The role played by Mr Udom Inoyo in the management of Covid-19 in the State has been brought to the fore. The Honorary Special Adviser on Health Matters and Coordinator of Covid-19 Incident Management Team in Akwa Ibom State, Dr Dominic Ukpong, has offered insight into the donation made by Udom Inoyo which he said has contributed immensely to the success of Covid-19 management in the State.
Udom Inoyo retired recently from ExxonMobil as the Executive Vice Chairman.
In a recent interview with newsmen (full excerpts were published on TheMail Newspaper last week), Ukpong who is the Immediate Past Commissioner of Health in Akwa Ibom State disclosed that the efficiency the State has witnessed in testing, getting result and treatment of Covid-19 cases is attributed to the availability of two Polymerase Chain Reaction machine in Akwa Ibom State.
He said the State could only have two PCR machines because Udom Inoyo jointly with Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and JNCI donated another PCR machine to the State during the heat of Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown.
Ukpong noted ” Udom Inoyo through the Inoyo Toro Foundation and StanbicIBTC/JNCI donation has helped the State to be the only State with two PCR machines. One in Ibom Specialty Hospital from Udom Inoyo and his team and the one in Ituk Mbang which the Governor established. Our PCR laboratory is rated about the best in the country by the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC. So, it accelerated our testing, getting result and treating of Covid-19″.
The Honorary Special Adviser explained that the PCR machine which is the machine to find Covid-19 virus came to the State at a point the country had very limited numbers which consequently limited the testings and swiftness in getting results.
He said “At a time in this country, we had it only in Jos, then Irua, then about four in the country. That could not handle the entire country. So, we needed to do it in our State. If you test someone now, and the result comes out in one week, the person must have spread it during the waiting.
“That’s why the Governor of this State was bent on getting the PCR machine quickly. So, we had that. The Director of NCDC came here and saw it and was exceedingly impressed, The other ones in other States were provided for by the Federal Government. Ours is so good that most International Airlines directed booked passengers to come to our State for their mandatory tests before flights.
“Of course, as I have already mentioned the second one was donated by the Inoyo Toro Foundation with Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC/ JNCI. That one is stationed in Ibom Specialty Hospital. That makes the second machine owned and run by the State; the only state so equipped and giving free tests.”
Ukpong who said the machine was very exorbitant to procure especially during lockdown opined that the high cost of procurement must have made Inoyo to approach Stanbic IBTC to join him.
The Honorary Special Adviser said the two PCR machines the State is blessed with now have helped the State significantly in the management of Covid-19 especially as the successful management of the Delta variant needs early detection through testing and also demands increase in number of persons tested.
Ukpong who delved into his experience with Udom Inoyo having worked together at ExxonMobil described him as an astute administrator whose discipline and honesty had facilitated his rise to the echelon of his service at ExxonMobil.
While noting that the claim that Inoyo did not help Akwa Ibom people during his reign with the Oil Giant, ExxonMobil is false, the Honorary SA added “I heard some people talk that he does not love his people. If I want to vie for elective position now, they will say you were in Mobil. You didn’t employ people. They don’t know how many I have helped in Mobil there. But I know that Udom did a lot to get people from our State to be there. Anietie Johnson who is late fought a lot to get people into the company. He had a lot of obstacles. But Udom came into that place, he was the one who found some dirty things that were being done underground to exclude our people.
” I know that a number of times that people were to be employed through advertisement, he left his office to go to town. I know that because we were very close. If they told him about someone’s house, he went there two times to ensure he sees that person to say apply. He sort for those who got First Class, second class upper to apply, if that’s what they are looking for, he got them to apply”.
“And when they were trying to shortchange those people, I can tell you he fought. You can find out. In one particular Interview of which he encouraged and mobilized our people to apply, 93 people did that Interview. The first five (5) of that 93 came from our State. Yet, we were a State that was said to be uneducated.”
Ukpong who served ExxonMobil as Group Medical Director and Country Manager in the Medicine and Occupational Health Department revealed that Akwa Ibom people who worked in ExxonMobil had a rallying forum tagged as “ufok” which they discussed challenges facing people at home and how to address them.
He maintained that Udom Inoyo was at the forefront of battling those challenges especially as it concerns employment of Akwa Ibom people into Mobil.
Ukpong added “For a senior manager to run to town and ask ‘do you have somebody? What has he got? What did he score’? You say 2.1 in Engineering. He will say give me the name or call the person. He did that. Nobody was paying him money for that. I do not think he was doing that for any purpose. It is because we felt that we have been marginalized in a company that comes from our area.
“When the result of that particular interview came out, the first was a woman from our State. I remember my friend in Mobil calling me to tell me ‘your people have risen up now’. I told him; they have always been there. Just to give them an opportunity. All these changed positively because of Udom Inoyo’s involvement. I know how he suffered. That was why when he was promoted, I stood in the meeting and said what did I tell you? That God exist and with time, he will show up. I remember one day, he came to ask me ‘Dr, when will this God stand up for us’?.
“I have noticed that anyone who works in Mobil and comes out, he is not received well at home by his people. The people just fell he worked in Mobil and earned a good salary. He didn’t do anything. We created awareness that our people can compete favourable.
“Our people had created the impression that they won’t be taken there but we said just apply. We encouraged and mobilized people. Do not forget that Inoyo was in the administration. He was there. He saw what happened and he did a lot. The ufok was also for Cross River State people who worked in Mobil. And if you felt victimized, we served as a group that if someone felt victimized, we plead with the authorities and say this is not fair for this person. When did we ever have Executive Director or Vice Chairman? Udom Inoyo is the first.”