To majority of the politically inclined indigenes of Nigeria`s 21st State (Akwa Ibom), the emergence of a former executive director of Zenith Bank and one of Nigeria`s finest bankers, the firm-spoken Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, as the tenth chief executive of the 30-year old state, was among the greatest positive consequences of the Godswill Akpabio`s 8-year regime.
To this category of individuals, that a man who was not in their political reckoning could emerge as Akpabio`s successor was one of the wonders of the state. A lot were unable to cope with the imagination that the next governor of God`s own state was born to be a man hitherto unknown in the political hemisphere.
All said it played out; after breathtaking campaigns that traversed the entire state and even to other major cities in the country and outside Nigeria, Udom Emmanuel was sworn in on May 29, 2015 at the Uyo Township Stadium amidst pump and pageantry.
A little over two years down the political timescale, Governor Udom Emmanuel, who is the first leader of the state with a Christian prefix of Deacon, has since proved even to the undaunted critics that he was prepared for the job.
The expectation of an average Akwa Ibom indigene and other residents in the state, heightened when the Onna born tactician, as Governor Udom is now known, two months after taking office, swore in Akparawa Ephraim Inyang eyen as Commissioner for works. Governor Udom by this appointment was to confirm that with his five-point election campaign promise, among which industrial revolution of the hitherto civil service state was 8included, he had confidence in his brother who was to assist him in the realization of his dreams and aspirations for Akwa Ibom State and people.
Prevailing evidence has shown the Governor made no mistakes in Ephraim’s appointment. He chose a man, whom the philosopher and poet, Dicilo Gregory, must have had in mind when he posited many years ago that ‘‘one of the things i keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people’’.
With the vigor with which the works Commissioner has pursued his assignment since being sworn in, he has aligned with what Lince Lambordi-another philosopher said many years ago, that ‘‘winning is not everything but wanting to win is’’.
A disciple of Ralph Waldo Emerson who admonished ’’ Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm’’, the Akwa Ibom State Works Commissioner, whose middle name is gradually changing to ’’Controversy’’ for his boldness in doing what is not good in the eyes of the few privileged minority as opposed to the majority who appreciate his job, is undauntedly pursuing his assignment with vigour. His education, social exposure and career credentials would not afford him anything less.
This old boy of one the oldest secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State, (Etinan Institute, wher he came tops. A 1988 B.SC. Chemistry alumnus of the prestigious University of Ibadan, who also holds the University of Lagos’ Mater of Business Administration and a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree from the Walter University, Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a man of many parts.
A man who does not allow class consciousness to becloud his interpersonal attitude despite others’ social, economic and political differences, the name Akparawa Ephraim Inyang eyen means different things to different people.
To some people, he aligns with the word of onetime American President Abraham Lincoln that ’’No man is good enough to govern other people without the consent of the people’’. To others, he is a team player who fits in the assertion of LincelLambord that ’’winning is not everything but wanting to win is’’. Yet to others, Ephraim Inyang Eyen is a jolly good fellow who is propelled by an insatiable desire to leave a legacy after the end of his term as a commissioner.
This Ibibio son, married to an Annang daughter like his mentor (Governor Udom Emmanuel), he sees the entire Akwa Ibom State as his primary constituency; and is determined to make a positive mark in the State with the opportunity within his reach.
While he sees his political mentor and Governor of Akwa Ibom state as the one who propelled him and offered him an opportunity to serve the people, his reference to the Almighty God, whom he acknowledges as his motivator, is not in doubt.
Inyang eyen is a member of the ’’Inner Caucus’’ of the Udom’s administration and is not a mere Nigerian Politician who speaks from both sides of the mouth. Indeed some agree that public governance is a ‘masquerade’’ which must be seen only by the initiates, but Inyang Eyen sees governance as a ’’Public trust’’ which must be handled with uttermost care, caution and tact. His focus, dexterity and diligence have constituted the needed impetus to Udom Emmanuel’s development agenda.
His administrative roles are key to the completion of several infrastructural projects in the state, including but not limited to the information drive uyo, which houses NUJ secretariat, NIPR among other networks in the state capital.
Other road networks receiving attention from the Udom’s Administration under the supervision of Ephraim Inyang eyen are the on-going multi-billion Naira road, such as Nsit atai-Airport road, to link Oron and East/West Road ; 55km, 8-lane superhighway, to link Eket and Mbo; 27km Uyo-Etinan-NdonEyo Road; ObotAkara-Ahiazu (Abia State) Road, etc.
A widely travelled and appropriately exposed personality who has built bridges of friendship across every part of the country and beyond, the Akwa Ibom Works Commissioner can be called a fearless politician who is not afraid to air his views on any issue no matter how sensitive it is and not minding whose ox is gored.
His disposition in the recent war of words between his ministry and APC-led interventionist agency (NDDC) on what should be the roles of the Federal agency with regards road construction in the state has further made him the man to watch.
On the interventionist agency whose gladiators see everything as politics and that nothing should be done without politics, Inyang eyen is a focused administrator who is absolutely in control of his duties and would not be afraid to raise alarm appropriately when things are not done the way they ought to be.
An avid believer that power belongs to God Almighty who gives it to whoever he would,Inyang eyen is irrevocably committed to a second term constitutional mandate for Governor Udom Emmanuel. To him, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. That Uyo Senatorial District produced a two term governor in the person of Arch.Obong Victor Attah, Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District produced the current Senate Minority leader, Godswill Akpabio, Eket Senetorial District should not be odd in that trend.
His view is in tandem with the popular opinion of majority of the indigenes of the oil rich state; and anything short of this would not be acceptable to the people. Viewed from whatever perpective however, Akwa Ibom people have come to the conclusion that a second term for Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel is that is needed to consolidate on the industrial renaissance that the State has witnessed since the emergence of this Qua Iboe church deacon whose passion for God, his people and the church is unrivalled.
Ephraim Inyang eyen as works Commissioner has delivered creditably in the performance score card of the current administration. It is imaginable what the outcome would be as he continues to partner the governor through the 8-years tenure of Udom Emmanuel’s regime. Akwa Ibom State will assuredly, become the preferred destination for many.
Afia, a journalist and former Senior Legislative aide, National Assembly Service Commission, Abuja is a personal aide to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Project monitoring.