t was on the 20th November 1938 that the late Chief Bassey Udo Adiaha Attah and his wife, Madam Agnes Bassey Attah had the little boy, Victor, in what is now Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom State. His late father, Chief Attah, the first Nigerian to obtain a Master’s Degree in Agriculture and a Post-Graduate Diploma from the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, was a great farmer, teacher, and a dedicated leader with his intellectual disposition. All these qualities were incorporated to the tutelage of his son, Victor.
At a very early age, Victor learnt that whatever one sets out to do in life, you must put in the very best to do it well, no compromise or half measures, only the best was good enough. With this policy, he set out for life and has found himself in circumstances that helped to develop his strength of character, a purposeful will, and a lot of self-reliance. Five months before he was born, the late Chief Attah left Nigeria to study in the USA, and it was in the same year that the Second World War broke out and so, for the young chap, the first seven years of his life were without his father and also being born in the midst of hostilities meant that he is a leader who cannot be intimidated by any challenge.
He launched his educational ambition at the Native Authority School, Asutan Ekpe and later, he was at the Government Practising School, Uyo. His taste of High School was at Hope Wadell Training Institute, Calabar – founded by the Scottish Missionary, the late Rev. Hope Wadell -from where he was transferred to the St. Patrick College, Calabar. Before leaving Nigeria for Leeds, where he obtained his First Degree in Architecture in 1964, Victor attended the then Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology, Zaria, now the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, from 1957 – 1960, passing out with the Intermediate Diploma of the Royal Institute of British Architects, RIBA.
Following in the steps of his illustrious father, he also studied at Liverpool University from 1964 – 1965, where he got a Post Graduate Diploma in Building Science. From 1965 – 1966, he moved to Columbia University, New York, thus bagging a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design with Planning.
A registered professional by the Architect Registration Council of Nigeria, ARCON, a practitioner of the National Council of Architects Registration Board, NCARB, of the State of New York, and a member by qualification, of the American Institute of Architects, AIA, coupled with a fellowship of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, FNIA his professional and educational attainments have been translated into a fulfilled life of practice. Some of the projects include:
- The University of Calabar master plan
- The University of Port-Harcourt Emergency Campus design
- Head Office Building for the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, Abuja
- Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna
His professional practice has also brought in responsibilities such as being the President, Nigerian Institute of Architects, and Vice President, ARCON. Obong Attah has also consulted for the British Overseas Development Agency’s Team for projects in Malawi, South Africa, and parts of the Caribbean.
Before stepping out to administer his governance over the people of Akwa-Ibom, his days starts in the presence of God and at six, he also attends a daily mass. His love and affection for his Creator has earned him a Knighthood from the Catholic Ancient Order of St. John, KSJ. His citation, according to Kayode Soyinka, “is better told in short stories in order to retain its flavour.’ Obong Attah, noble by birth, but humble at heart; down to earth by nature, but with the braveness of a lion. How else would one explain a lone voice from the voiceless minority stridently demanding the rights of resource control for his people amidst and against very strong ethnic, political, and governmental powers. Pardon me if I say that the braveness in that heart is cocooned in a smile, that same smile that refuses to fade in the midst of adversity and tough challenges. A confident smile that seems to say I know where I am going, and I know what I am doing. A smile that some have, to their regret, mistaken for weakness.”
For a man who entered into politics due to his burning desire to tackle perceived injustices in the society and improve the living conditions of his people. Attah began this journey by getting elected into the Constitutional Conference of 1994-95. In a recent speech, he declared; “I cradle a vision of an Akwa-Ibom which becomes an investor’s choice, a paradise for commerce and thee tourists desired destinations”. These dreams, it was claimed, are fast becoming reality. His other life as a committed democrat was recently acknowledged by the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation of the Congress of the United States House of Representatives. Apart from having an uncompromising belief in True Fiscal Federalism, Attah is also an advocate of Resource Control.
It is in recognition of these towering and overwhelming achievements and accomplishments of His Excellency, Arc. (OBONG) VICTOR BASSEY ATTAH that Starman Magazine has considered him worthy for Starman Distinguished Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service to Humanity.