By Tom Okpe
It’s only hard work, optimism sincerity of heart and purpose, believing in God, oneself and prayerfulness that can catapult one to an unbelievable height in life, despite all odds.
The newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) can be described as one who had seen it all, rising from a humble beginning to a super giant in the eyes of the whole world.
As a humble boy from Wannune in Mbakor, Tarka Local Government Area of Benue State, Senator George Igbegbe Akume , (fnim, KSJI); Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Federal Republic of Nigeria has become a man who had seen it all, running through the ranks by climbing the ladder from the first step, to the top most step.
Born on 27th December, 1953 at Wannune in present day Mbakor, Tarka Local Government Area of Benue State, Akume attended Tiv Native Authority Primary School, Wannune and obtained his Firat School Leaving Certificate, where he proceeded to the famous Government Secondary School, Otukpo as one of the pioneer students in 1967 to 1971 for his West African School Certificate, (WASC) with an A1 result, as it was then, known.
In 1972, the young Akume found himself in St Loius College, Jos for his Advanced Level Certificate and proceeded to the most prestigious University in Nigeria, University of Ibadan, (UI) in 1974-1978 obtaining a B.Sc in Sociology.
His academic pursuit saw him again at the same University in 1985, for his Masters in Industrial and Labour Relations.
Professional courses attended includes, Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, (ASCON) Topo, Badagry, Lagos; 1988; Certificate in Management, Special Courses carried out in human resources management, office administrative procedures, job performance and evaluation, administrative law, organisational behaviour, organisational control, motivation and discipline, administrative ethics and accountability.
He was at Oxford University, United Kingdom in 2010, obtaining Certificate in Strategic Leadership; Training with special knowledge in administrative theories, strategic human resources management, leadership mentoring, leadership style and personality types, citizenship and leadership training, budget and budgeting process, public sector administration and management, the organization of government.
Queens School of Business, Ontario, Canada – 2012; Certificate in Strategic Leadership Training with special knowledge in intergovernmental relations, studies on contemporary office procedures and management, administrative law, business environment, conflict resolution, tropical issues on political economy, basic issues in administrative risk management, public sector management, public finance and accounting, administrative theories.
His work experience commenced as a Lecturer, Advanced Teacher’s College, Akwanga, 1978-1979, for the mandatory, National Youth Service Corps Scheme, (NYSC) with special assignments and responsibilities carried out in teaching and training of prospective professional school teachers.
He was employed as Land Officer, Benue State Ministry of Lands and Survey, Makurdi, 1979 with responsibilities in management and administration of land in Benue State Government.
Also, he was Administrative Officer I, and Director, Administration Benue State 1981-1995.
Director-General/Permanent Secretary, 1996-1998 Serving as the chief accounting officer of ministries, in the Benue State Civil Service.
Other positions of responsibilities held while in the employment of the state services include; Secretary, Gboko Local Government Council, Benue State, 1988-1989, charged with the responsibility of administration of the Council Secretariat and other matters.
Sole Administrator, Idah Local Government Council, Benue State, 1989-1990 responsible for the day to day running of the local government in line with statutes and guidelines from the Military Administrator of Benue State.
Sole Administrator, Gboko Local Government Council, 1991 responsible for day to day running of the local government in line with statutes and guidelines from the Military Administrator of Benue State.
Director of Protocol, Government House, Makurdi, 1992 – 1994, charged with responsibility of overseeing affairs of protocol administration and management in the Benue State Government House.
Director General/Permanent Secretary, Benue State Civil Service, 1996 -1998, Responsible for policy implementation, direction and evaluation.
Also the administration of Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
By his recent appointment as SGF, definitely, the lovable gentleman, George Akume has become the father of Benue State that no man can comprehend, playing his fatherly role to all, like he had done, still doing and will continue to do.
His political career started in 1997 when he joined forces with like minds, as Pioneer/Founding, Congress for National Consensus, (CNC) between 1997-1998.
He was also, Pioneer/Founding Member, Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) in 1998.
George Akume was elected Governor of Benue State in 1999-2003 when ban on partisan politics was lifted by the military government and was re-elected Governor in 2003-2007.
The amiable Governor, George Akume popularly known as “Akume Thank You” in his days as governor, for his generosity and philanthropy was Chairman, Northern Governors Forum 2002.
Akume was the chairman of the 19 Northern Governors Forum, instrumental to the abortion of the third term agenda of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Loved by his people and all, he was elected Senator Representing Benue North West Senatorial District for three, (3) consecutive terms.
He was founding member, Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) Benue State and founding member, All Progressives Congress, (APC) in the days of the famous merger.
He was also, Vice-Chairman North, Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organization in 2019 and Chairman, Senate Committee on Co-operation and Integration in Africa/NEPAD – 2007-2011.
He was member of the following Senate Committees: Science and Technology, Aviation States and Local Government and Senate Minority Leader and member,
Defence and Army, Navy, Aviation Capital Market.
He was appointed Honourable Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2019 – May 29, 2023 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
His mandate include: Coordinating Multi-Agency and inter Ministry functions as directed by the President in the management of key projects and initiatives of the presidency, Develop and implement policies, programmes and projects towards improvement of intergovernmental relations at the state and Local Government levels, monitoring of constituency/special projects and initiatives as designated by the Presidency.
Actively collaborate with the private sector to create employment for a large number of Nigerian youths.
He is a member of many professional and religious bodies including; Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Management, (fnim) Member, Knight of St John International, (KSJI).
Akume who has travelled round the world enjoys Reading, Humanitarian services, playing Lawn Tennis, Watching Documentaries.
The countries visited among others are; United States of America, (USA), Great Britain, Germany, France, South Africa, Italy, Cuba, India, Brazil, Taiwan, Uganda, Ghana, Colombia, Japan, China, Thailand, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Israel, Mexico, Hong-Kong, Cameroon, Republic of Benin, Chad, Niger and others.
His national honours are, Most Distinguished Alumnus, (MDA) University of Ibadan, Doctor of Letters, (D. Litt), (Honoris Causa), University of Jos.
Doctor of Letters, (D. Litt), (Honoris Causa), University of Mkar.Honorary Citizen of the State of Georgia, USA; Recipient of Key of City of Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, Patron, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, (NIPR), Benue State Chapter.
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He also recieved several Honours by Student bodies, Associations and Professional bodies, and, Commander of the Order of the Niger, (CON).
President Bola Tinubu, named the immediate past Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Akume, Secretary to Government of the Federation, (SGF) according to a statement by Abiodun Oladunjoye Director, Information at a meeting with Progressives Governors Forum, (PGF) on Friday, last week.