Akan is a role model with a spectrum of virtues to emulate. He is an erudite public servant, Financial Expert, a man of humble mien, honour and integrity, a strong believer in the principles of transparency, efficiency and accountability, a bridge-builder, Team player, a lover of peace, change agent, as well as a zealous follower of Christ.
It is therefore with undiluted respect and profound admiration that 54 feathered hats are raised in a toast to the man of the moment, a selfless steward and leader par excellënt, wishing him God’s guidance, favour and many more fulfilling years ahead.