Kufre Ekanem: A Product of Grace @ 50
By Simisola Adesanya Omolabake
Fifty years is a golden age that translates to not less than 18,250 days of existence without being caught up in any of the dangers and evils that abound in the world. These are the numbers of days that Abasikufre Udoudo Ekanem has been enjoying the protective and loving grace of Almighty God. He breathed his very first earthly air at Teinso Clinic on Nsukka Street, Mile One, Diobu, Port Harcourt on Monday, August 11, 1969 at exactly 10:20pm. The manifold grace of God that has since came upon him at birth still remains till date.
Kufre actually hails from Akwa Ibom State, but he was born and bred in the cosmopolitan Garden City of Port Harcourt. He is the immediate past Corporate Affairs Adviser and member of the Executive Committee of Nigerian Breweries Plc. He is till date an acclaimed corporate marketing expert and equally a renowned writer and poet.
The grace of God began to manifest in the life of Kufre by the fact of being born into a rich family and he never lacked anything while growing up. However, irrespective of the rich upbringing of Kufre, he is such a down to earth person who does not like being judged by the money in his pocket. As a matter of principle, he does not like any man that is not rich but allows such circumstance to affect his reasoning. Just as he would not relate too long with a wealthy person who allows wealth to influence the working of his brain.
Kufre is undoubtedly an extremely cerebral, talented, widely travelled, very well read and extravagantly imbued with the gift of the gab. He is also a man of big dreams and vision. He is driven by passion and commitment to hard work.
Only a man that is led by strong power of conviction in personal talent and passion for actualization of dreams could have resigned from such a plum job as the Corporate Affairs Adviser of Nigeria Breweries. Kufre resigned and took a deep plunge into the uncertain world of entrepreneurship in a bid to give fulfillment to his age long dream. He now owns and runs a multi dimensional consulting firm known as Phillosoville Limited. It is a company that specializes in Culture, Public Relations, Marketing and Brand Management.
It must be noted that one of the reasons why Kufre left Nigeria Breweries was because of Hymnodia, a Gospel Reality Show which he conceived its idea more ten years ago. Hymnodia had actually brought 14 talented hymn singers together out of which Kenneth Ekhuemelo emerged as the winner in a grand finale held at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.
The decision of Kufre to once again bring hymns to position of relevance was what informed his idea of Hymnodia. He had equally expressed fears that hymns have been going into extinction because of the fact that singing of hymns that used to be a big deal while he was growing up is now being relegated by the people.
Kufre had a glorious and meritorious working career that spanned over a period of 30 years with reputable companies that include Kraft Foods, Mondelez, Cadbury, So&U and Nigeria Breweries. The last place of his employment was with Nigerian Breweries Plc where he held forth as the Corporate Affairs Adviser for five years before he resigned at the end of September, 2018.
Ekanem is a cosmopolitan person who had his primary school education in Port Harcourt before he proceeded to Ikot Ekpene for his Secondary School education at the Federal Government College, Ikot Ekpene. He afterwards proceeded to University of Calabar, where he studied Business Management for both his Bachelor and Masters degrees. Thereafter, he was posted to Ibadan for his mandatory one year NYSC programme. The vastness of business opportunities in Ibadan spurred Kufre to later become a leading figure in corporate marketing and marketing communications.
The decision of Kufre to leave a very comfortable working environment and ventured into the world of entrepreneurship did not come as a surprise after all. The knack of Kufre for entrepreneurship began to manifest while in the university. He never felt contented with the financial and material provisions of his rich father; rather he delved into buying and selling while in the university because of his desire to generate more money.
Kufre Ekanem may have resigned from his last paid employment, but he has not retired from active engagements. He has indeed seen and conquered in the corporate world of paid employment; but not yet satisfied with his many achievements in the board room. However, the story and life of Kufre would not be deemed complete without the roles of his better half.
Kufre has been married to beautiful and intelligent Ezinne for 22 years whom she once described as fire and himself as water of their marriage. The marriage is blessed with one daughter and the highly intelligent and smart young lady is known to be independent minded.
Above all, the grace of God has kept their union together over the decades. In the words of Kufre, “We are not two perfect people but two imperfect persons trying to work together towards something”.
Entrepreneurial Ezinne is an interior designer who owns and operate Rosemary’s Soft Furnishing Company. Their paths coincidentally crossed in the cause of their jobs. Kufre and his wife, Ezinne were at a time working with competing agencies. But they were guided by their principles until she left the job to set up a furniture company. Interestingly, the blossoming furniture company was started with N22, 000.
Kufre Ekanem is a known workaholic who also loves to relax when very necessary by hanging out with his wife and friends. He would not mind throwing caution to the wind while in the company of his wife and friends.
Notwithstanding his desire for a quiet, meaningful and reflective birthday, the quantum of his goodwill, wonderful family members and circle of extremely successful and goodhearted friends of Kufre would not allow the day to pass without national attention drawn to the man that has attained a golden age. The birthday was eventually blown out of desired quietness as envisaged by Kufre through the actions of his wife, uncles and in-laws when it was publicised online. He ended up receiving thousands of online messages, videos and calls from across the world. A website, www.kufreat50.com was also created to celebrate him on occasion of his 50th birthday.
Kufre Ekanem is truly 50 years of age and he golden age fittingly looks so good on him. Many happy returns to a great man of many interesting parts and lucrative ideas.