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Wednesday, March 3, 2021


As excitements continue to trail the siting of a new  industrial shipyard in Akwa Ibom State, the Chairman, Norfin Offshore Shipyard, Mr. Charles Udonwa has revealed that the dream of setting up the business in Nigeria, nay, Akwa Ibom State, would not have become a reality but for the pioneering roles of Mr. Udom Inoyo.

Mr. Charles Udonwa stated this to his management team and staff members while receiving Mr. Udom Inoyo who, in the company of Dr. George Akpan, was at the shipyard in Oruk Anam Local Government Area, for a courtesy visit.

Mr. Udonwa, an Akwa Ibom-born, Singapore-based shipbuilder, took out time to commend Mr. Inoyo and Dr. Akpan for believing in the dream when many others did not and for clearing the pathway for the siting of Norfin Offshore Shipyard Limited in Akwa Ibom State, despite initial setbacks.

"Our shipyard would not have been here today without you. Today, Norfin Offshore is a success story, but what is not well known is the pioneering role played by these two gentlemen present here today.

"I remember when we first contemplated setting up a shipyard in Nigeria, there were so many discouraging factors. Some persons even said, we should not be trusted, for whatever reason. But you stood by us, insisted that Akwa Ibom was the best location for the business, utilized your contacts, facilitated access to land, involving His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, who did everthing to make our being here today a reality".

The oil and gas multi-billion naira investor took his audience down memory lane and explained how Mr. Inoyo and Dr. Akpan helped his business and those of others. He particularly spoke of Mr. Udom Inoyo's contributions over the years towards attracting a good number of investors to Akwa Ibom State.

"I had first met Dr. George Akpan in Singapore when he was a doctoral student at the National University of Singapore and we struck a bond of friendship that has lasted till today. George later returned to Nigeria to work for ExxonMobil. It was him who introduced me to Mr. Inoyo, also of ExxonMobil who rose to the enviable position of Executive Vice Chairman.

"What is not publicly known is that in 2015, I worked closely with Mr. Inoyo to bring  investors to Akwa Ibom State. Mr. Inoyo and I attended the Singapore-Nigeria Business Forum in Singapore where we wooed investors to Akwa Ibom State. Also, in 2016, when I brought a group of over 30 investors from Singapore to Nigeria, it was Mr. Inoyo that facilitated the current Deputy Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Moses Ekpo, to come to Lagos and address the Singapore investors; that opportunity was accorded to Akwa Ibom State alone and it yelded bountifully. Not even Lagos State, where the event held, had that special privilege.

"Far and beyond that, Mr. Inoyo has played several other key roles in opening up the business space in Akwa Ibom State, particularly in encouraging investors to look in the direction of the state in their investment decisions. By using his personal resources and corporate networks, he quietly traveled to Asia and other parts of the world to woo investors to Akwa Ibom State. As a person, he has contributed significantly to the development of Akwa Ibom State and to the empowerment of Akwa Ibom people within and outside the state and even beyond the shores of Nigeria".

According to Mr Udonwa, there were many like him whose sucess stories are inalienably linked to encouragements received from Udom Uko Inoyo. He disclosed that there were a good number of Akwa Ibom indigenes in the hydrocarbon business space either as investors, operators, contractors or employees, who would eternally remain grateful to Inoyo for his pioneering supports and contributions towards their successes.

While noting that Mr. Inoyo is a man of integrity who has excellent leadership and rich repertoire of contacts that can be used to bring investors for the rapid transformation of the state, Mr. Udonwa solicited the continuous support of the erstwhile ExxonMobil Vice Chairman, especially in the area of access to corporate and government agencies who may have need to patronize the professional services of Norfin Offshore Limited.

In his response, Mr. Udom Inoyo thanked the Chairman and his wife, Kamarunnisa Shaul Hameed, who is the CEO of Norfin Offshore Limited, for accepting to site their business in Akwa Ibom State, noting that investments like theirs deepen the stakes of Akwa Ibom State in the hydrocarbon space and open up opportunity for employment, capacity building, profit optimization, with multiplier effects on the local economy of the state and that of Nigeria at large.

Mr. Inoyo thanked the Chaiman and his team for remembering his contributions, noting that the roles that he and Dr. George Akpan played were on account of identifying with a fellow Akwa Ibomite who was serious about utilizing his talents and contacts for the general good. 

He congratulated the organisation on the recent unveiling of its multi-billion naira shipyard by Governor Udom Emmanuel, promised never to renege on his (Inoyo's) support to the Company and prayed other stakeholders to do everything in their power to enable indigenous companies to succeed. He charged the management and staff to always stay above board, noting that nothing facilitates business success better than hardwork, diligence and integrity.

Norfin Offshores Limited is an indigenous, high-tech, global best standard ship-building company that recently built and launched one of its products, a nine-meter fast-pace security escort vessel christened 'MV Norfin Swift' in its shipyard in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.


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