…As Udom Inoyo Bows Out
By Tom FredFish
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of humanity" -Mahatma` Ghandi“`
On May 4, 2020, the Executive Vice Chairman of ExxonMobil companies in Nigeria, Mr. Udom Inoyo will officially retire from ExxonMobil after over 30 meritorious years in office.
An internal memo dated Monday, April 27, 2020 signed by the company’s Chairman, Mr. Paul McGrath heralding the news of his retirement reads in part:
“U. U. (Udom) Inoyo, Vice Chairman & Management External Advisor, Upstream Nigeria, will retire from the Company after more than 30 years of meritorious service.”
The memo which filtered into the media space like wildfire since Monday afternoon has elicited joyful mood in many Akwa Ibom people who trooped in to the social media to congratulate the outgoing Vice Chairman of the multinational corporation.
Who is Mr. Udom Inoyo?
Mr. Inoyo hails from Ikot Okoro Ubium in Nsit Ubium Local Government area of Akwa Ibom state. He is a lawyer, administrator, and an accomplished professional in the oil and gas sector, with a track record of outstanding leadership in community service and advocacy. He holds a B.Sc degree in Political Science (1981) and LL.B in Law (1987) from the University of Calabar and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1988. He is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School and Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona, USA. In the course of his almost 35 years of working life, 30 of which have been in the oil and gas sector, Mr Inoyo has attended as well as led several management and leadership programmes.
He enjoys speaking on the subject of Leadership and Integrity, Human capacity development and Business Ethics. His adeptness in those subjects is a result of his all-around experience and proven ability across various echelons of leadership and management positions.
Mr Inoyo is a very consummate professional. He is synonymous with value creation. He is not one of those who got to where they are, by sheer reason of who they knew.
Mr. Udom Inoyo’s journey to the top has been an unmitigated product of commitment, dedication, honesty, hard work and tenacity. He started very early when he joined the service of Cross River state government as an Administrative Officer. His stark diligence and absolute willingness to learn saw him working in many important committees and departments of the Ministry of Works, such as the Central Contractors Registration Board, Tenders Board and the Essential Commodities Distribution Committee, and later in the Cabinet Office.
In 1986, he was assigned to the Cross River State Liaison Office, Lagos, as Administrative officer, and remained in that role until the creation of Akwa Ibom state in 1987. As one of the very few senior officers of Akwa Ibom origin, Inoyo had the onerous responsibility of managing the office during the transition phase with the responsibility of providing onboarding support to the pioneer Governor, then, Colonel Tunde Ogbeha.
Joining Mobil producing Nigeria in 1989, his penchant for hard work earned him an assignment to Mobil Exploration and Production, USA, as a Human Resources Advisor, in New Orleans, supporting the Gulf of Mexico business. Between 2000 and 2001, he had further assignments, both in ExxonMobil Inter-America Inc., Coral cables, Florida and the ExxonMobil office in Houston, Texas, before relocating to Brussels as Compensation Advisor in the Europe, Africa and Middle East Center of Expertise. Upon return to Nigeria, Mr Inoyo was appointed General Manager, External Relations in 2002, with responsibility for Government, Community, and Media Relations for all ExxonMobil affiliates in Nigeria.
In 2004, he was appointed into the Board of Mobil Producing Nigeria as Executive Director and became the In-Country Human Resources Manager in 2006. He is currently the Vice-Chairman of ExxonMobil companies in Nigeria. Over the years, Inoyo has utilized his vast experiences to pioneer and promote initiatives in Oil & Gas Project Resourcing, Oil Industry Advocacy and Influencing, Management and Public Policy Advocacy.
What Does He Represent?
Mr. Udom Inoyo represents hard work, integrity and discipline. He is not boastful or proud. He is a selfless, prudent and God-fearing man. He is also a team player, building consensus with ease and great manager of resources with unquenchable passion for excellence.
He has no issues with any anti corruption agencies globally, not even with the EFCC, ICPC or any of the Security Agencies in Nigeria. That is why he is a model for many, old and young Nigerians, who are dedicated to make impacts in life. These values have taken him to the enviable status as the Executive Vice Chairman of Exxon Mobil Companies in Nigeria.
Humanitarian Gesture / Community Service
Mr. Udom Inoyo is a humanitarian with a deep passion for education, human capacity development and community service. Worried by the declining standard of education in Nigeria and his state Akwa Ibom origin, in particular, Mr Inoyo in 2007 inspired the establishment of Inoyo Toro Foundation, in response to the need for private sector involvement in the education sector. The Foundation has been leveraged to advance the recognition of teachers in Public Secondary School as well as mentor students in Akwa Ibom state. As at the last yearly award held in November 2019, over 240 public secondary school teachers in Akwa Ibom state have been empowered with cash prizes. In 2014, he opened a library in his village at Ikot Okoro Ubium, as an ancillary learning facility for secondary school students outside their classroom experience. He also ensured the construction of four classroom blocks and a staff office in 2006 at the Four Towns Primary School, which accommodates pupils from four villages in his community.
He has also supported tertiary education in Akwa Ibom state. He is the backbone to the start-up of the International Centre for Energy and Environmental Sustainability Research (ICEESR), in the university of Uyo in 2015 and had supported countless of students, journalists and career seekers to pay their school fees.
Mr. Inoyo is highly committed to community service in his place of origin. He has made several attempts in his private capacity, using personal funds to empower, develop and build the capacity of the people from his community and others in general. He has used his position and relationship with top government functionaries to attract several projects to his community, one of which is the road in his village. He was also the first to influence electricity distribution in his village as far back as the late-80s.
Concerned about the untoward state of the local economy of the rural women, Mr Udom Inoyo in 2004 attracted the establishment of a cassava mill, palm fruit mill and poultry farms under the Integrated Community Development Programme (ICDP) in his community.
He further empowered a lot of youths and women in skills acquisition by setting up and sponsoring an empowerment programme for various skills such as welding, electrical repairs, plumbing, bricklaying, aluminum, fashion design, generator repairs and maintenance among others with beneficiaries that spread across other communities in Nsit Ubium and the state. Over 60 Akwa Ibom youths and women have benefited from the programme; and as a result, they have been able to marry, provide for their families, build houses, own vehicles and meet other material needs.
He assisted in attracting pipe-borne water within reach of everyone, halting the rural dwellers from trekking long distances to fetch water from streams by ensuring the installation of a water plant which has been servicing the people since 2003.
Mr Inoyo has assisted a lot of graduates who were seeking for jobs to cater for themselves and families in a systemic employment plan that has seen to the employment of many youths from his community in private companies, international corporations, ministries and departments in addition to influencing some political appointments in their favour.
As a genuine Christian, the church in his community is not left out of his humanitarian gesture. He has also impacted the lives of the Church and women in his community. He is the major financier of the Qua Iboe Church, Ikot Okoro Ubium and has empowered a good number of women in the church with a substantial amount of money for startups. His humanitarian service has also been extended to the women in his community who have benefited from his financial empowerment and continuous goodwill in their lives, in the last one decade.
Besides his community, Mr. Inoyo has influenced the capacity building of Akwa Ibom youths in the state. He got ExxonMobil to partner with the International Finance Cooperation, IFC, the private sector investment arm of the World Bank, to bring in their flagship entrepreneurship development programme called, Support and Training Entrepreneurship Program (STEP), thereby facilitating Nigerian citizens of Akwa Ibom origin to establish, run and grow their businesses. He also attracted Growing Businesses Foundation (GBF), one of the foremost micro-credit implementing entity, to provide access to critical business finance for Micro and Small Enterprises in the state and assembled a highly cerebral team to devise a blue-print for the establishment of a sustainable development programme for Littoral Oil-Bearing Communities in the state.
Mr Udom Inoyo has sustained silent empowerment initiatives and utmost goodwill in Akwa Ibom over the years. His philosophy is anchored on the fact that, charitable works should not go along with publicity stunts and media display.
He is a past Chairman of Public & Government Affairs and Human Resources Committees of the Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries; a distinguished Service Awardee of the Institute of Petroleum Studies, University of Port Harcourt; Member, Institute of Directors of Nigeria (IoD); Member, Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio and is a Paul Harris Fellow. In recognition of his leadership role and promotion of corporate governance in the workplace, Mr Udom Inoyo was in 2013 honoured by ExxonMobil Cooperative Society with the naming of a 100 Units Housing Estate located at Ajah, Lagos state, after him: “INOYO HAVEN”.
Having previously served as Chairman of her Strategic and Policy Implementation committee, and later Vice President, Mr Inoyo was in April 2017, elected the President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM). He is the Coordinator of the Emerging Leaders Academy of the Ikoyi Baptist Church, Lagos – a forum established to prepare the young ones for leadership roles.
Mr Udom Uko Inoyo is Married to Ntekpe, and they are blessed with 4 children: Itoro, Aniekan, Mfoniso and Samuel.
Life After Retirement
As Udom Inoyo bows out of ExxonMobil having served creditably well, making millions of Akwa Ibom proud, it is time to celebrate successful years in service, discipline, integrity and hard work.
Akwa Ibom people should applaud him for an unblemished 30 solid years outing; for his numerous contributions to the state and his beliefs to mould the society.
With the end of his successful career from the multinational oil company, it is also expected that Akwa Ibom people will leverage on his goodwill and benefit from his wealth of experience and resourcefulness at the private sector for close to three decades.
Thus, after reviewing his superlative and untainted private service record, opinion moulders cutting across diverse class of people in Akwa Ibom state have called on the man who has been variously described as the “proverbial white goat” to reconsider looking inwards in his state. The intention of those thinking along that line is for him to bring to bear the vast wealth of experience, connection and exposure, which could contribute significantly in moving Akwa Ibom state to an enviable height.
For now, the capacity in which they want him to participate, or how they wish him to do so remains unknown. As he bids farewell to ExxonMobil after over 30 years in office, by 4, May 2020, time will tell how his life after a meritorious career with Exxon Mobil could best be optimised for greater good in Akwa Ibom.
Dr. Tom FredFish is a journalist and lecturer at the International Institute of Journalism, Uyo.