Nigeria’s President Buhari has expressed shock and grief over the death of the former Secretary to the Federal Government, (SGF) Chief Ufot Ekaette, describing him as “a consummate administrator who dedicated himself to duty in the course of his distinguished public service.”
Ekaette who served as secretary to the government between 1999 and 2007 and was the pioneer minister for Niger Delta, was 80 years old.
In a condolence statement, President Buhari extolled the late Ekaette “as a gentleman who had given his best in the service of his country.”
According to the President, “the late Ekaette would always be remembered not only for his remarkable public service record, but also because of his immense contributions towards bringing peace in the once troubled Niger Delta region.” While condoling the Ekaette family, the government and people of Akwa Ibom State over the death of the former SGF, President Buhari regretted that “his demise comes at a time when voices like his own are needed to move Nigeria forward in the face of daunting challenges.”
Late Ufot Ekaette was born in 1939 in Ikot Edor, Onna Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. He attended King’s College, Lagos, graduating in 1960, then went to University College, Ibadan where he earned a B.Sc in Economics in 1964. He joined the Federal Civil Service on 28 July 1964. Ekaette was principal secretary to Head of State General Yakubu Gowon (1968–1975).
Ekaette served in the Federal Ministries of Industries (1975), Information (1977–1979), Education (1979) and National Planning (1979–1983). He was secretary, Public Service Department and Head of Service (1984). He was director, External Finance at the Federal Ministry of Finance (1985–86). Ekaette was appointed Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industries in January 1986, later Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in 1988. He was Director-General, Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (June 1988 – March 1989), Director-General, Federal Ministry of Social Development, Youth and Sports (1989) and Director-General (Planning), Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning (1990). In 1990, he was appointed Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State under Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga. In 1996, he became a non-executive director of First Bank of Nigeria, a post he held until May 1999 The President prayed God Almighty to comfort the Ekaette family, friends and relations, and grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.