Akparawa Ephraim Inyang—Eyen is the Commissioner for Works in Akwa-Ibom State and a close associate of the Governor Udom Emmanuel. Following the Supreme Court ruling affirming the mandate of the governor, Mr. Inyan-Eyen speaks on how the judgment was received, the import of the judgment and how the state would progress from its positive takes. Excerpts:
What was your reaction to the apex court judgment?
As a matter of fact, I was excited, elated but then, when the governor came back after the Court of Appeal had given its judgment, that we should go and have a rerun, the governor at the airport said he has taken his case to the Supreme God. So, what happened on Wednesday February 3, 2016, was the Supreme God directing the Supreme Court to give voice to that which heaven had already done. So, for me, I was expecting it. But there is something I want to mention here. I hear people making insinuations. Let it be on record today that the Supreme Court Justices took a decision which they followed to the end. They established the case of Ambode vs Agbaje that the Card Reader was not the only means of accreditation. That is why Agbaje lost his case in Lagos State and the APC members were excited. In the case of Ebonyi State, they came up with the same judgment that the Card Reader is strange to our Constitution and could not have been the only means of accreditation. Inyang-Eyen Inyang-Eyen I don’t know why they expected the case of Akwa-Ibom to be different and if you had followed the Supreme Court justices well, you will realize that when they set precedence, they have no reason to go against it and I am sure those men are men of integrity. If I must say this, the same Judge who gave ruling in the case of Akwa-Ibom rejecting manual accreditation, went to Delta State and gave judgment and accepted manual accreditation. I don’t know whether the world expected a mix-up from the Supreme Court that said consistently that Card Reader ought not to have been the only means of accreditation or the ones that were mixed up. But I think that the Supreme God passing through the Supreme Court gave the verdict of heaven.
In what way was governance in the state distracted ahead of the judgment?
I will tell you that the government was not affected. I was in the field working. The governor was also doing his job. However, what you called distraction, I will call it pressure of having to run through Abuja, Lagos and other places to meet this and meet that but in terms of work from my Ministry, I will tell you, it was going on smoothly. I know that the Ministry of Works had no gaps throughout the period of the court process, we were working.
Given that the APC in the state is yet to congratulate the governor do you think the party is still dissatisfied with the judgment?
Now, my position is going to be very simple on this. When judgment was given in Rivers State in a similar case, Peterside, a good sportsman brought a hand of fellowship to Wike, if that is not done in the case of Akwa-Ibom State, I won’t be worried. It can only show the desperation of certain people because naturally, when two persons go for a contest, there must be a winner. In this contest, Udom is the winner and if the other person involved is a good sportsman, he is supposed to extend a hand of fellowship to him. It was done in Lagos State. I can tell you that authoritatively that Agbaje extended a hand of fellowship to Ambode, Peterside did the same thing to Wike in Rivers State but if that is not done in Akwa-Ibom, it shows the quality of those who wanted to govern our state.
How do you react to speculations that Governor Udom Emmanuel may opt for the APC ahead of his second term to and how is the party preparing to reclaim four House seats lost at the courts?
No, let me quickly respond to that. They were not lost. That somebody had his case upturned at the Appeal Court does not mean that he lost. When it would be lost is when APC comes up for us to redo that election. I am guaranteeing you that all four PDP candidates will be returned in the rerun elections. Everybody in APC today in Akwa-Ibom became a politician on the platform of PDP. Now, saying that Governor Udom will defect to the APC in his second term, I think is a conjecture and let me sound it very clearly, the governor is a man of character and principle, he is not one of those politicians who would want to jump all over the place because of what they think they could get. The time to have done that could have been when the system was trying to hold him to ransom and not now that he has performed and Akwa-Ibom people are happy. A political platform is just a platform but the critical thing is the candidate. Udom won election beyond political platform and given his performance, platform for his second term will not be too relevant. What will be relevant will be his performance and when that time comes, Akwa-Ibom people will rise up and say you continue and if they say so, no platform can stop that.
(Culled from Vanguard newspaper)