The name Obol Akinwumi Anderson Ricketts – the Obol Nkama 1 of Ugep, Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State resonates around the nooks and crannies of State. His populist deposition has over the years enabled him carve a niche for himself as a maverick politician and an emerging leader, whose disposition to the people as well as acceptability is soaring higher like the harmattan whirlwind that catapults freshly seeds of great potentials to fertile grounds in readiness to bear fruitful branches and seeds.
In our present day society that is being pulled apart by atavistic cleavages and ethnic divisions which has greatly polarized the people amidst avarice and self-interest, the people need a peaceful, committed unifier, an instrument of motivation and harmonious co-existence to turn around things for the overall good of the society.
In all of these, Obol Ricketts rightly fit into this description as he offer himself to serve the people of Central Senatorial District as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A lovable personality who since growing into adulthood, has remained a vessel for progress and instruction of peace and development in and around his community and beyond. He has been a bridge builder, a true patriot that is revered and adored kingly in his native Ijiman Ward in Ugep Urban and Yakurr Local Government Area as a whole.
Akin, as his is fondly called by his peers and even senior friends, is a Public Relations expert – a profession in which he is currently a member of the Governing Council – the highest decision making organ of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR). As an accomplished businessman, Chief Ricketts had dedicated interest in a few companies, spread across different sectors of the nation’s economy such as Oil and Gas, Construction, Purchase and Supply, shipping, among others.
These different platforms in the business environment enabled him to touched the lives of many people that came his way including organization of Medical Outreaches for different ailments in and around communities in Yakurr; Scholarship awards for secondary and tertiary education students, embarking on many community development projects not only in Ugep but beyond his immediate communities. His thirst for philanthropy knew no bound as Obol Ricketts is always interested and willing to support anybody irrespective of where you come from.
It was therefore not a surprise that at a very young age, the Ugep Traditional Rulers’ Council bestowed on him the Prestigious Chieftaincy title of “Obol Nkama 1 of Ugep” which literally means the “Provider”, the “Protector” of the people.
Like the golden fish that has no hiding place, Obol Akin Ricketts was spotted by Governor Liyel Imoke in March 2012, when he was asked to join his administration and bring to bear his vast business acumen and experiences to further uplift the offerings of Cross River State.
This, he did exceedingly well as Commissioner for Information until the 29th of May, 2015 when the reins of governance changed from Governor Imoke and Senator (Prof) Benedict Ayade. Of course, he left the Ministry better with lots of milestones to his credit and emerged as the longest serving Commissioner in the Ministry since its creation in 1967.
His foray into the public service provided him an ample opportunity to endear himself more to his people in Yakurr and beyond through his people oriented philanthropic gestures. This has further enable him to create a fully circular relationship with his people, both young and old. Besides, he is now more passionate about growing people to reach their potentials.
A team player of great repute, Obol Rickets is loved and respected by the youth, women and elders; and like a child who washes his hand clean is allowed to wine and dine with the elderly, he is always found around the who is who in Yakurr Local Government Area and indeed the Central Senatorial District of the State. This may not be unconnected to why some people presume him to be an ally of some prominent political gladiators in the area. And going by his slogan “cow wey no get tail”, Obol Ricketts has consciously worked peacefully and respectfully with all of them without being adopted by any of them as a political son. Rather, he is loved, encouraged and enjoys the confidence of all of them.
A dedicated husband and father, Obol Ricketts is hardworking, resilient, committed, sharp with greater capacities in organizational skills and seems well funded. All these no doubt, stand him out among all the contenders to the Central Senatorial seat in the red chambers of the National Assembly, which his great people of Yakurr Local Government Area who are yet to have a shot at it; are craving to be given a chance do so in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
It is therefore pertinent that all well meaning people of Cross River Central Senatorial District, especially those in the All Progressive Congress (APC) rally round this unassuming political juggernaut, who will surely be of great value to the people of Central Senatorial District, the State and Nigeria as general.