The Honourable Commissioner for Works, Akwa Ibom State, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Eyen has described the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Ikono Local Government Council, Mr ITORO COLUMBA as a man one can work with even with both eyes closed.
He stated this when he led the Permanent Secretary, Dr Ifreke Ekpa and other senior staffers of the Ministry on inspection of sites of some proposed development projects in Itak, the home town of the Ikono Coucil boss.
Speaking after being shown round the site for a proposed motor Park in the area, the commissioner said the idea of a motor Park was a very welcome one especially now that local Councils needed to look inwards and explore all available means of internally-generated revenue. While commending Mr Columba for thinking it wise to embark on the project, the Works Commissioner promised to partner him to ensure that the project was successfully executed.
Speaking further on the person of the Council Chairman, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang said Mr Columba was a very resourceful and promising young man who was out to make Ikono and the Governor who appointed him very proud and told the people to jealousy guard their beloved son for greater exploits in the years ahead.
The works commissioner also expressed deep satisfaction for the reception accorded him by the people of Itak and pledged to support all development programmes and projects put forward by the Clan, even as he solicited the people’s continuous support for the Akwa Ibom State Governor, His Excellency, Deacon Udom Emmanuel and his government.
On the Nung Udoe Itak -Ikot Odung -Abak road, the Commissioner advised the community to liaise effectively with relevant stakeholders from the proposed benefitting communities and make a formal request to the Governor, who has the powers to award road contracts, promising to assist in the process.
At a sand mining site said to belong to construction giants, Julius Berger, the Commissioner expressed utter displeasure at the level of devastation done to the environment by the activities of the company and promised to have words with the management of the company on possible ways of remedy and reparation.
At an erosion-ravaged site that is seriously threatening the prestigious Immaculate Conception Secondary School, the Works Commissioner promised to invite leading construction firm, Julius Berger to intervene in the ravine as part of their corporate social responsibility.
On the plans by the Clan to honour him alongside other prominent sons and daughters of Akwa Ibom State later in the year, Mr Inyang promised to not only be physically present at the event but to fully identify with the community to make it successful.
Speaking earlier while conducting the Commissioner round sites of the proposed parks , the Ikono Council Chairman, Mr. Itoro Columba had told the Commissioner that he decided to embark on the project as a deliberate policy aimed at creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youths and opening new revenue vistas for the council. He said his decision to seek the assistance of the Commissioner and some private investors was borne out of the poor financial base of the council and its inability to directly invest in the project. He added that the parks, when completed, would help reduce the rate of touting at Itak junction; a development he said had led to avoidable loss of lives there. He appealed to the Commissioner to partner with the Council and see to the successful completion of the project. He thanked the collective leadership of the Clan for electing to donate the land the proposed parks are to be sited and promised to make good use of the facilities.
In the illegal sand mining activities by Julius Berger, the Chairman bemoaned what he described as sheer impunity and recklessness on the part of the company; saying the construction giants ventured into the illegal excavation without any Environment Impact Assessment report or operational permit from the local council. He added that there was absolutely no clear policy by the company to reclaim the devastated environment even as it didn’t remit any revenue to the council throughout the four years it had operated there. He sought the support of the Works Commissioner in his quest to have Julius Berger do the needful.
The chairman used the occasion to thank the Governor for approving the construction of some roads in Ikono and made a strong case for the construction of Nung Udoe Itak -Ikot Odung Ikono -Abak road. He also thanked the Governor through the Commissioner for using his appointment to break a 40 year old jinx that had greeted Itak viz – a viz occupying the office of Council Chairman.
The erstwhile CEO of The Bridge Media Ltd assured the Commissioner that as the ward with the third largest votes in Ikono, the people of Itak will repeat the over 7000 votes returns feat they recorded during the April 2015 governorship election in 2019. He said that the people of Itak, nay Ikono, would remain on the path of loyalty and unfettered support to the governnent of Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel throughout his 8-year tenure.
During the Commissioner’s visit, he had paid a brief visit to the Clan Head in council, Etebom Emmanuel Ekpeyak Udofia, who thanked the Commissioner for being a good translator of the Governor’s infrastructural dream for the state. The Monarch had used the occasion to inform his guest of plans to honour him alongside others later in the year during his formal Coronation ceremony.