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Special Citation On
Chief (Sir) Ufot Joshe Ekaette
Presented on the Occasion of Conferment on him of
the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt)
by Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria
(Saturday 2nd MAY 2009)
It is with great enthusiasm that I present to you a particularly distinguished civil servant and exceptionally gift technocrat, a peace setter and pathfinder of sorts, a former secretary to the Government of the Federation, a former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, His Excellency, Chief (Sir) Ufot Joseph Ekaetta , CFR.
Born in Ikot Edor, Onna LGA of Akwa Ibom State, the young Ufot Joseph Ekaetta attended Ikot Eyo Group School and Ndo Eyo Group School, both in Onna LGA in Ikwa Ibom. He then proceeded to Qua Iboe Mission Secondary School, Etinan. Gifted, focused, devoted, the young Ekaette could not only have made a Division One in his WASC examination in 1958. After earning a Higher School Certificate at the prestigious King’s College, Lagos, Ekaette naturally proceeded to the University College, Ibadan, when it was the only university in the country and its narrow gate thus open only to the most gifted in the whole nation.
With a B.Sc. in Economics, Ekaette joined the Federal Civil Service as Administrative Officer 1V in July 1964 and was posted to the Federal Civil Service Commission with responsibilities for disciplinary matters. He was next posted to the Cabinet office where he served in the office of the Economic adviser to the Federal Government as an Assistant Secretary, Diligent, transparently honest, exemplary in all his action, Ekaette was clearly cut out for leadership positions. It as no surprise therefore that he was reposted to the Federal Civil Service as Acting Administrative Officer in charge of recruitment, promotions and transfers in the Federal Civil Service from October 1966 – August 1968. Anyone who remembers the history of the country in those days would appreciate that only a detribalized officer could have occupied such a sensitive position then. Typical, Ekaette’s rigours, dedication, maturity of mind and the absolute trust that his superiors had in him, led to his being a position of even greater responsibility and sensitivity: he was posted to the State House as Principal Private Secretary to the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in August, 1968, a position he retained till September 1975.
Chief Ekaette expectedly went through the ranks in the Federal Civil Service with appreciable speed. Promoted to Administrative officer (Principal Grade) in November, 1967, he became Administrative Officer Grade 11 on 1st April, 1971, Administrative Officer Grade 1 on 1st April 1973; Principal Secretary, 1st October, 1975; Director, External Finance, Federal Ministry (February 1985-January 1986); Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry industries (January 1986-February, 1987; permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing (February-May 1988; Director-General, the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (June, 1988-March, 1989); Director – General, Federal Ministry of Social Development, Youth & Sports (March 1989 – January 19990) and then Director – General (Planning) in the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning (January, 1990- September, 1990). But even worthier of attention is the sense of responsibility and patriotism and the dedication to excellence in service which always characterized Chief Ekaette’s attitude towards his duties. Moreover, Chief Ekaette complimented practice as a career civil servant with perspicuous high level intellectual output. He presented many seminal and thought-provoking positions papers on may aspects of our national life in local and internal workshops. As Secretary for Finance and Administration in the Federal Ministry of national planning (May 1979 – January 1984), Chief Ekaette’s responsibilities included not only personnel management, policy formulation and implementation and financial management but also coordination of Nigeria’s relations with multilateral economic organizations and bilateral economic cooperation with foreign governments and organizations. Thus he participated during the period in several high level bilateral talks between Nigeria and foreign governments and served as leader of delegations at official level in a number of joint Economic Commission between Nigeria and foreign countries both in Nigeria and abroad.
Similarly, to enhance his own performance, Chief Ekaette attended many course and seminars both within the country and abroad. He attended a senior management course at the Administrative Staff College, Henley-on-Thames, United Kingdom between May and July 1973; a three-week attachment to the office of the President, Federal Republic of Germany to understudy the Internal Administration of the Presidency in July 1973; attended a nine-month senior executive course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, kuru and two-week training Programme on Integrated Financial Management at Euromoney Training Centre, Horsley Towers, Surrey, United Kingdom in 1998. Chief Ekaette retired from the Federal Civil Service in February 1994 after thirty years of distinguished service to his beloved country. But he was again sought by the country he has served so devotedly, and appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation from May 1999 to May 2007.
It is perhaps only too logical that a career so exclusively devoted to selfless service and excellence should be constantly decorated with laurels. Of so many such honours and recognitions, particularly dear to Chief Ekaette’s heart is the award of the national honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) in November 2000 for sense of integrity, devotion to duty and selfless service to the nation in the field of administration. He has equally been awarded the Honorary Doctor of Science in Public Policy and Administration degree by the University of Uyo and the Honorary Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.) degree by the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye in 2005. Also awarded the Fellowship of the Federal Polytechnic Nassarawa in July 2003, Chief Ekaette also had conferred on him the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Africa Leadership award in the same year. Chief Ekaette who is also Elevated Fellow of the Institute of Management has been cited in Who’s Who Akwa Ibom State, Who’s Who in Nigeria, and Who’s Who in the World. A knight of St. Christopher, Chief Ekaette is happily married to Senator (Lady Eme Ufot Ekaette and they are blessed with two adorable children.
Honourable Chancellor, Sir, Your Excellencies, Your Royal Highness, my Lords Spiritual and Temporal, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is in recognition of the sterling qualities of this public servant extraordinary, this true and tireless patriot, that it has pleased the Senate and Congregation of Imo State University Owerri, to select and recommend Chief (Sir) Ufot Joseph Ekaette, CFR, Mni, KSC, the Obong Ifiok Akwa Ibom, the Adaihaha ke Efik Eburutu, the Babagbimo of Ondo Kingdom, the Obon Unwana of Onna, the Atta of Eket for the award of Doctor of Letters (D. Lutt.) Honoris causa, with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.
Honourable Chancellor, Sir, I therefore have the singular honour to present him to you for the said Award.