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Florence Akudo: Beautiful, daring, resourcefully intelligent

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FLORENCE Amaka Akudo, special adviser on special duties and continuous voter registration to Governor Willie Obiano, is atypical government appointee. Just as she is towering in stature, you see in her, a woman who strives to achieve excellence in her duties.

She has been with Obiano’s administration since June 2015, which illustrates how much he values her contributions to the state. She is a woman of many feats but modest in portraying her achievements. She once served as special adviser on internal generated revenue  (IGR) to  Gov. Obiano.

Meeting this lady of substance for the first time, in spite of finding it difficult to place her, her easygoing disposition charms you; besides, she matches her beauty with intellectual prowess. She is a teacher to the core and administrator par excellence, a woman who knows what she wants and goes after it.

She bagged Doctorate Degree in Educational Management and Policy; and attaining that height came with a price. She once had to combine the upbringing of her children, her studies, and teaching. Dr. Akudo says that she loves teaching; and would eventually go back to the classroom.

Anambra State recorded the highest number of registered voters for the 2019 general elections. A factor which she attributed to Governor Obiano for creating the Continuous Voter Registration office and found it worthy to assign her the responsibilty. The Governor she said wanted to get good number of Anambarians registered for the elections. And as the leading state in the Southeast, Governor Obiano desired that ndi Anambra participate fully in the electoral process.

“Many thanks to our amiable Gov. Willie Obiano, because he was poised and determined that eligible voters in Anambra State exercise their franchise. To show his commitment to that, he created the office of Continuous Voter Registration in the state. The first governor to do that in the history of this state, with this initiative, we have a legacy to bequeath to posterity. When that portfolio came on board, the Governor stated the importance of the office, he gave us the logistics, support and encouraged us to get result, and we did,” she said.

But she added that achieving that feat came with hard work, besides the publicity of CVR on radio, television, organized road shows and press conference.

“We held  sensitization exercise on CVR with traditional rulers in the state and it yielded result. They are our royal fathers and with communities to look after. That’s the reason we decided to start with them. After interacting with them, we decided to engage Anambra Association of Town Unions (ASATU). After them, it was the turn of the women and youths. In that same vein, we interacted with Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA). The students were not left out. We met with the Student Union Government (SUG) of all the tertiary institutions in the state. We liaise with these groups to get them in their numbers and this yielded result. Once you are determined to achieving a goal, you must surely get result.”

Dr. Akudo acknowledged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state for giving the necessary support. “The major challenge many students had was that they couldn’t go home to register. What INEC did was to take machines to all the tertiary institutions in the state to register them. This has never been done before.”

Born on August 5, 1968, the Akwaeze, Anambra State born administrator, quest for knowledge began with her primary education at Niger City Primary School Onitsha, she did her secondary education at Anglican Girls Secondary Onitsha and Ideke Girls Secondary School, Odekpe, where she finished in 1986.

Her thirst for tertiary education began in 1986 at College of Education, Awka, graduating with Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) in 1989. She obtained Bachelor of Education (B.ED) in Educational Administration and Supervision/Political Science in 1998 and Master’s (M.ED) in Educational Administration and Supervision in 2003, both from Nnamdi Azikiwe, University, Awka. She capped it with Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Educational Management and Policy from the same university in 2007.

For a teaching career that span over two decades, it began at Onitsha South Local Government Education Authority as a teacher with Ugborimili Primary School, Housing Estate III, Fegge, Onitsha, 1992-1994. Engaged by Anambra State Education Commission, Awka, she taught at Our Lady’s High School Onitsha, 1995-2003 and Eastern Academy, Onitsha, 2004-2006.

She began her post secondary school teaching career as a part-time lecturer at Nwafor Orizu College of Education Nsugbe in 2004 and was fully absorbed by the College in 2006 as Lecturer II. Until her appointment by Governor Obiano in 2015, she was a Principal Lecturer, Department of Educational Foundations and Administration at the College.

Her tenure as the special adviser on IGR saw an increase in the state revenue drive. A factor she credited to God and hard work, besides the experience of growing up in a business environment.

“I started where my predecessor stopped, that is the current Commissioner for Transport. I didn’t change the structure. I only built on the solid foundation he laid. I made effective use of the two enforcement agents I inherited from him. One is the monitoring unit on parks and the other is the due process that monitors the parks and other units. We often go to parks to monitor their activities, that period you hardly see me in the office; it was all field work.”

When asked how she seems to fit in easily into government coming from an academic background, she maintained that she is still an academic and by nature can adapt easily. “Remember, man is a political animal. I did mention that I studied educational administration and supervision in my first degree and political science as my teaching subject. If you study management or administration you can easily apply them in your day-to-day activity, they are interconnected. That has helped me”

On what she could describe as her contributions to Anambra State government under Gov. Willie Obiano. The Special Adviser stated that her office helped in mobilizing ndi-Anambra to vote for Governor Obiano to achieve the “21 over 21” victory in the 2017 gubernatorial election, the first in the history of the state. “My office also brought to the state the feat of having the highest number of registered voters in the Southeast. Under my watch as IGR Special Adviser we saw an increase in the state revenue drive. Above all, my office helped in driving home Governor Obiano ‘s Four Pillars of Development.”

Dr. Akudo sees no challenge of being a woman and a mother, but of being in government. “It may sound strange; I don’t have challenge of what you refer to as a woman and being a mother. At the home front, my children are all grown up. My last child is in the university. I have an understanding husband. He understands the nature of my job. If I have any reason to stay late in the office, he understands. When the workload becomes intense, he helps keep me organized. What I could describe as challenge is that I could be called upon at anytime as the nature of my duty demands and I must deliver.”

For her contributions to the society, the Akwaeze Town Union conferred on her Adaejiejemba in 2015. Neni Town Union honoured her in appreciation of her selfless service to Anambra State in December 2016. In 2017, the Apostleship of Prayer League of Sacred Heart of Jesus, Onitsha Archdiocese honoured  her with Sacred Heart of Jesus Award, among other numerous awards and honours she received.

Dr.  Akudo has edited and co-edited several books and has over 70 articles in reputable journals and books.

She is married to Bro. Benjamin Akudo, a businessman, whom she described as calm, loving, handsome, kindhearted gentleman and a Christian. They are blessed with five children.

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