Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has mourned the demise of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, late Obong Ufot Joseph Ekaette, CFR, Mni, describing him as an “inspiring icon”.

Governor Emmanuel who presided over a special valedictory session held in honour of the Late Obong Ufot Ekaette, on Tuesday at the State Executive Council Chamber, Government House, Uyo, expressed grief over the demise of the elder statesman saying that his demise is a great loss to the state and nation.

“Akwa Ibom people share the pain and grief in the passage to eternity of a patriarch Obong Ufot Ekaette, our beloved elder statesman, an inspiring icon, an astute nationalist whose demise has understandably cast dark cloud over our nation much like a sunset.

“Obong Ufot Ekaette left lasting legacies that typified the Akwa Ibom virtues of honesty, integrity, competence and diligence. He was the epitome of administrative excellence and a paragon of integrity in this country”.

Reflecting on the life and times of the late patriot, Governor Emmanuel said the late Obong Ekaette, added flavour to public administration.

The Late Obong Ufot Ekaette

In his tribute, the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Moses Ekpo, commended the State Executive Council for convening the special session to pay tribute to Obong Ufot Ekaette for the numerous contributions he has made to the growth of the State and Nigeria at large.

Ekpo said the deceased was known for credibility, his love for his state and his people.

The deputy governor thanked God for Obong Ekaette’s life and prayed for the repose of his soul.

On his part, the first indigenous Military Administrator of the state, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, (Rtd.) whom late Obong Ekaette served as Deputy, described the deceased elder statesman as a perfect gentleman who showed great diligence in his duties.

According to Nkanga, death like time and season, is a punctuation that marks the transition from life on earth to eternity.

He said : “It is unto everybody to pass this way. Kings die, beggars die. Rich people die and poor people die. The young die and the old die. In fact, there is something very democratic about death. It is the irreducible common denominator to all men. I want to hope that this belief would see you through in the trying days ahead”.

Late Obong Ufot Joseph Ekaette served the nation as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Pioneer Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Principal Private Secretary to the then Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, Permanent Secretary in Federal Ministries, Director- General, Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) Director-General, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Deputy Governor, Akwa Ibom State, Chairman Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), among others .

Highpoint of the solemn occasion was the decoration of the casket with the national flag by Governor Emmanuel, his Deputy Moses Ekpo and former Governor Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga.