UniCal maiden Distinguished Alumnus Award on Umana, an honour well deserved
The University of Calabar, Faculty of Social Science Alumni Association has honoured the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umana Okon Umana with a maiden Distinguished Alumnus Award, during its first Alumnus Day celebration held at Transcorp Hotels, Calabar, recently.
Mr. Umana obtained a B.Sc. (Hons) Economics from the prestigious University of Calabar where he was awarded the “University of Calabar Foundation Scholarship” on account of distinguished academic performance in 1980. He also obtained an MBA in Finance from the University of Port Harcourt.
Umana, who was represented by Mr. Sonni Anyang, Federal Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom State in the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, also delivered the Alumni Lecture with the topic “Nigeria, Oil and Gas: Incubating Industrial Revolution and Reinstating Environmental Prosperity”.
Organizers of the novel Faculty of Social Sciences Alumnus Day celebration including Prof Ebingha E. Enang, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences; Prof Steve Nwokeocha, Chairman, Alumni Day Planning Committee; Dr Eugene O. Ifere, Secretary, Alumni Day Planning Committee, and Prof Frances N. Obafemi unanimously averred that Mr. Umana Okon Umana is a deserving nominee for the historic award, recognizing his “life of positive impact upon humanity and powerful projection of the ideals of the faculty”.
Accordingly, the award was presented to the former minister by Prof. Ernest Asikong, former Director, Directorate of Alumni Affairs of the university, who held brief for the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Florence Banku Obi.
Subsequently, days later while handing over the award to the former minister at his residence in Uyo, Mr. Ayang disclosed that the alumni association decided to honour Mr. Umana for the remarkable achievements he has made in his career, which has made the association very proud.
“The faculty and the entire university recognise Mr. Umana Okon Umana as a distinguished alumnus. He has been very impactful to the university and the faculty.
“Umana is one of the high-achieving former students of the University of Calabar. He is at the forefront of those who have done the university proud after school,” he added.
Mr. Umana is indeed a highly knowledgeable and resourceful technocrat with several years of impactful service to the country. Before his appointment as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, he served as Managing Director, Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), where his visionary and transformational leadership enhanced accountability, efficiency, and transparency in the operations of the Authority.
Under his watch, OGFZA won several awards both within and outside the country including the “Best Agency of government in cumulative compliance in implementation of Executive order 001 of Ease of Doing Business Protocol in 2019”. That same year, OGFZA received from the National Productivity Centre, “Award of Excellence in Productivity and Innovation in e-government”. In June 2022, shortly before his departure from OGFZA, Mr. Umana led the agency to be awarded as the “Overall best in efficiency and transparency, and the promotion of same around its free zone locations in the country by PEBEC.
Similarly, within just seven months serving as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, he clearly interpreted the presidential directive on reformation of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) through a 10-point ministerial action plan which reformed, retooled and repositioned the commission for greater accountability and transparency in intervening in the needs of citizens. It was therefore not surprising that the ministry under him was awarded the best in 2022 by Leadership Newspapers.
At the State level, Mr. Umana served as the Hon Commissioner of Finance as well as the Secretary to the State Government, in Akwa Ibom State. In particular as Hon Commissioner for Finance in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Umana led the process of raising funds from the Nigeria Capital Market (through the issue of a revenue bond) for the financing of core infrastructure projects such as the Ibom Power Plant in Ikot Abasi, the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo and the Ibom Golf Resort, Uyo. Before then, he had served as the Akwa Ibom State Director of Budget and was appointed Permanent Secretary of the State Budget Office until his voluntary retirement.
Meanwhile, Mr Umana is also an alumnus of both Harvard and Columbia Universities. He is a member of the Harvard Alumna Community and was awarded the “Public Policy” Executive Certificate, having attended and completed the “Leading Economic Growth”, “Mastering Negotiation” and “Driving Government Performance” programs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in 2018 and 2019.
He has attended various other management courses, including: the Public Private Partnership and Project Finance Program at the International Law Institute (ILI), Washington DC.; the Senior Executive Program at London Business School, the Columbia Senior Executive Program at the Columbia Business School, New York; and the Modernizing Government Program at RIPA International London. He is a Member, Nigerian Economic Society and a Fellow, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.
When he is not pursuing knowledge or serving the public, he enjoys reading, playing Chess, listening to music or exercising on a Squash court. Mr Umana is also an avid golfer.
Emmanuel Sam wrote in from Calabar.
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