THE IME UWAH I KNOW By Ofonime Enoh
I doubt if there is an accurate record of when our paths crossed but I can attempt to trace it to my friend Mr Uwem Etuk (aka Maxi) whom I met while living in Ewet Housing Estate throughout the 90s.
It was through him that I met this man and over the years our relationship has grown in leaps and bounds.
Not a man of too many words back then and you could only catch him keeping to himself or in the company of very close friends. I remember when he could only be found in his family compound at Atan Offot during the long holidays. Filled with vast knowledge of his native heritage combined with humor and wits as well as various Ibibio parables, one could deduce he spent a lot of time around his late father who was royalty.
However, he had a penchant for business and money making. Ime seized every opportunity to see how he can turn N1 to N2. I remember very well when he began XL FLAVOURS, the premier food home delivery service in uyo from his Iboko Street apartment. I also remember the JEANS SHOP in the same building- all during his undergraduate years.
Fast-Forward 2005, as a student of the Nigerian Law School Lagos, I ran into him again at a restaurant at Adeola Hopewell Str., Victoria Island.
By now, my guy had left the south and had immersed himself in the cut throat business world in Lagos. He, alongside other young entrepreneurs had set up BlackGenie.Net , an internet startup company with its office on that same street. If you met him in Lagos, you would have visited him in Mende, Maryland, you would have seen him move from BlackGenie.Net to Cool Cover and so on. I left the shores of Nigeria while he was still at Cool Cover but we kept in touch.
I remember calling him on his Traditional Marriage day and him telling me how tense he was but still kept his cool. He was just 30years old then. This is the Ime Uwah I know!
By the time we met again in 2009, I had seen a man who had comfortably navigated the business environment. His versatility and his ability to pick himself up and continue the race despite any setback is what will endear you to his relentless spirit. This is the Ime Uwah I know! Little wonder when he ventured into subsequent business enterprises including Out Edge Nig. Limited and Eni Group, this was him in his natural environment if you ask me. Today, his companies employ a sizeable amount of young people and families. This is the Ime Uwah I know!
Politically, I need not say much because my relationship with him when he midwifed the creation of the pioneer youth group that went beyond regular politicking to attract young professionals (AKPRO) speaks for itself. Working with him during that campaign trail, I saw a man who is passionate about his people, passionate about what he believes in and one who does more than he says.
A team player, loyalty defined and someone who you underestimate at your own peril. A man with a passion for results exemplified in his impact at the Department of Branding where he serves as the Special Assistant to the Governor. The successes recorded by the Dakkada Multipurpose cooperative societies is a pointer.
As the momentum seeking him to contest the Uyo Federal House of Representative seat is gathering, I can define this my man in 3 words- Innovation, Integrity, Capacity. I am not from Uyo neither do I vote either as a delegate from Uyo in the primaries or in Uyo at the general elections but I associate myself with the aspiration of this my good friend. May the good Lord see you through……AYA ADEP!!!
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