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Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-eyen: The Metamorphosis of a Tiger

Ephraim Inyang

“Be not afraid of greatness:  Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them” – William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night 2.

“The heights that great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight.  But they, while their companions slept; were toiling upward in the night.” – Henry Wardsworth Longfellow in Ladder of Saint Augustine.

Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-enyen has brought pragmatism, issue driven leadership, accountability and transparency to bear in public service as he champions public infrastructural renaissance in the state. –Nkanang Nkanang appraising Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Enyen’s commission as the Chief Superintendent in the state Ministry of Works in Deacon Udom Emmanuel’s administration.

“Ephraim Inyang–Enyen has the capacity to explore, the commitment, focus and the drive to attain set goals.  He does not believe in impossibility but in standard and hard work.  He also does not believe in armchair leadership due to his unwavering belief in justice.”-   Barr. Ini Ikott.

Whether greatness is foisted, thrust, achieved and or born with, the truth as of today is that no one is willing to argue, take away or deny that current Commissioner of Works in the government of Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, has brought a style of leadership acumen in the discharge of his official duties – prescribed and  not prescribed.

After spending 18, 615 days on the earth plane, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Enyen has carved a niche in public service annals for    himself and profiling him has therefore becomes profitable, an art and pleasurable as reading him is a delight to the simple at heart. Mr. Henry Wardsworth Longfellow aptly probably had him in mind when voiced out the thought in the second quotation above behind Shakespeare’s “do not be afraid of greatness…”

Political associates, friends and acquaintances as well as relatives glow at the mention of Mr. Inyang-Enyen’s public service adroitness because the man at the centre of infrastructural revolution in Akwa Ibom State has been tested in the art and nexus of commitment, service, and agenda setting and was previously found capable to explore and attain result even in an impossible terrain such as in the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS.

That thirst for result informed why Governor Udom Emmanuel in his quest to fix the infrastructural needs of the state threw up Mr Inyang-Enyen, a supposedly Governor’s kith but then relatively known in the state political sphere, to fill-in as the state commissioner for works. This, Analysts are unified in a singsong that such position needs a trust worthy individual. For such reason and very many others, the phenomenon has got the backing of his Principal-the governor; to explore and attain results which most of his backers agree are pouring in.

This Etinan Institute old boy had revolutionized the functions, activities and programme previously in the Nigeria Customs and Excise Service. He had been in the Public domain for nearly 25 years gathering, collating and catering for the needs and wants of the nation and her people. He voluntarily vacated his teaching job in his native Community Secondary School, Okat, Onna where he taught Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics in 1982 as an auxiliary teacher so he could take up other more challenging callings that the Divine might sent his way. Inyang-Enyen was then taken up by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, and he has since displayed very high caliber capacity of intelligence and unfeigned dexterity in public service that has earned him many laurels both in and out of the nation. Many of his supporters and admirers say that he his bringing that astute thirst for excellence to bear in the state clime, especially as touching his activities in the Ministry of Works and in complimenting His Excellency’s quest for smart achievement in infrastructural revolution.

This proud holder of a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos had in 1989, while doing his one year mandatory National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, worked as a Chemist with the Nigeria Railway Corporation. He had previously spent his time at the School of Basic Studies, Akamkpa, Cross River State for his ‘A’ Level in 1988 before completing his B.SC at the prestigious University of Ibadan four years after.

Superlatives are hardly enough to qualify this committed, hardworking, purpose driven steward and God fearing personality whom many of his peers,  political and social colleagues, acquaintances and relatives described as, “round peg in round hole”, a euphemism for being the right choice for the right cause by the governor of Akwa Ibom State to supervise the Works  Commission.

Prior to Akparawa Inyang-Enyen’s inauguration by His Excellency, very little made him the ‘home-stretch boy’ but this extraordinary public administrator has brought himself closer to the heart of many and in his quest to depart from the norm available prior to now, has wittingly and unwittingly stepped on toes even though such stepping is in the public goods.

This is why many analysts, commentators and public spirited individuals say he is metamorphosing into a tiger brand aptly and ably dissecting official policies to the admiration of his principal; while his foes are confounded as they bow in absolute discomfort and are discomfited by Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Enyen’s policy interpretation, analysis, grasp, flexibility, expertise and dexterity on his official relationship with his job.

Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Enyen is seen as a deftly tactical political gladiator who is unafraid of venturing into a terrain however slippery and dangerous.

According to some close friends of his who volunteered their pieces of opinion, Mr. Inyang-Enyen is the unifying factor bringing in the party stakeholders, the Youth body, various women organs and equally serving as liaison between His Excellency, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, who may be encumbered by official bureaucracy, and the locals.  It is prudently suggested by most commentators from his native Nung Nya, Ikot Ehiere in Onna local government area that his aura, which they say is positively engaging, is bringing all opinion to his side; thereby sedating many to conclude that with Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Enyen, there is no reason a second heroe should be sought for as the emerging tiger is a necessary decimal in play now.

At the state level, Akparawa Inyang-Enyen is not surplus to requirements.     He is one of the most sought after political dynamites courted by the media, the social circle and professionals alike.  In political class, he is described a perfect mix and an outstanding team player with a rare knack for perfection and excellence on prescribed and non-prescribed responsibilities.

So the question is:  Is Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Enyen the emerging Tiger in the state political turf?  Also, one of the soul searching questions arising from the raging controversy is: does he have the stamina to weather the unfortunately ravaging and needlessly damaging storm his emergent has caused in the state political corridors even as the state number one citizen, the governor, is said to be solidly behind this irresistible person who is fast transforming into a personage, and  whose office is so central to the workability and functionality of the system, and he is said to hold such confidence reposed in him by his Boss in absolute trust to perform to expectation.  This assurance, public commentators believe is easy especially; as the man is dutifully and faithfully interpreting and delivering on his principal’s instructions.

Here is where Inyang-Enyen stands shoulder higher and taller than his detractors especially as he has been delivering on  his official assignments; making Mr. Nkanang Nkanang to conclude that the man has introduced dynamism, charisma and pragmatism into how the Ministry of Works runs – a departure from  the previous system’s operational operandi.

In a telephone interview penultimate Friday, Nkanang Nkanang relived fond memories of Akparawa Inyang-Enyen metamorphosis from a plain public servant to a well established yet a formidable political gladiator even though he still like a green horn in the politicking turf,  thus:

“Well, as you rightly know, the focus of this government under the watch of His Excellency, Deacon Udom Emmanuel is about the welfare of the people.  The central vision of this government is about the people – people’s welfare.  The government is asking: how can people be made to live their lives meaningfully?  That is the concept of this government and this is driven in all sphere of life through infrastructure, and basically; through human empowerment.  And when you talk about infrastructure, you have to think Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Enyen, who is piloting the affairs of the Ministry of Works as the Commissioner who has been very pragmatic and has brought his pedigree to bear in his job.

“Today, we can see vividly the number of the kilometers of roads that has been constructed and of those still under construction as well as those earmarked for construction.  You can see, clearly too; the provision of government and the drive to ensure that things are done properly.

“He is not just doing it but he is ensuring that those things are done with accountability and transparency.  That is one of the hallmarks of this government and Ephraim Inyang-Enyen is the one championing the aspect of infrastructural development and maintenance. Right!  And you can see the flair, you can see the skills, you can see the level of commitment that the man has brought to bear in the discharge of his official assignments,” Nkanang said.

Continuing with his assessment of Akparawa Inyang-Enyen’s performances in office, Mr Nkanang Nkanang has this to say, “You can see the visible impact that the people are beginning to feel. Yes, we may not be there yet, yes, there are a lot to be done.  So the summary of it is that we are on the right track.  So that is what I have to say,” Nkanang stressed.

On whether the Commissioner has impacted on his constituents positively, here is what Mr. Nkanang said, “Yes, obviously and of course! You know that before today and in all sincerity and without any fear of contradiction, we learnt there was a government before todays and it was a government of exclusiveness.  Today, what is happening with in our locality is a government of inclusiveness.  So every aspect of Onna, for instance; as of today has been touched.  Very recently, last week Saturday, we went out commissioning projects earmarked and embarked by him (Ephraim Inyange-Enyen) in view of his office and so like in Nung Andem, where you have Ikot Nkan, we commissioned a water project there close to the Health Centre.  Right! We also went to Ikot Udo where the Hon. Commissioner also commissioned a water project.  Awa and Onion East will soon be beneficiaries of same water project.  So it tells you that this is the man that has the leeway, this is the man that has people around him.  This is the man that believes that we need to improve the services in place already and then make things proper, especially; for the local people”.

Concluding Nkanang says. “So that is exactly the position of government that is being championed and driven in the aspect of infrastructure by the Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyang-Enyen.

If Nkanang’s statement quoted above has captured John’s Dryden’s saying in Heroic Stanzas after Crownwell’s Funeral which says, “His grandeur he derived from Heaven alone for he was great e’re fortune made him so.”      It is Barrister Ini Ikott- the Principal Partner in Ikott & Associates based in Uyo, that places the writing of Ralp Waldo Emerson’s speech in Ibid, “To be great is to be misunderstood and being famous many adversaries.”

Yes, the great and unmistakable emergent of Akparawa Inyang-Enyen is throwing the political class in disarray as many of his foes have already cocked their guns, bend their bows preparatory to firing the deasdly salvo against the upright. But Barrister Ikott has this to say of Inyang-Enyen’s fine leadership prowess and his team work spirit.

Hear him. “Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Enyen is somebody that has the capacity to explore with total commitment, with total focus and he is somebody that believes that set goals can be achieved.  He is one of those people who do not believe that there is impossibility.  He is one of those that believe if you set a standard and with hard work, you can achieve those goals and keep the standard so set.

“He is a very vocal and hardworking young man that believes in setting a standard and achieving set goals.  And that is why if you see the stamina in him, the energy in him, he is ready to stoop down and achieve anything he set out to achieve.  He is one very vocal person; may be because of his Christian life: he is a confirmed Christian; he is one very person that hates injustice and believes in justice.  So he will stand up and fight for justice.  He believes in hard work. I can say that again and again.  I know very well that he is one person that is ready and willing to give his one hundred and ten percent loyalty to His Excellency until His Excellency says he does not want it again.  And I want to say that he is totally committed to anything that the governor is involved in in all ramifications.

“He has been able to put his entire constituency: that is, Onna State Constituency; into one fold.  He hosts the local government stakeholders, women and Youths organs regularly.  I mean he hosts his constituents in all ramifications and when he hosts a get-together, we always sit down together as a people and exchange ideas, have drinks and contribute our quota to the development of the area.  He has been able to bring the stakeholders together, all women together and all the youth in the area also.  He hosts them regularly.  And even the Party (PDP) Executive –the Chapter and wards executive members.

“The most amazing part of Inyang-Enyen is that he sits down with them to discuss issues.  So he is somebody that knows his onions and tries as much as possible to put in effort in whatever he finds himself in” Barr. Ikott said.

On what Akparawa Inyang-Enyen brings to the table in terms of his vision for the state infrastructure to revolutionize it, Ikott has this to say, “Well, he believes in quality delivery and delivering such quality must be time bound.  He believes there must be quality in jobs delivery and that is why he does not sit in the office; he goes out regularly for on the spot inspection to ascertain that jobs are done as per specification.

“He makes sure that before payment is made on any job, he goes out to ascertain that such meets government’s required standard.  He does not sit down in the office; he follows through to see that jobs standards are upheld by contractors.  He does not accept excuses and hates situations contractors say the job is 10 percent, 20 percent completion.  He always goes out to see things for himself. I can say he is more or less part of the contract because he works round the clock to ensure that contractors follow through with contracts’ specifications.”

But Barrister Ikott would not accept the fact that it is Akparawa Ephraim alone that interprets government’s policies. It is his honest belief that Inyang-Enyen is one of the engines in a body that drives the big ship for effect as he earnestly responded to this reporter’s question on if he believes that Inyang-Enyen pilots the state government’s machinery alone? Hear him!.

“No! I would not say he is the only one.  It is a team work.  But the responsibility given to him he has discharged them extremely well in accordance with the principles, objectives and in line with the vision of government.  That is exactly what he is doing”   Barrister Ikott said.

In the next issue: the Tiger roars!

* This piece is chronicled by Ekong Inyang and Powered by The Dakkada Ambassadors, Onna L.G.A. Chapter.

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