Surveyor Okokon Udodong Essien, of Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State was born on November 28, 1959 in Port Harcourt; had his elementary education there, in Lagos, and in Uyo. His high school education was at the fabled Methodist Boys’ High School, Oron. He later attended the University of Calabar (UNICAL) and completed the National Youth Service in Ondo State in July of 1981.
His dissertation on Quantum Mechanics/Nuclear Physics had earned him the UNICAL Foundation Scholarship Award which he turned down to pursue a post graduate programme in Surveying at the University of Lagos, were he graduated top of his class in 1983 and later studied Integrated Map and Geo-information Production (Geoinformatics) at the prestigious International Institute for Aerospace Surveys and Earth Sciences (ITC), The Netherlands where he obtained the MSc degree (with Distinction) in December 1992.
He resisted the lure to stay back for a PhD programme on an all-expenses paid foreign scholarship and returned home to render service to his profession and home State particularly as he was bonded to the Government.
Starting as Master Grade two and later transferred to become Pupil Surveyor in the then Cross River State Government service, with commitment to duty, loyalty to Government, profession, and through dint of hard work, he rose every inch of the way to become the Surveyor General of Akwa Ibom State in January 2006 and was later admitted to the prestigious college of Permanent Secretaries in January 2007.
He has served creditably in several Government committees at the State and Federal Levels. As State Surveyor General, he radically transformed the service delivery in that office to the admiration of his colleagues and in overall public interest.
His profile can be outlined as below:
First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) (Distinction Level) – 1972; WAEC Examination (Division One-Distinction) – 1976; BSc. Physics (Specialization-Geophysics; Dissertation- Quantum Mechanics/ Nuclear Physics) – 2nd Class (Hons) Upper Division. – 1980; PGD Surveying – University of Lagos (top of the class) in 1983; Msc+ (with Distinction in Geoinformatics) Enschede, Holland-December 1992.
Final written examination of Surveyors’ Licensing Board; passed at first attempt – 1986 & top of the pack; Registered by Surveyors’ Council of Nigeria (SURCON) – 1989; Member SURCON – January 2006 till date; Member SURCON Disciplinary Committee- till date;Former Member, SURCON Registration Committee; Special Class Compulsory Examination of the State Civil Service; passed all papers at first attempt in 1995;
Was member, Ten-man Presidential Committee on drafting a National Geo-information Policy under the auspices of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA) Abuja, 2003; Was member National Geo-Spatial Data Infrastructure (NGDI) Committee, Abuja; Former Chairman, National Sub-Committee on Geo-information Standards (NGDI Committee); Was member Capacity Building Committee (NGDI), Abuja; National Secretary General of the Geo-information Society of Nigeria (GEOSON); Was member, Constitution Review Committee of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors,( NIS), Lagos; National Council Member, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) 2000 – 2004); Former Secretary NIS, Akwa Ibom Branch (1996-2000); Invested as Fellow, NIS August 2006 (Abuja Sheraton Hotels and Towers); Former National Chairman, NIS Calendar Committee; Founding member, International Geospatial Society (IGS) Canada- 2009; Member, Steering Committee of the Africa Geodetic Reference Frame (AFREF); Former WAEC Examiner- Physics, Add-Mathematics, and Practical Physics (1983 to 87); Former Examiner–Students’ Projects – Geoinformatics and Survey Department, University of Uyo.
He has been a Recipient of:
NIS Presidential Recognition,(Uyo AGM of NIS- Dr. Bosun Ayinde) May 1997; NIS Presidential Recognition (Abuja Sheraton Hotels and Towers -Dr. Olusola Atilola) – 27/08/2009; Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administration (fcai); Fellow, Institute of Supervision and Leadership (fisl)-Airport Hotel, Ikeja –Lagos – (24/10/09); African Choice Meritorious Service Award- Int. Conference Centre, Abuja (18/3/09); GEOSON Leadership Award- Enugu 24/4/2008; Leadership and Role Model Award – Minna, Niger State, 30/4/2009; African Credibility Award, Abuja, 27/11/2009; ICON, International Inst. of Comparative Leadership, Abuja Hilton, 13/06/2009; Universal Achievers International Gold Award, Ghana, 19/12/2009; National award for Transparency and Accountability on June 5th 2010; Award of Recognition, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Akwa Ibom State Branch, 21/10/2004; Award of Recognition, Nigerian Institute of Architects, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, 17/07/2009; Award of Recognition, Ifa Atai Community, 29/12/2007; Award of Excellence, Uyo Traditional Rulers’ Council, 24/11/2007; Elder, Methodist Church of Nigeria; PhD Honoris Causa in Public Administration by the Evangel Christian University, Monroe, Louisiana, USA on 17th October 2009; Degree of Doctor of Science (DSc.-Professional) Honoris Causa by the European-American University, Commonwealth of Dominica, Africa Campus, University of Legon, Ghana on June 5th 2010; NIS Presidential Honour as Distinguished Fellow (Hon. Bode Adeaga) on 29th August 2013.
Surveyor Essien who has traveled widely in Nigeria, Africa, Europe, America, Australia and beyond, owes his modest accomplishments to God, strict parental upbringing, and moral discipline. He loves discourses on a wide range of subjects; from heavy metal (gospel) music, comics, ancient battles, arts and philosophy, modern history, noetic sciences, space exploration, stunts, heroic failures and bloopers.
As a person, Surveyor Essien exudes the charisma of a balanced individual with no ethnic colours, but with care for service and humanity, self-assured, humane, compassionate and strongly opinionated on professional and contemporary matters though consistently open-minded.
He keeps faith with the labours of our heroes past. Surveyor Essien has four children – two girls and two boys.