Edidem Etim Charles Abia
Entrepreneur, Statesman and Traditional Ruler
His Royal Magesty, Edidem Etim Charles Abia, is best known as the founder of Dr. Pepper and Strade Pointi, two great brands that took Nigeria by storm in the 1980’s and we owe a debt of gratitude to him for putting Akwa Ibom on the industrial map of this great nation.
Born November 11, 1936 HRM hails from Usung Inyang, Eket, Akwa Ibom State. Orphan at an early in life, he poured himself into his studies, finishing from the famous St. Patrick College (SPC), Ikot Ansa, Calabar in 1954, with Grade 1 (Cambridge School Certificate). In 1957, he enrolled at the Ibadan Campus of the University College Hospital, London to study medical technology. After his studies at UCH, he worked for 6 months as a correspondence clerk with the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation and moved on to become one of the 100 pioneer employees of the newly established Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 1959. He was later offered admission at University College Dublin to study Economics and Accounting and in 1960 the Federal Government granted him Scholarship. He graduated in 1962 and went on to become a Chartered Accountant in 1965.
He return to Nigeria on February 1966 and joined the Federal Ministry of Finance as an accountant. In 1967, he left public service to work with a private accounting firm, Whinney Murray and Company. Abia was appointed Accountant General and later as tPermanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance of South Eastern State by Late Brig. General U. J. Esuene in 1968. He was key to the establishment of Mercantile Bank of Nigeria, Investment Trust Company, Manila Insurance Company and the state’s loan board to rehabilitate the economy of the state after the Nigeria Civil War. He was involved in the state government’s acquisition of Dunlop Rubber Plantations which was later renamed Cross River Rubber Plantations. As a member of the governing council of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka he helped fast track the establishment of the Calabar campus of the University, which later metamorphosed into the present day University of Calabar.
After bowing out of active public service in 1974. He went on to established companies like MasIbob Company Limited, which provided vital logistics for Mobil Producing Nigeria, Crosdale, a property investment company, and Emochi Associated, a construction company. Abia also ventured into agriculture, cultivating cassava on an area of over 1200 hectares which was then recognized by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), as the largest cassava farm in West Africa. Between 1979 and 1980, he acquired the “Dr. Pepper” franchise and ventured into the production soft drinks. Unfortunately, Dr. Pepper’s growth was later thwarted at its prime courtesy of the federal government’s economic policies at that time. This development prompted him to diversify into the construction industry and this gave birth to Strade e Ponti, one of the best equipped indigenous company east of the Niger with clients like the Federal Government, Akwa Ibom State Government, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Ltd, and Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited.
A tireless champion for community service, Abia was coronated as the Clan Head of Idua Eket, November, 2012 and enthroned as the Paramount Ruler of Eket in December, 2016.
Akwa Ibom Celebrate a foresight son and ruler.