Aniekan Umanah: A Testament of Excellence


It was Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, who noted that “each man should be given his due in the society”.
What Plato meant at that time was that, if man was given his rightful due in the society, justice, which is the corner stone of democratic culture and systems would eventually prevail.

This aspect of the platonic philosophy find aptness and concise expression in Mr. Aniekan Umanah, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communications, who will today,Thursday August 28th, 2014 be honored with an investiture as a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Lagos. It is the belief of social scientists, that human civilization cannot be worthwhile, and historically significant without men, considered as agents of change, hence, the birth of Aniekan John Umanah, over 40 years ago into the path finding royal stock that founded Abak.

Mr. Umanah initialized his educational pursuit at the Bishop Clerks Primary School Abak where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1979. He proceeded to Holy Family College, Oku Abak and the Lutheran High School Obot Idim, Ibesikpo, where out of dints of hardwork and tenacity of purpose, he earned his West African Certificate in 1984. Aniekan Umanah gained admission into the University of Cross River State, Uyo where he bagged a B.A Hons Degree in History and International Studies in 1989.

Mr. Umanah’s penchant for professionalism saw him through the Nigerian Institute of Journalism where he earned a Post-Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Public Relations, and later, an APCON Diploma in Advertising.

He cut his professional teeth as a government house reporter with the Outlook Newspaper, Enugu, where he was doing his mandatory National Service. RalphNader’s postulate that, “a leader has vision and convictions that a dream can be achieved”, exemplified Aniekan Umanah’s work ethics and professional character while working in Outlook Newspaper.

His ruggedness in journalistic reportage within the ambit of his professional ethics and existing laws, nurtured him for exploits.
Thus, it was not surprising that from 1992, when Mr. Umanah was spotted and employed by the Management of Newswatch Communications Limited, Lagos, his rise in the journalism and advertising profession have been meteoric, phenomenal and ultimately cerebral.

That Aniekan Umanah, in a 12 year bout, rose to the position of controller of Advertisement and Special Projects is not as expressive as his record feat, for the organization. His stewardship at Newswatch saw the crystallization of a new culture of dynamism which trickled market deliverables for the company, while putting it on a sound competitive track in the West African Submarket.

This assortment of experiences in corporate media and brand management prepared Mr. Umanah for future private exploits, which began with his foray into web media as Executive Director and Web Editor of Millennium Choice Technologies, United States of America. Mr. Umanah’s creative thought, pro-activeness and rare operational acumen at Millennium Choice Technologies accounted for the company’s capacity to contain with the challenges of evolving and managing the DSP information Centre at Yenogoa, Bayelsa State.

Suffice it to say that as Chief Executive Officer of Executive Options Media, a foremost out-of-home, medium in Nigeria and publishers of the Billboard World Magazine, Mr. Aniekan Umanah has created the requisite synergies and outré innovations that have revolutionized the advertising industry in Nigeria thereby making the company a partner to major corporate concerns within and outside Africa.

The comprehensiveness of a brand entails what people think of the brand, and its enduring capability. Mr. Umanah, having garnered 16 years of cognate and unruffled experience in a familiar turf, was a square peg in a square hole when in August 2008, Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio appointed him Commissioner for Information and Social Re-orientation, and alter Commissioner for Information and Communications.

As the ‘Town Crier’ of the uncommon transformation initiative of the Akwa Ibom State Government in the last 6 years, Mr. Umanah, who is also the Founder of the African Media Roundtable, whose mandate is to promote discourse among top-flight media players in the continent, has raised the gross media rating of the state from a little over 30 percent to over 87 percent, according to the National Media Tracking Report of 2010.

A master-brand strategist, with quintessential managerial dexterity, Aniekan Umanah’s leadership of the State Information machinery has led to the evolution of a strategic approach to Information Management.

The hallmark of this approach which is today known as the ‘Umanah doctrine’, is the sustenance of an unparalleled relations with the media within and outside the state. It has also made Akwa Ibom State a ‘national conversation’, and the media hub in Nigeria.
It is not for nothing that the uncommon transformation weekly television series, which showcases on detailed note, the state of affairs and development in Akwa Ibom State, have emerged a notable brand in the minds of viewers across Nigeria. There is no gainsaying the fact that under Aniekan Umanah’s leadership as Chief Image maker, there has been an unprecedented avalanche of online/ internet media activities in Akwa Ibom. For instance, the renewed consciousness that public events be streamed live to the rest of the world, is to his credit.

Also the digitalization of state owned information and communication platforms, and the creation of enabling environment for a strong private sector driven media which have resulted in Akwa Ibom hosting over 100 privately -owned local tabloids, are components of the new approach to information management.
A pillar of the Historical Society of Nigeria, and recipient of many awards of international acclaim, Mr. Aniekan Umanah was also conferred a prestigious award as the Best Information Manager in the South-South part of Nigeria.

As this 21st century media strategist ‘receives his due’ as a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Lagos, let us make a recourse to the admonition of Hitopadesa, that, “greatness does not approach him who forever is looking down…”

Congratulations, Mr. Aniekan Umanah!

Uwemedimoh Umanah, a peace researcher, newspaper publisher and Public Affairs Analyst, writes in this piece from Uyo

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