AKWA IBOM 2019: The Man Nsima Ekere

13th September 2018

Opinion: A Visionary Leader, Determined, A Perfectionist, Genuine, Reliable, Responsive, Patient And Humble.

Nsima Udo Ekere
BSc. (Hons.) FNIVS; IRRV (London); SCV (USA), Hon. Doctor of Management Science, FUTO.

Nsima Udo Ekere, 53, is an entrepreneur and innovative thinker with a short but impactful public service career. Since stepping unto the public service turf, he has brought freshness, dynamism and deep insights to bear on the running of government business.

Ekere loves to push the envelope. His life and career have been refined in the crucible of big challenges; he calls them his learning and growth opportunities.

Appointed to the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in August 2016, Ekere and his colleagues knew they were on a mission to change; not just the negative narrative of the Commission, but the lives and fortunes of the region and its people.

So, while the four months between his appointment and inauguration in November 2016 provided the Board bonding opportunities, it served as well as a period to draw up a definitive roadmap for what they were determined to achieve.

With concurrent liabilities at N1.7 trillion, poor public image, declining Federal revenues, rising regional poverty and developmental needs across the communities of the Niger Delta region, Ekere and his colleagues knew a different style and mindset was imperative, vital and urgent.

That roadmap, code-named the 4-R Strategy, involved – and continues to involve – restructuring the Commission’s balance sheet, reforming the governance systems, restoring NDDC to its core mandates and reaffirming the collective commitment to doing what is right and proper.

Implementing the 4-R Strategy has translated into the Board’s decision to allocate 70 percent of its budget to the completion of on-going projects rather than start new ones and a comprehensive audit of all NDDC projects across the nine states so the Board can have full visibility of NDDC’s performance on a state-by-state basis.

It has resulted to, among many milestones, the cancellation of 624 underperforming projects worth more than N200 billion, inspiring a new wave of commitment among contractors to perform with integrity and efficiency; payment of billions of Naira of inherited debts to contractors and service providers; a resolution to an 18 year-old impasse between the Commission and NLNG on the payment of its statutory obligations to the Commission; and the implementation of urgent and necessary emergency projects to rescue deteriorating roads across the nine states, in order to save lives and property.

It is also in keeping with the strategic roadmap that the Commission is now focused on projects with regional rather than isolated and local impact. In this regard, the Commission is now looking at such transformational projects as the Niger Delta Power Pool, designed to deliver 7000MW of power to the Niger Delta in support of initiatives to attract businesses to the region; the Niger Delta Enterprise Hub, a collaborative project to equip our young and enterprising people with the skills and resources to build global IT businesses and the Niger Delta E-Learning Project, a collaboration between NDDC and Microsoft, alongside other leading US – based ICT firms, to revolutionize the education sector in the region through the provision of tablets or laptops to every student, with a full suite of textbooks that would personalize learning.

Just this March, the NDDC Board and management were in Araromi, Ondo State to flag off the construction of a N19.2 billion Araromi-Akodo/Ibeju-Lekki Road, connecting Ondo and Lagos states. The 50km road which will cut travel time between Ondo State and Lagos to under 50 minutes is a testimony to the new collaborative spirit of the current Board and Management at NDDC.

Nsima Ekere studied Estate Management at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, graduating in 1986. In the years following, he has built successful businesses and garnered cogent national and international experiences in real estate, urban and regional planning, oil and gas, power and construction.

Ekere served briefly as Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State between May 2011 – October 2012. Prior to that, he was the Executive Chairman of the Akwa Ibom Investment and Industrial Promotion Council, AKIIPOC, the state investment agency (2007 – 2012). He also served as Chairman, Ibom Power (2008 – 2011).

At AKIIPOC, Ekere conceived and implemented the first private sector gas-to-power project in Nigeria, an innovative strategy to convert natural gas into feedstock for power generation, as a public – private partnership with the Akwa Ibom State Government. That project led to the investment of more than $1billion of private capital in gas production and distribution facilities in Akwa Ibom State.

He also developed and implemented a framework for State Governments to undertake power distribution within their states. He worked with the Office of the Vice President and the National Council on Power and the Governors of Cross River, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom to create a special purpose vehicle, 4Power Limited, to assume responsibility for power distribution across the four states.

Ekere is a teacher’s son and grew up with the best assets teachers give: optimism, inventiveness, inquiry and passion for excellence. This has influenced his commitment to ensure that NDDC upgrades and strengthens educational institutions and infrastructure across the region. He is also an advocate for offering our children the 21st century education that they need to compete and succeed in today’s technology-driven world.

Nsima Ekere holds a number of professional qualifications including Fellow of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Registered Member, Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria ESVRBN; Senior Certified Valuer, International Real Estate Institute IREI. Minnesota, USA. He is an associate member of the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation, IRRV, London.

Ekere served tutelage with the firm of Nwankwo and Partners before setting up Ekere and Associates, a real estate firm with offices in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Uyo. He was the founding Chairman, Modev Nigeria Limited which provides engineering-related solutions to the power sector; Chairman, Kanash Limited, a civil engineering and construction company and Chairman F.EE Solitz, a renewable energy company.

His unstated philanthropic gestures include strong investment in people development through regular award of scholarships and educational grants; provision of potable water to rural communities in his Edemaya Clan, Ikot Abasi and medical outreaches to rural communities. In 2012, Ekere, along with his siblings donated a state of the art Accident and Emergency Ward/Trauma Centre to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.
In April 2018, he was conferred with the honorary Doctorate degree in Management Technology by the Federal University of Technology, Owerri in recognition of his innovative management style at the NDDC.

Nsima Ekere, Knight of John Wesley, KJW, of the Methodist Church Nigeria, is the winner of the New Telegraph’s Corporate Leadership Award and The Sun Newspaper’s Public Service Award, both in 2017, in recognition of his outstanding commitment towards transforming the Niger Delta Development Commission into an organization that works more efficiently and professionally to achieve its mandate.

He is also the recipient of numerous honours and merit awards, including traditional titles in recognition of endearing contributions and longstanding service to his diverse communities.

He is married to Mrs. Ese Ekere and they are blessed with children.

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