Atuekong Don Etiebet
An ICT Pioneer and Former Minister is Petroleum Resources
Atuekong Don Etiebet has always been a bold signature of the Akwa Ibom spirit of resourceful, ingenuity and creativity. His signature corporate building ETIEBIET’S PLACE in Ikeja, Lagos dots the skyline of Nigeria’s corporate housing regime and to have been opened in 1992, a year before he became a Minister shows his integrity where only political positions are somewhat the only openings to such achievements today.
At the Imperial College of Science and Technology of the University of London which he attended between 1966 and 1969, he showed uncommon brilliance graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Technology in Special class. While doing his Master’s degree in Applied Geophysics at the University of West Ontario, Canada in 1970, he was also Graduate Research Assistant at the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Ottawa, where he developed a computerised contouring program in FORTRAN IV.
When he returned to Nigeria in September 1971, he turned down an offer to work for Shell and opted for private enterprise. According to him, “the country was a barren place yearning for development, yearning for local enterprise, yearning for services that were provided by mainly foreigners.” He floated Earth Sciences Limited, a resource engineering and geophysical firm which applied computer techniques for exploration, with Shell as one of it’s clients. Earth Science gave birth to Data Science, one of Nigeria’s pioneer computer companies in 1979. Another of his firm, Obodex Nigeria Ltd launched the first ever Nigerian brand of Personal computers, Obodex.
Etiebet’s imprint in the Information and Communications Technology field is also seen in the many professionals he has trained and employed. He contributed immensely to the formation of the regulatory bodies for the ICT industry, to wit Nigeria Computer Society, National Communications Commission, Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria and the Nigeria Information and Technology Development Authority, NITDA.
Between August 1993 and February, 1995, he was Minister for Petroleum Resources. A detribalised Akwa Ibomite, Etiebet served as Minister with now Senator Udoma Udoma and Barr Bassey Dan Abia, snr, as his Special Assistant and Personal Assistant respectively. In politics, he has done badly. He was founder and Presidential candidate of the National Centre Party of Nigeria, NCPN, when it needed uncommon courage to start a party and campaign as Presidential candidate. He later served the All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, as National Chairman, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, as Board of Trustee Member and is currently a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The alumnus of Holy Family College, Abak class of 1962, College of Immaculate Conception, Enugu, Higher School Certificate class of 1964 has served on the board of several A-list companies, boards and councils of regulatory bodies and institutions, including the University of Jos as Pro-Chancelor and Chairman of Council. He is a recipient of several chieftaincy title accross Nigeria.
Akwa Ibom Celebrates an icon