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87 Years On Earth: Spotlight On Anthony Ani’s Silent Achievements In Cross River, Nigeria

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Anthony Ani
Anthony Ani

In the spotlight is Etubom Anthony Ani (MON, OFR, KSS) an elder statesman from Cross River State and a former Nigerian Finance and Foreign Affairs Minister.

The London trained, seasoned and chartered accountant is the lead contender for the stool of Obong of Calabar, which has been the subject of a persistent traditional leadership tussle.

On the 6th of July 2023, the octogenarian will add another year to his age, ignoring the intrigues from inception, Etubom Ani is being primed for his next phase of life having been proclaimed as ‘Obong of Calabar’, a look at his profile shows rich history of affiliation with his root and people, as it beams rays of hope to proffer a lasting legacy for the Efik kingdom and Cross River at large;

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Birth and Family:
On the 6th of July, 1936, Etubom Anthony Ani was born into four Royal families of Efik land. His paternal great grandfather was Prince Ani Eniang Offiong of Ikoneto. His paternal grandmother was Princess Ekpowan Ene Mkpang of Cobham Town, Calabar. His own mother was Princess Bassey Edem Effiwatt of Edem Effiom Ekpo Royal family, while his maternal grandmother was Princess Mbonke Edet Nsa the first daughter of Obong Edet Nsa (a.k.a) Prince Magnus Duke Henshaw who’s progenitor was Obong Ansa Effiom the patriarch of Henshaw Town and its constituent dynasties.

Born in the fourth generation of a family with formal British education, Etubom Ani is the eldest son of Late Chief Michael Okon Nsa Ani, a top Nigerian Civil Servant and Administrator who was appointed a Federal permanent Secretary on Independence day, 1st October, 1960. His father was also the first Secretary of South Eastern State Government and the Chairman of the Federal Electoral Commission
(FEDECO) 1977-79. It is noteworthy to mention that while Etubom
Ani’s paternal great grandfather, Prince Ani Eniang Offiong, was the first Nigerian to qualify as what was then called a chemist and druggist (pharmacist) in 1876, his maternal grandfather Prince Edem Ekpenyong Effiwatt was the first postmaster general of what is today Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa States.

Education:
Etubom Ani attended Sacred Heart School Calabar 1941-1948, Holy
Cross School Lagos 1949-1951, St. Gregory’s College Lagos 19521957 where he obtained the Cambridge School Certificate in Grade 1 Division. From 1961-1962 he attended City of London College London now Mansion House University where he studied Company Law and Taxation. He was articled in the firm of Casseltion Elliot & Co Chartered Accountants in the City of London from 1959-1964, qualified and was admitted as a member of the institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales in 1964. Etubom was admitted as a member of the institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria in 1965.

Professional
Career Highlights: Etubom Anthony A. Ani joined the firm of Peat Marwick Cassleton Elliott & Co. Chartered Accountants in 1965 as Audit Senior. He was admitted Partner in 1967 and became the senior partner in 1977. He was appointed to the Council of Peat Marwick International in 1981 and in 1988 he was one of the thirty signatories to the Charter of KPMG. He represented the West African Sub-Region in the Council of KPMG until he retired from practice in 1992.

As the Senior Partner of KPMG, he contributed to the development of the Private Sector of the Economy in Nigeria, Having advised most of the Oil Prospecting companies and those engaged in Manufacturing and Commerce. He also pioneered the training of women accountants in Nigeria.

He was the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria 1977-1978 during which tenure the institutes Secretariat was built. He also pioneered and implemented the Institute’s Accelerated Training Programme. He inaugurated the Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria (SWAN) for the enhancement of training of women as accountants in Nigeria.

In 1987, when the globalization of accountancy of profession was introduced, he was elected to represent Africa in the first ever Council of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). He also served in IFAC Education Committee that standardized accountancy education throughout the world. He was the co-founder of African Accounting Council in 1977.

National and Political
Appointments: His journey into politics earnestly started in 1988 when he jointly founded the Nigeria National Congress (NNC). When the NNC was banned in 1989 he became a founding member of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in 1990. He contested the Presidential Primaries under the umbrella of the NRC in 1993.
When the military took over in Nigeria in 1993 he was appointed
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and he has been the only Christian in Nigerian history to organize and lead one of the most successful Muslim pilgrims to the Holy Land in 1994.
In October 1994 he was made the acting Minister of Finance in addition to the portfolio of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Between February 1995 and March 1995, he held both portfolios of Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was during this time he led the Nigerian delegation to the world summit for the social development in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In March 1995, Etubom Ani was made the substantive Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. By the policies he instituted, the raging inflation of 88% in 1995 was stabilized at 8.5% in 1997. Throughout his tenure as minister of Finance, the exchange rate parity was maintained at N82 to $1, the subsidy free price of petroleum products was N11per litre and there were no external/Internally borrowings. All anti-investors laws (the Nigerian Enterprise Promotions Act, The Exchange Control Act and, Capital Transfer Tax Act) were repealed and replaced with the Nigerian Investment promotion Act, the Investment and securities act and the finance Miscellaneous Foreign Exchange Act, the drafting of which he co-authored. During his tenure, the customs and ports reforms were successfully executed and the assessment of customs duty at the point of export rather than the port of destination was introduced.

Etubom Ani was a member of the Development Committee of the World Bank from 1995-1997 and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank from 1995-1996. He was a one-time member of the body of Tax Appeal commissioners. He is also one of the leading authorities on Nigerian Taxation Laws. In 1977 he published the first authoritative book “Companies Income Tax and Petroleum Profit Tax in Nigeria”. In 1978, he conceived and introduced the concepts of the Tax Clearance Certificate and deduction of tax at source into the Nigerian Taxation Structure.

He was conferred with the National Honour, Member of the order of Niger (MON) in 1977 and Officer of The Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR) in 2012. He was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Science Degree in Public Finance by the University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in 1997. He holds the Zik’s award for Leadership and was conferred with a Papal Knighthood in 2007. Etubom was married to Morin and they are blessed with children.

Accomplishments:
State and Local Government Creation:
Etubom Ani was one of the Signatories to the accord between the Northern and Southern Senatorial districts that made up the present day Cross River State.
He and Chief Matthew Tawo Mbu Financed the State Creation and contributed to the funding of the State movements across Nigeria and Diaspora.
Etubom Ani and two others, Chiefs Ita Ekanem Ita and Archibong Omon christened then newly created state, “Akwa Ibom” while Ani gave the state its colour of golden yellow of the rainbow to show the constancy of the people of the state.
Etubom Ani was solely responsible for the creation of Bakassi Local Government of the present Cross River State.

Efik Kingdom:
From 1977 to 1980, Etubom Anthony Ani contributed over 60% of the
cost of the construction of the present Obong’s palace in Calabar. On August 2nd, 1980, Etubom Anthony Ani commissioned and declared the palace open for Edidem Essien Ekpe Oku. Records have it that Etubom Ani was the first Efik (or any other person for that matter) to donate a brand new Mazda 929 car for the use of the Obong of Calabar. Obong Adam Ephraim, Obong Otu Ekpeyong Effah and Obong Boco Ene Mkpong all used this car. He has also single handedly financed the provision of a new ‘Akata’ with all its embellishments and changed all the furniture in the palace.

He has served as the president of Esop Ndito Efik, Lagos
and was made a member of the Obong’s council as well as the Obong’s Ambassador. Etubom Ani delivered messages to the courts of the Oni of Ife and the Olubadan of Ibadan which made the Oni of Ife, Olubuse (ii) to attend the coronation ceremony of Obong Adam Ephraim in 1984.

*Source: Etubom (Dr.) Anthony Asuquo Ani

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