A great transformation leader

Obong Victor Bassey Attah was born into a prominent family in Okop Ndua Erong, Asutan Ekpe in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria, on November 20th, 1938. His late father, Bassey Attah, was the second Nigerian ever to have a university degree in Agriculture and the first to obtain a Master’s degree in the same discipline. Attah is an accomplished architect and former governor of Akwa Ibom State from 1999 to 2007.Victor Attah is 83 years old.

Victor Attah Early Life

Attah had the advantage of enlightened childhood upbringing that shaped his worldview and intellectual character. His father, having studied in the United States, was the second Nigerian to obtain a university degree in agriculture and the first to earn a Masters in the same discipline. His mother was a teacher and socio-political activist.

His primary education was at Native Authority School in Calabar, and he completed post-primary education at St. Patrick’s College in 1956. The following year he earned a diploma from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and in 1965 earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Building Science at Liverpool University. He went on to receive a Master of Science degree in advanced Architectural Design and Planning from Columbia University in New York the following year. He is also an alumnus of the Kennedy Graduate School of Governance at Harvard University.

Victor Attah Career

After completing his education, Victor Attah worked as an architect in the Caribbean, New York and Nigeria. He served as the National President of the Nigerian Institute of Architects. He was elected governor of Akwa Ibom State in 1999 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party and was re-elected in 2003. He was elected Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in 2004 and served till 2006. Attah applied his skills in architecture and city planning to modernize Akwa Ibom, earning him many awards. He was succeeded by Godswill Akpabio in May 2007.

Attah is a member or fellow of several professional bodies in Nigeria and overseas and has won acclaim for prominent architectural projects across Nigeria as well as in Trinidad and Tobago. He has served as president of the Nigeria Institute of Architects and a consultant to the British Overseas Development Agency, in charge of several development projects in Malawi, South Africa and the Caribbean. He has authored several books including Attah on Resource Control and Bold steps.

Victor Attah Personal Life

Attah lost his 72 year old wife, Mrs. Nneyin Allison Attah in a Lagos hospital on October 29th, 2012. Originally from the Barbados, Mrs. Attah died after a prolonged sickness. She graduated from Leeds University in the United Kingdom where she qualified as a Librarian. While serving as the First Lady of Akwa Ibom State, she was renowned for her devotion towards children and formed a non-governmental organization, Child Development Trust, CDT, to promote the welfare of children in the state. The couple had two children.

During his undergrad, Attah led a protest as a student at the Ahmadu Belo University Zaria, Kaduna State over alleged frustration of Nigerian architectural students by the then British lecturers. Long before then, he had protested against his parents’ church, Qua Iboe Church, by opting out to join the Catholic communion for refusing him baptism because he was too young to raise the required dues.

Victor Attah Awards

Attah was awarded the International Award for Leadership Role in Governance from the Nigerian Family Association in Sweden, the Face of Good Governance by Africa Today, and the Key to Africa (Leadership Excellence) Award by the prestigious President Kenneth Kaunda Foundation.

Some important achievents:

These were some of the achievements of Obong Attah as Governor:
He forced the introduction of GSM into the state which made Akwa Ibom State one of the first four (4) states to enjoy the service at inception by investing in Econet wireless communication.
Built the Independent Power Plant at Ikot Abasi.

Established 9 centres of Excellence in ICT at CCC, (Uyo) Methodist Boys High School (Oron), Immaculate Conception Secondary School (Itak, Ikono), Itam Secondary School (Itu), Government Secondary School, Ikwen (Obot Akara) Lutheran High School, Obot Idim (Ibesikpo/Asutan), Holy Family College Oku (Abak).

He set up the Victor Attah Digital opportunities centre and it was envisaged as the forerunner of a digital hub in the Niger Delta region.

He took steps to build a Science and Information Technology Park in Uyo. His vision was to replicate Silicon Valley in Akwa Ibom State. He saw that the future of the global economy would be Technology and not oil.

The Ibom Airport, aptly, named in his honour. He envisioned it with a Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) facilities.

Built and remodeled Ibom Plaza, Uyo Village road, Atiku Abubakar, 4 lanes, dualized Ikot Ekpene road, rebuilt and dualized Abak road, Oron road to the Airport, Oron road through Nwaniba to le Meridien and Golf resort.

~Built le Meridien Resort.

~Built the 18 hole Golf Course.

~The Timber market at Ifa Ikot Okpon.

~The Timber market at Itam.

~Built the Itam market.

~Constructed Nnung Udoe-Ibesikpo-Ikot Okwot Road.

~Nsit Atai-Okobo road.

~Mbiabong, Odoro Ikpe – Itu Mbonuso Road.

~Ekeya-Okopedi-Urue Ita road with a spur to Utum Ukuku, Oyubia, Okobo.

~Ibeno – Edor, Ekpene Obo road.

~Obot Akara – Nto Edino road.

~Set up small scale industries credits scheme for traders, fishermen, farmers, artisans like welders.

~Reactivated the Champion Breweries.

~Built the Nigeria stock exchange House at the Banking layout now used by Akwa Ibom Internal Revenue Service.

~Built the 7 storey Apico House along Abak road.

~Created the Banking layout.

~Built the Ibibio Museum of Unity at Udo Udoma Avenue.

~Built the Cenotaph at Udo Udoma Avenue.

~Built the ultra modern Akwa Ibom State Liaison office at the Central Business District – Abuja.

~Built a new Governor’s lodge in Abuja.
Remodeled the state secretariat complex (Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat).

~Set up the Inter-ministerial Direct Labour Co-ordinating Committee to handle electricity, water supply works, rural roads, renovation of public schools in all Wards in the 31 local government areas of the state and ensured that millionaires emerged from each ward in the state through those jobs.

~He spearheaded the agitation for payment of 13 percent derivation to the state without on-shore off shore dichotomy. This brought more money to the coffers of the state.

~He championed the cause of True Federalism in Nigeria.

~Implemented a policy of tuition free primary to junior secondary schools in the state.

~His government started the policy of payment of examination fees to final year students in senior secondary schools in the state.

~His government constructed 7 brand new residential secondary schools at Nnung Ukim (Ikono), Aka Offot (Uyo), Okop Ndua Erong (Ibesikpo/Asutan), Ekparakwa (Oruk Anam) Ikot Akpaden (Mkpat Enin) Atabrikang (Ibeno) and Issiet Ekim (Uruan).

~His government envisioned an Akwa Ibom University of Technology and sponsored 150 first class graduates for post graduate studies abroad to encourage them to return to work in the university as lecturers.

~He built 1,850 housing units in the 31 local government areas with 50 houses per local government area.

~His government facilitated the building of the Shelter Afrique Housing Estate, Osong Ama, Eniong offot and Akwa Ima Estates all in Uyo.

~His government built brand new General Hospitals at Amamong (Okobo), Ikpe Ikot Nkon (Ini) and Ukpom (Abak).

~He set up the Ethical, Attitudinal, Re-orientation Commission (EARCOM) to motivate our people to embrace positive values.

~He built the capacity of all category of government workers through regular training and sponsorship to workshops within and outside the country.

~Obong Attah initiated the Ibom Deep Seaport at Ibaka.

~His government built all the ultra modern motor-parks in various locations in Uyo, the state capital.

~He opened up all the major ring roads to secure right of way and stop encroachment on the layouts.

~Obong Attah promoted ethnic harmony and Akwa Ibom State emerged as an oasis of peace in the Niger-Delta region. He was a pace-setter, a go getter, highly cerebral but humble, listening, large-hearted. No doubt it is fitting to call him “The father of Modern Akwa Ibom State”.

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