Ufot Ekaette, Pioneer Niger Delta Affairs Minister is dead•••He was a consummate administrator and and bridge builder- Buhari

Chief Ufot Ekaette, the Pioneer Minister of Niger Delta Affairs is dead.

Born in 1939 in Ikot Edor, Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, he attended King’s College, Lagos, graduating in 1960 and then went to University College, Ibadan where he earned a B.Sc in Economics in 1964. He joined the Federal Civil Service on 28 July 1964. Ekaette was principal secretary to Head of State General Yakubu Gowon (1968–1975).

Later Ekaette served in the Federal Ministries of Industries (1975), Information (1977–1979), Education (1979) and National Planning (1979–1983). He was secretary, Public Service Department and Head of Service (1984). He was director, External Finance at the Federal Ministry of Finance (1985–86).

Ekaette was appointed Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industries in January 1986, then Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in 1988. He was Director-General, Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (June 1988 – March 1989), Director-General, Federal Ministry of Social Development, Youth and Sports (1989) and Director-General (Planning), Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning (1990).

In 1990, he was appointed Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State under Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga .

In 1996, he became a non-executive director of
First Bank of Nigeria , a post he held until May 1999. [3]
Political career
Ekaette was appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on 29 May 1999 by President Olusegun Obasanjo, holding office until the end of Obasanjo’s second term in May 2007.

In April 2007, his wife Eme Ufot Ekaette was elected Senator for Akwa Ibom South on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform.

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On 24 December 2008 he was sworn in as Minister for Niger Delta Affairs. His appointment was criticized by the militant Joint Revolutionary Council, who said that he lacked the drive and leadership required, and questioned the sincerity and commitment of Yar’Adua in making this choice.

Talking to oil company executives in February 2009, he said that the low level of development in the
Niger Delta region and the crisis in the Niger Delta could have been avoided if the local people had received benefits from oil and gas development. He pointed out that in many cases workers had been brought in from other areas of the country, while locals suffered from pollution and lack of basic facilities.

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock and grief over the death of the former Secretary to the Federal Government, (SGF) Chief Ufot Ekaette, describing him as “a consummate administrator who dedicated himself to duty in the course of his distinguished public service.”

In a condolence statement, President Buhari extolled the late Ekaette “as a gentleman who had given his best in the service of his country.”

According to the President, “the late Ekaette would always be remembered not only for his remarkable public service record, but also because of his immense contributions towards bringing peace in the once troubled Niger Delta region.”

While condoling the Ekaette family, the government and people of Akwa Ibom State over the death of the former SGF, President Buhari regretted that “his demise comes at a time when voices like his own are needed to move Nigeria forward in the face of daunting challenges.”

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President Buhari, however, assured that “his contributions would never be in vain as the country would always appreciate and remember his great contributions.”

The President prays God Almighty to comfort the Ekaette family, friends and relations, and grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
Media & Publicity
September 26, 2019

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