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MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE COLOSSUS, EPHRAIM INYANG

ephraim inyang
By Darlington UDOBONG
The colossus, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, has been called many things many different ways by many people yet he stands tall to the ‘call for service’ for the people of Akwa Ibom. Besides his brainchild, Akwa Ibom Transformation Initiative, which many believed brought him to limelight; fate has been more than favourable to him in his climb. This must certainly be the reason. A wise saying said “never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” Indeed, fate has made his shines happen.
Napoleon Hill once said the world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going. This, I believe, is the reason for the many criticisms trailing the retired senior officer of the Nigerian Customs, whom today is a veritable member of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Dream Team One in recent time.
The unparallel commitment and dedication of Akparawa Inyang-Eyen, Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works, to the Akwa Ibom Project as ably led by the State Governor, is seen through his dogged approach to work. Little wonder Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Council of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Elder Patrick Albert, in a brief on Akparawa Inyang-Eyen, said “Ephraim Inyang, from my close purview, is a man of good conscience who is committed to doing the very best in his personal and public life. He is result-oriented and doesn’t compromise his goals. He is the mastermind of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s success story on roads construction. He sets target for his objectives and goes for it with precision. For him, governance is service and must be done with good conscience, fear of God and love for humanity. He deserves to be encouraged.”
And for those who think Akparawa Inyang-Eyen is not Akwa Ibom brought up due to his disposition to issues, a peep into his background will certainly clear that impression. He was born on November 25, 1965, in Ikot Ebiere, ONNA Local Government Area. He got his GCE O’Level Certificate from the Etinan Institute where he schooled between 1977 and 1982. Upon completion, he proceeded to the School of Basic Studies, Akamkpa, Cross River State in 1983 and obtained his A’ Level Certificate in 1985 in Mathematics, Chemistry and Geography. Luck smiled on him and same year he got admission to the University of Ibadan to study Chemistry. He graduated in 1988 with B.Sc. degree in Chemistry (Second Class Upper Division). Determined to go further academically, he got an MBA in 2014 from the University of Lagos.
Ephraim Inyang-Eyen started his working life in 1982 as an auxiliary Teacher with the responsibility of teaching Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry at Community Secondary School, Ukat, ONNA, in the then Cross River State Teaching Service Commission. He later worked, as a youth corps member, with the Nigeria Railway Corporation as a Chemist in 1989. Upon completion of his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, he was enlisted on August 31, 1990, into the Nigeria Customs Service as an Assistant Superintendent of Customs.
In his about 25 years in active service, Ephraim has maintained an excellent track record of performance, discipline and working knowledge across various departments of the Service. Between 1992-1995, he served as Special Assistant to the O/C Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos and was transferred to Bauchi Area Command, where he served as the Commands’ Public Relations Officer for over two years. Thereafter, he was redeployed to Apapa Port Command, where he served as Staff Officer of the largest Container terminal in West Africa for four years and was responsible for staff and operations management. His outstanding performance in this assignment which led to the turn-around of the revenue profile of the terminal led to his immediate promotion.
That the Chairman of Hensek Integrated Service, Engr. Uwem Okoko, in his description of Akparawa Inyang-Eyen, said “He is a man of strong character who wants to get the job done no matter the situation,” is to say the least. During his day in the Nigerian Custom Service, Akparawa Inyang-Eyen was assigned to lead the team that repositioned the Port Express Bonded Terminal as O/C Terminal; he was credited with exceptional performance for changing the fortune of the hitherto moribund terminal within a record time of one month which earned him several management commendations for the achievement. This feat was repeated when he moved to Tincan Island Port, and was subsequently posted to Classic Bonded Terminal that had closed down. Ephraim turned-around the situation within three months and posted very impressive revenue stream. He went on to serve as O/C Terminal there before he was posted to FANO bonded Terminal where he served until his retirement.
And if you feel the word, colossus, does not best describe him, then read the word of the Chairman of Fountain Communications, Pastor Emmanuel Effiong. In his words, he said “Ephraim Inyang is a workaholic, a rare gift to Akwa Ibom people from God. If Governor Udom Emmanuel has up to six of his kind in the EXCO, I bet you he will be home and dry in his social contract with Akwa Ibom people. This is one Commissioner who has given a verve to the road infrastructure performance of his boss in the last one year. He has left no one in doubt that he is one of the best Commissioners of Works our state has ever had. Apart from knowing and discussing engineering designs and terminologies freely with his staff and contractors, Ephraim Inyang is a perfectionist and a stickler for excellence. He pays great details to everything he does and expects same from his aides and subordinates. However, if you are not straight forward and try to cut corners with him, then you know he does not suffer fools gladly.” Ephraim Inyang-Eyen benefitted extensive from Continuing Professional Education within and outside the Custom Service. These include Customs & Excise Course(1990/1991), Customs & Excise Refresher Course(2002), General Scanner Operations Training Course(2010), Train the Trainer Delivery Skill for the Customs Services(2010), Extended Computer Skill/NCIS(2010), Breakthrough Programme for Chief Superintendents of Custom(2011), Leadership, Change, Management Work Ethics Attitudinal Change and Value Re-orientation for Senior Officers of NCS(2012), General Scanner Operations and Maintenance Officer Training(2012), General Scanner Operations, Technical Manager Training(2012), and National Single Window/Change Management & Stakeholder Engagement & Capacity Building Workshop(2012).
The “Men-At-Work” description of Akparawa Inyang-Eyen by Nseabasi S. J King, former Head of Media to the immediate past Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Lady Valerie Ebe, also says “Ephraim Inyang is always in the news and he is likely the most discussed member of the Udom administration. And for him to attract this level of attention to himself means a lot is happening around him and this cannot by any stretch of imagination be a lazy man. Simply put, Ephraim Inyang is men-at-work.” This is true because our colossus has contributed significant to national building within and outside his immediate community and this has earned him numerous Honors, Awards and Recognitions including Certificate 0f Merit as Patron- Akwa Ibom State Students (NAAKISS) JULY, 2000, Role Model Award – Sage Communications International (December 2010), Transport Development Excellence Encouragement Award (2009), and Award for providing Trade Facilitation in Customs by Transquest Magazine (2009).
Other awards are Transport Development Excellence Award conferred as special Encouragement Award for promoting trade facilitation-Transquest Magazine(2010), Golden Award for Excellence, Honesty, Hardwork and Accountability by Nigeria Print Journalism Development(2011), Customs Commitment Merit Award in Recognition of Outstanding Operation and Ethics to place Nigeria Customs Service in the front burner by skyline 24Hrs Newspaper(2014), Association of Movie Practitioners(AMP)Akwa Ibom State chapter-Award for Excellence for Outstanding Support for Success of the movie – WOMAN’S RIGHT and the fight against human rights abuse and violence against women(2014), Transport Development Excellence Award(TDEA) as Customs Operative with exemplary MIDAS TOUCH by Quest Media Group(2014), Federated Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists and Award for excellence from the University of Lagos Alumni Association(Lagos Branch).

By the words of Prince Samuel Ukut, “He is a quintessential leader, a man whose passion for excellence is adorable especially in this era of quality leadership draught in Nigeria. So much complacency in our society makes many to misrepresent his ‘result -oriented -approaches, to me, he is a man that can get water from the rock, and he rocks,” there is indeed, the need to deepen the road infrastructural coverage in the state, which the purveyors of Globalization have said is a prerequisite to Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Thus, with Mr. Inyang at the helm of the Works Ministry, there is no doubt that necessary synergy between infrastructure and industrialization would be created, harnessed and strengthened. Perhaps, there is a misconception about the colossus, Ephraim Inyang, from afar and until you break that jinx by coming close, the misconception remains.

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