…His Enviable Accomplishment At 30
…How Gov Ayade Makes Youth Participation In Cross River Vibrant
As the machinery of government settles down, post nomination of ministers and commissioners, it is commendable to see the involvement of younger Nigerians in the different levels of government. Some progressive governors have gone further in showing their confidence in the youths and what they have to offer, by giving them the opportunity to sit at the table and participate in the administration of their states. One of such governors is Professor Ben Ayade,of Cross River State. Prior to being elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ayade had proved himself as a seasone d technocrat.
In the course of his career, Ayade’s work led to his being awarded by the government of Japan his research into Global Warming in Africa, and his involvement in the first ground water remediation for the oil and gas industry, where he invented a sewage treatment plant based on solar energy. The former lecturer and environmental consultant also served on the Cross River State Poverty Alleviation Board. He was appointed as Chairman of the Ecological Fund and Chairman of the International Institute of Environmental Research. It is therefore no surprise that he would appreciate knowledge and expertise, and choose to surround himself with like-minded individuals as he works to serve the people of Cross River State.
On October 19, 2015, Governor Ayade submitted a list of 28 commissioner nominees to the Cross River State House of Assembly. The list included professionals such as Mr Goddy Etta, Mr. Etim Ayimobi, Mr, John Ulafor, Mrs Stella Odey, Engineer Francis Eraye, George Abang Kabu, Mr. Joe Abang and Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong, the youngest nominee. What raised a few eyebrows concerning Ekpenyoung’s nomination is his age and the fact that he is not a career politician. By the time he is sworn in, Ekpenyong will be the youngest serving commissioner in the country. But for those close to the seat of power, the nomination of Ekpenyong did not come as a surprise, because he was an integral part of Ayade’s campaign team. After the governor was sworn in, he also served in an advisory capacity, focusing mainly on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), geared at giving Cross River State fiscal autonomy and reducing reliance on the Federal Government.
Born on September 25, 2015, Asuquo Ekpenyong hails from Odukpani local government area in Cross River. He obtained his West African Examinations Council Certificate from King’s College, Lagos, Nigeria, and he then proceeded to study Economics at the University of Reading, United Kingdom, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. Following his first degree, Ekpenyong also pursued his Masters degree and was awarded an MSc Distinction in International Banking and Financial Services by the University of Reading, UK. In 2003, he attended the Key Executive Programme at the Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, where he was awarded a degree.
Ekpenyong also attended several training programmes, including the Global Executive LeadershipProgramme at Howard University Business School, Washington D.C.; the Executive Management Development Programme at the University of Pretoria, South Africa; the Euromoney Training EMEA, Lagosworkshop on Investment Banking and Oil and Gas School; and the Central Bank of Nigeria Workshop for Microfinance, Non-Executive Directors. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN)
Asuquo Ekpenyong brings a wealth of professional finance and managerial knowledge and experience to his role as commissioner. After a working stint in England, he returned to Nigeria to work as a Financial Analyst at Davandy Finance and Securities Limited, Lagos and then relocated to Cross River, where he was appointed as a lecturer in the Banking and Finance Department of the University of Calabar.
As a young industrialist, he established Iquasu Ventures Limited, a haulage and logistic company, in 2010; he later took over as Managing Director of Chamley Bureau de Change Limited. Ekpenyong’s expertise led to his appointment as Executive Director for Finance at Pearland Energy, an indigenous Oil and Gas company, and Non-Executive Director at Ekondo Microfinance Bank Limited.
Poised to be the nation’s youngest serving commissioner at the age of 30, Ekpenyong will be bringing with him, experience gained at home and abroad to contribute towards building up the state to be a key player in this age of information technology and global financial market advancement. His accomplishment leaves no room to doubt his eligibility and preparedness for the role. It is certain that with such appointments as these, from a progressive governor like Ben Ayade, it is definitely not going to be ‘politics as usual’ in Cross River state, and the results will speak for themselves.