“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential….these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence”- Confucius…

Born winning all battles from childhood through education, this scion of Umanah's dynasty of Abak village in Abak Local Government Area has proven beyond every doubt, and has made true the popular notion that “results are never to be argued with”.

Little may have been known of his humble beginning, but that beginning which was frequentlty watered with the urge to succeed has gained such acclaim which makes beginnings such as his, the envy of even those that were born with silver spoons.

Mr. Aniekan John Umanah means different things to different people. To some, he is a star, though to the larger society, he is a galaxy… yes a galaxy, because he has aided a lot of shine. This is one man that has held his world and humanity spell bound and has in so many ways given the people such great hope and a future to pride with.

Being a media rallying point in the Lagos corporate scene, where he ventured from, to be heard from accross the media cycles in Africa, Mr. Umanah has carved a niche for himself, not only in the media world but in the building and propagation of the truth, which the society constantly yearns for.

Truth and truth, that's all he propagates, and little wonder why he has been able to attain such feats even in a society that tends to encourage mediocrity, the answer may not be far fetched, he has been consistent and resolute, he has been able to swim against the tide, he believes in challenging the status quo and giving the people a new lease of life.

Let nobody credit his success to professional discipline alone. Yes many studied history, journalism, public relations, outdoor advertising etc, but are today media trained scallywags, Mr. Umanah has carefully chosen the path he threads and has helped the growth of every society his feet has trod.

It was Aristotle who said “we are what we repeatedly do, excellence, then is not an act but a habit” this holds true for Mr. Umanah who has shown excellence in all areas of engagements ranging from, private, corporate to public assignments, his relationship with people is also a testimonial to his life of excellent disposition.

While for want of space, I wont attempt bringing his achievements in office as Commissioner of Information and Communications to the fore, I would not be sounding immodest if I say he has set a standard upon which future information commissioners would be judged. His uncommon resolve at creating a conducive environment has made journalists in Akwa Ibom the envy of their compatriots.

If the successes recorded in Web Media, Millenium Choice Technologies, Executive Options Media Limited, Bill Board Magazine, amidst several other media concerns is anything to go by, then the Akwa Ibom State Information and Communications Commissioner, must really be the toast of the nation's media hub.

His visionary, efficient, reliable and honest attitude to duty is widely acknowledged as the magic wand behind the uncommon transfromation's acclaim. Truth be told, not so much was known about Akwa Ibom before Umanah arrived to take the Governor Godswill Akpabio's strides in mandate delivery to the world, through his journalism and media wizardry.

Umanah's commitment and passion to the developmental strides of Chief Akpabio has not only made him give his best at promoting the administration, but has formed the foundation upon which he hopes to change the society for the better by encouraging selflessness, which according to him, is the hallmark of the Governor's excellent and unrivalled feats.

As a team player, the Abak born media guru and politician, pays no mind to personal glory, but has at all time taken to team work, which is identified as the most appreciated culture of the Chief Akpabio administration. Umanah despite not believing in personal glory is always quick at commending people's efforts, an attribute that stands him out as a key suppoter and believer in the dreams, aspiration and successes of Chief Godswill Akpabio, who has done so well, to register Akwa Ibom's name in gold.

As the face of media and public relations, he has brought finese, diplomatic and urbane touch into the handling of political issues. His mastery of these virtues has changed the political orientation on every turf he engages in, from confrontational to issues-based politics. This has not only engendered progress and development, but has put the people to the consciousness that they belong to one another.

As a member of various notable and distinguished professional bodies, including the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, where he is currently serving as a Board Member, Mr. Umanah has proved himself a good manager of resources, deserving of the fellowship.

His humility agrees with Henry Wadsworth, who said “in character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity” this, he has shown even in the face of extreme provocation and pressure. This is one man who is tall enough to chatter with the high and mighty, and humble enough to feel the pulse of the man on the street. His smiles and laughter pierces through the most moody moments to give soccour to the depressed.

His sterling quality of transparency makes him a rallying point for everybody, regardless of creed, belief and leaning, he lacks room for petty issues and at all times encourages the can-do culture as the wherewithal . In all frairness, he is one man that has never exercised his power to the disadvantage of another…my liberal and trust worthy Aniekan Umanah.

In several ways, he has positively touched the lives of his people, through education, health, infrastructure, economy etc. he has shown in clear terms that empowerment should not be anything short of what can keep food on a man's table while the next meal is assured. Mr. Umanah has given meaning to a lot of lives and still doesn't seem to be done.

His native Abak people are always proud to identify with this man who has done so much for a bargain. Little wonders the elders, women and youths see him as the best thing to happen to them, his advent on the political scene has been a clear departure from what leadership used to be, his has been iced with philanthrophy and patroitism.

Gratitutde should be given to the very society he has done so well, perhaps he would have reneged on his goodwill if the much he did were not being appreciated. The more than 200 well intentioned awards in his kitty may not only be to commend his ingenuity to nation building, but is also a way by which many could be encouraged to do well in their chosen endeavours and callings.

From the Best commissioner of Information and Strategy in Nigeria, to other media, community, phillanthropic, social, political and professionally related awards, his fellowship award by the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) on 28th August, 2014, is another massage on the ego of his achievements.

Like other such organisations in the past, the Nigerian Institute of Management's choice of Mr. Umanah for this award is in appreciation and recognition of his pivotal role in the advancement of the course of humanity. This is one award that is not only well timed, but has come at such a period when his work in the last six years as the state information boss is being aggregated and accessed.

Since assuming office as Commissioner for Information in 2008, he has championed a revolution in information management in the State which has raised the positive rating of Akwa Ibom from a paltry 38% to about 85% and positioned the State firmly within the print, electronic and online media. Impact Magazine, Renaissance and other publications of the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Information, are eloquent testimonies of his professional acumen, in addition to the Uncommon Transformation television series.

As of the last I checked, nobody in his position has performed better than him in our history as a people, and yet just like Oliver Tweest, he still craves to do more, and promises to get better at every opportunity. Regardless of any situation he seeks the best for his people and has for the last six years sacrificed his personal comfort and gains to ensure their lives are changed forever.

Through his labour, he has made certain that his hands are seen in every effort that seeks to uplift humanity. He has replaced mediocrity with commitment and hardwork and has paid serious attention to the values of integrity, which has earned him the large followership he commands.

There is a cult-like believe that excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what one has to offer, and like Martin Luther King, Jr. “all labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and significance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence” Umanah has never given up on the task of making the society better, I doubt he ever will.

While I trust this fellowship award would cause him to do even more, I am only scared of the number of congratulations I will keep saying to this worthy achiever, since I am of the firm believe that the shadows of his greatness shall neither grow tired, weary nor old.

Congratulatuions to Mr. Aniekan Umanah, the Senior Advocate of Responsible Journalism!

Written by Samuel Ayara, a public affairs analyst.

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