The alleged political structure building for 2019 by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang, one of his friends, Chief Benji Udobia, has been described as a macabre dance.
Condemning the recently discovered actions by the Works Commissioner and Chief Udobia, a socio-political group, Vanguard of Eket Senatorial District Stakeholders (VEST), Esit Eket Chapter, said the aim is borne out of jealousy and selfishness and to cause disaffection in the area.
According to a statement by the group signed by its Coordinator and Secretary, Chief Moses Akai and Barrister Etim Abang, “Our attention have been drawn to another round of campaign of calumny in Esit Eket Local Government Area by some unscrupulous elements alleged to be sponsored by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang and his cohort, Chief Benji Udobia, following a failed propaganda by them, which was aimed at causing disaffection between a senior and reputable son of the area and his brother, Governor Udom Emmanuel.”
“It is important to know that due to selfish political leadership quest by the duo, the centre can no longer hold and the Falcon can no longer hear the Falconer as their simmering plot to bring down an innocent statesman has now blown open,” the statement stressed.
“It was also discovered that they have now engaged sponsored writers to orchestrate their mission. Particularly, the Works Commissioner, along with Chief Udobia and some others around Governor Udom Emmanuel, now prides himself as “the engine room” and has constituted a camp that would determine who gets what from the Udom-led government.”
“Common appointment of Transition Committee members for Esit Eket Local Government Council, except one member that was out of protocol consideration nominated by the House of Assembly member, the rest were singlehandedly nominated by Elder Benji Udobia which is against the Governor’s decision of inclusiveness. The acrimony is: what does Bassey Dan-Abia Jnr want? He failed the election to return to the House of Representative in 2015 and he believed that his own family members were the reason for his failure and because of this; he has been very antagonistic to his family members. For us, we feel if he has any family issue, he should be bold to go and settle it instead of bringing the entire community and Eket Nation into it. This is what led to the sponsored publication in some local tabloids that his uncle, who is a senior politician in the family, has an interest in the 2019 Governorship. This is not supposed to be story.”
Information at our disposal indicates that the people of Esit Eket have expressed worries over the running of political affairs in the area as a family business by Elder Benji Udobia.
According to them, “Now, if you look at the issue of appointment, Elder Benji Udobia has nominated his son as Special Assistant to the Governor, he has nominated Ikemesit Ikott as Special Assistant to the Governor and others except Ibanga Etang who was nominated on merit due to his contribution to the government. Elder Benji Udobia has also hijacked the structure of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and we are asking: Is it possible for Elder Benji Udobia to deliver Udom Emmanuel in any election without taking into consideration the likes of the former Managing Director of NDDC, former Senator, former Local Government Chairmen and the House of Assembly member who is from Esit Eket?”
Our reporter, after an independent investigation, was told by yet another stakeholder from the area that “Even the contracts given to Elder Benji Udobia by the state government which he did poorly, we are told from a very good authority that he said ‘even the jobs given to me, Udom Emmanuel has not been paying me including the Information Drive.’ And for a contractor who pays rent for a Commissioner, certainly the Commissioner will be working at the dictates of the contractor. It is not a hidden fact that Elder Benji Udobia pays the rent for the house Ephraim Inyang is staying and they have turned government into small family affairs. That is why some of the projects given to him are poorly done. Go to Information Drive and Mkpat Enin, the road leading to the former Deputy Governor’s village, and see the level of poor job done by Elder Benji Udobia, because when they pay him money for the job, the Commissioner for Works does not allow the money to be use for the project and part of the money is what Ephraim Inyang is using to build an edifice in his village yet they are saying there is no money in government.”
The group accused the Works Commissioner of double standard, saying “During the last meeting the Works Commissioner called in his house, Akan Etteudo, the Esit Eket PDP Youth Leader, stood up and said: we cannot vote for Udom Emmanuel if the level of hunger in state continues this way. And immediately Ephraim Inyang stood up in defense of the government by saying Udom Emmanuel has not gotten a large sum of money like the last administration got. He said the least money the last administration used to collect was N18billion but that the Udom government gets only N5.7billion.”
VEST wondered why the Governor, through his Works Commissioner, would believe Elder Benji Udobia is the only political figure he needs from the area, maintaining that “Everybody in Esit Eket has decided to keep quiet knowing that Udom Emmanuel believes Elder Benji Udobia made him the Governor and as such does not consult anybody else. People have also made up their minds not to oppose Udom in Esit Eket and they feel Udom too should be able to appreciate the fact that they also contributed to his emergence as the Governor of the state. We are also aware from good authority that a whole lot of moral and financial support during the 2015 Governorship came from reputable persons from Esit Eket. And today, these persons are being blackmailed before the Governor.”
“There is nothing wrong for Elder Benji Udobia to be the defacto leader in Akwa Ibom State but what dividend of democracy has he been able to take to Esit Eket Local Government Area? What level of empowerment has he done? The only achievement Esit Eket people have is his appointment of members of the Transition Committee. Akwa Palm, which government had indicated interest long ago, Elder Benji Udobia has not thought it wise to call the government to take special interest in the project. He is only interested in his own contracts, building his Hotels everywhere, doing his business with ExxonMobil.”
“As small as the position of resource person for palliative of oil spillage money, it is Imoh Udobia, Elder Benji Udobia’s brother that took it. The last Inter-Ministerial contract that was supposed to be given to stakeholders and the youths of Esit Eket, it is Imo Udobia that stands as resource person. His own son has been appointed as Special Assistant to the Governor; his nephew is the Chairman of the Esit Eket Local Government Transition Committee. Is this how to show leadership? Is this in tandem with the Governor’s policy of inclusiveness?”
The group urged Governor Udom Emmanuel to make his government popular by taking charge instead allowing a few individual to make themselves sole administrators. (Culled from Garrage Keeper)