Obong Michael Akpan Afangideh
Centenarian Elder statesman
Obong Michael Akpan Afangideh is a pragmatic political leader, successful businessman and elder statesman. Popular referred to as the political Iroko of Akwa Ibom and his service to humanity crowned with the prestigious honour of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) presented to him by the immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2004.
Born on November 25, 1919 to Chief and Madam Akpan Afangideh in Nto Afangideh Family in Ikot Umo Essien, Essien Udim LGA, Akwa Ibom State. He grew up in an underdeveloped community with limited access to education, but he was determined to break through in life in spite of all odds. By God’s special providence, young Michael Afangideh was sponsored in primary school from 1937-1943 by a Qua Iboe Mission teacher cum preacher, Mr. John Ette Uko. The acquisition of western education and conversion into Christianity was the turning point that helped shape his future.
In 1955, he was enlisted into the Nigerian Army but resigned in 1957 to take up appointment with the state civil service as a Sanitory Inspector. He left the civil service in 1977 and in 1980, he started Afangideh and Sons Motors Limited, Ikot Ekpene on the advice of his late Chief Sunny Ntuk. The car sales company grew to become a household name in the old Cross River State through its innovative hire purchase scheme, which empowered several citizens to own cars with a down payment amount of N500.
As the car sales business flourished, it brought Obong M. A. Afangideh fame, influence, power and wealth and being a man with great passion for community service, Obong Afangideh channeled his wealth into community development and providing scholarships for students from his community.
He later ventured into politics in 1979 with the ushering in of the third republic. since then, Obong M. A. Afangideh’s active role in politics has influenced the emergence of credible leaders in various political offices or positions from the old Cross River to Akwa Ibom States. Such leaders include: Late Dr. Clement Nyong Isong (1979-1983) under the NPN; Late Obong Akpan Isemin (1992-1993) under the NRC; Arc. (Obong) Victor Bassey Attah (1999-2007) under the PDP; Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio (2007-2015) under the PDP and the current leader, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel (2015-to the present), among others.
His raft of over 35 awards and titles within and outside Akwa Ibom State validates his reputation as a great leader and statesman and some of these includes: The Order of the Niger (OON); The Patriach and President, Adaha Akwa Ibom; Political Leader of Akwa Ibom; Grand Patron of African and Catholic Churches; Certificate of Honour by the Pontiff of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis; The Trustee of Afe Annang; Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio Award of Patriotism; and Ati Annang’s Lifetime Achievements, among others. He is married and the marriage is blessed with children and grandchildren.