In the search for the outgoing Governor Gabriel Udom Emmanuel’s successor one man stands head and shoulders higher than all other candidates in the gubernatorial election which holds in Akwa Ibom State on March 11.
That man is Bassey Umo Eno, a man loaded with results-oriented ideas and visions. He is not only armed with a rich profile in leadership, Eno is also an astute entrepreneur with sparkling evidence to show as an accomplished development agent who clearly understands what it means and takes to create wealth.
Umo Eno’s foray into politics is not just a stray incidental development. Though not long as a contestant for elective political office, he can also not be dismissed as a neophyte or lilliputian. In the administration of former Governor, Obong Victor Attah, a renowned architect, he was appointed the chairman of Akwa Ibom Hotels and Tourism Board from 2004-2007.
While there, he made his modest contribution. Under his watch at the agency, the first Hotel/Tourism Directory was published. In the current administration of His Excellency, Gabriel Udom Emmanuel, he is serving as Executive Director, the Agricultural Investments Directorate of Akwa Ibom State Investment Corporation (AKICORP).
Among other things, he led the team that planned and developed the first-ever comprehensive database of farmers in the state and covered crops and animal farmers. This has helped the government to easily coordinate, support, educate and execute programmes.
He was also made to Chair the team to establish the Ibom Fadama Bank, a project that had been in the pipeline for years. He walked with nimble steps to get all the approvals done and get the bank up and running.
Still on that assignment, he was made Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources where he worked for slightly more than one year before he resigned to pursue his gubernatorial ambition.
In the private sector, he began his work career in banking and left paid employment as a Group General Manager to start Royalty Group, a company that at a time employed more than 2,500 people and was second highest employer of labour in the state. This explains why he believes with all sense of modesty that no one in the race can match his job creation credentials.
As Governor/Chief Executive Officer in his company, Royalty Group, a company he founded in 1997, he leads a team of more than 2,500 hundred direct employees to create tremendous wealth and immense opportunities for citizens in the hospitality, oil and gas, and manufacturing value chain.
The knock-on effect of this is massive by any metric and must not be overlooked as the country battles to tame the canker of unemployment and poverty.
Among the candidates, Bassey Umo Eno, a visionary Christian leader and an astute entrepreneur and wealth creator is by far the best. He is the Governor / Chief Executive Officer of Royalty Group, a company he founded in 1997 with business interest in hospitality, manufacturing and oil / gas sector with over 500 direct employees spread across Nigeria.
Buoyed by his 5-point A.R.I.S.E agenda he says: “My vision is to deliver a prosperous state with ease of doing business. We want to create a state every Akwa Ibom person will have a sense of belonging and where every part of the state will be developed based on comparative advantage.”
A.R.I.S.E is an acronym for an agenda strategically defined by agricultural revolution, rural development, infrastructural maintenance/advancement, security management and educational advancement).
It is a focused attempt by the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate to continue along the path already taken by the Udom Emmanuel administration that has enabled the state to enjoy relative peace as the country contends with the harsh realities of insecurity. This has created an environment that has made development in all sectors thrive.
Eno recently disclosed in a recent interview with some select media professionals that his administration will be all about jobs, jobs and more jobs. He said: “The next government would provide jobs in so many ways. We will put resources into the completion of the Science Park which was started by Governor Victor Attah. We will promote the knowledge economy by also funding and creating ICT hubs that will engage our talented youths.
We will award grants and as well as, low interest loans to SMEs. As someone who started business from the very scratch, I know full well how funding can hamper a budding entrepreneur. So, this will be a top priority.”
He added: “We want our people to earn a decent living through the work of their hands which we believe will be ultimately blessed by God. In addition, we will be involved in massive rural development. We intend to invest in primary health care, rural electrification, revamp our schools and ultimately reduce rural-urban drift. We are an agrarian state.
We will harness our agriculture potentials for example, the oil palm. We will invest in and explore the agriculture value chain of various crops. Agri-business will be encouraged because of its job creation and economic benefits. Because of the current realities of the country and even the world, our state needs someone who understands the practical aspects of running the economy not just people who talk about it.
I keep telling our people that if God gives me the opportunity, we intend to create a middle-class for this state.”
The man cut out for the top job in Akwa Ibom State remains firm in his commitment to developing the tourism potential of the more than 129 kms of coastline and water bodies, upgrade beaches and tie this with his comprehensive hospitality and tourism plan.
Hospitality and tourism constitute his forte, and he is keen on upgrading all the state’s tourists’ sites, harnessing tourism assets and revamping beaches in the state to international standard in addition to providing all support services.
He said: “Our goal is to make Akwa Ibom the number one tourism destination in Nigeria. Seriously, we intend to make the state very investment friendly, our people are hospitable, give excellent road network, and make sure our state is peaceful. Akwa Ibom will be the one-stop open to business and as a businessman, I know what is required to make this happen.
In addition, I am probably the only candidate who has conducted a needs assessment and have plans for all sectors and LGAs of this state.”
The Governor, as he is called in Royalty Group, is dexterous. He is a leader par excellence in the spiritual and secular realms. This ordained apostle in the body of Christ is the Undershepherd of All Nations Christian Ministry International, a church called to build a community of Christian believers that transcends race, tribe, colour into a kingdom focused church, now also seeks to clinch the job of Governor of the state that would confer more executive powers to lead the state and do more to nudge Emmanuel’s achievements to higher pedestals.
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Pastor Eno’s career trajectory has been thriving since 1982 when he joined the banking industry, working with Union Bank of Nigeria. He later ventured into private business working with Bertola Machine Tools from 1985 to 1990 and joined Norman Holdings Limited from 1990 to 1997 where he left as the Group General Manager (GGM), Commercial Services. Thereafter, he established Royalty Hotels and Recreations Limited in 1997.
He’s the two (2) Star Paul Haris Fellow of Rotary Club of Eket District 9140 and has received several awards for his public spirited life. That’s not all. Umo Eno is also an alumnus of Pan-African University’s Lagos Business School (LBS) and a recipient of the National Productivity Award. In addition, he is a Fellow of Nigerian Catering and Hotel Institute (FNCHI).
On the social radar, he is seen as a good mixer who is a stickler for hard work, integrity and strong character. Asides these sterling qualities, he is the author of several books including, Wealth Creation – God’s Way, Break Forth, Exercising Your Dominion Mandate, Dream Again and Marks of a Disciple.
He is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Hospitality Connect, The Appetizer Magazines. Pastor Eno is a regular contributor to Christian journals and is in high demand as Speaker in many public forums.
As expected, he is a dedicated family man and is married to Pastor (Mrs.) Patience Eno. They are blessed with children and grandchildren.