Obong Akpan Isemin is dead
24 Jun 2009: Joe Effiong
The first civilian Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Akpan James Isemin is dead. Isemin died on Tuesday at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo after some undisclosed sickness, which had earlier taken him outside the country for treatment.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mr Aniekan Umanah who confirmed the sad incident to Daily Sun, said the state Deputy Governor, Obong Patrick Ekpotu had already led a government delegation to console the family.
Umanah said although the burial ceremonies are to be decided by the family, the former governor, who governed the state between January 1992 and November 1993 following which they were sacked by Gen. Abacha’s led coup, would be given full state burial.
He could not however comment on the nature of sickness but confirmed that the former governor took ill again after returning from medical treatment abroad.
Isemin’s erstwhile deputy, Chief Etim Okpoyo, who also confirmed the demise of his former principal, said it was a very sad moment for him and his family.
“You know he and I were very close. We were still close even after leaving office. Our families were equally close. Our children also close. So the affinity was not only political; our families are in serious shock over this death.
“I was with him about a week ago; so you can imagine my surprise to have lost him today,” Okpoyo told our correspondent on phone.
Similarly, the state commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Mr Paul Ekpo said the late Isemin would be remembered for kick starting the fight for offshore/on shore oil dichotomy which partial realization came some days before he left office.
“He was a man who practiced inclusive government, believing that government was big enough like the Noah’s ark to accommodate everybody. He brought style and candour to governance; and would also be remembered for encouraging Akwa Ibom people to think big and eschew the small boy syndrome. He will be greatly missed,” said Ekpo who is the late governor’s relations.
Isemin, about 70, who was elected governor on the platform of NRC to beat Obong Ekong Etuk of the then SDP, hailed from Mbioto in Etinan local government area.
Isemin contested again on the platform of APP against Obong Victor Attah in 1999, but could not make it even in 2003 where he tried to go to the Senate to represent Uyo senatorial district.