Politics

Mudslinging very common in politics –Inyang-Eyen

While in the service of Akwa Ibom State government as the Commissioner for Works and later as Chief of Staff to Governor Udom Emmanuel, Akparawa Ephraim Inyangeyen was generally regarded as the engine-room of the administration. In this interview with TONY ANICHEBE, Inyang-eyen, who is currently vying for the Akwa Ibom South (Eket) Senatorial District ticket speaks on politics in Akwa Ibom State and other issues

 

You served the Akwa Ibom State government for seven years. What is your experience after those years and what is your next destination?

 

I served Akwa Ibom Government from June 2015 as Commissioner for Works and while in the ministry, I did my honest best to bring changes that were initially not there and in the process stepped on very powerful toes and it was a good experience because the changes it brought kept the ministry in its present glorious state.

 

From there, I left to serve as Chief of Staff which is a completely different experience but in all of those, I will say three things. I thank God for the privilege to serve Akwa Ibom people in those capacities as all power belongs to God. I thank God for using Governor Udom Emmanuel, my friend and brother whom God used to give me those opportunities to serve and I don’t take it for granted. Therefore, I am grateful that I was given that opportunity to serve the public. The judgment of what I did is left for God and the people. I have said it in many fora that when we have an opportunity to serve, we owe three people’s account. And on your new move, we heard you are heading to contest the Senate seat. How true? You are not just hearing. I don’t hide things. One of the reasons I left government the way I did was that I was convinced in my spirit that I will offer services to my people in Eket Senatorial District in the Senate, having reviewed the history of the senatorial district’s representation starting from Udo Udoma in 1999 and persuaded that all the three federal constituencies have taken their turns.

 

I felt that in 1999, Udo Udoma got the ticket because of the name he has and the competencies he brought to the table. It was not zoned to Ikot Abasi, rather it was given to him to begin the rotational process of the senatorial district. After all, an Eket man contested against him and Udo Udoma won. In his second term bid, Nelson Effiong contested against him but Udoma won again.

 

When it was the turn of Eket, Nelson Effiong contested against Mrs. Eme Ufot Ekaette, meaning that if Nelson had won, the rotation would have left Ikot Abasi to Oron, meaning that Oron would have done before Eket. Rotation is not a documented thing but just a way to make it go round. We are saying now that since the three federal constituencies have had their turns, let us return to pre-1999, let everybody come out and contest and whoever wins from any of the three federal constituencies, kick-starts the process.

 

I am in the race to represent the people of Eket Senatorial District at the Red Chamber of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I have the passion, network, mental capacity, strength and all that it takes to serve well in the Senate. My years in Nigeria Customs Service exposed me to Nigerians from diverse backgrounds. I have done things with virtually all Nigerians from different ethnic backgrounds. I know that I will be given the opportunity to change their narratives.

 

One unique thing you have done is your open support for the completion agenda but against the succession agenda of the governor. Why? I am basically driven by what I hear God say, not man’s word. God has not revealed the succession agenda of Governor Emmanuel to me. I refused to follow him.

 

When I followed him in 2014, God told me he would be the next governor as a born-again Christian who has not soiled his hands. I followed the dictates of God. I have refused to follow his succession agenda because God has not mentioned to me the name of the man his succession agenda is promoting.

 

As for the completion agenda, I will always support it. Let me make it clear to you that I will not follow any direction God has not asked me to go. I came from Lagos in 2014 to support my brother and friend to win the governorship but today, detractors said I was a pauper when I came, forgetting that I came and formed Transformation Agenda with chapters almost in major countries of the world and states of the federation funded single-handedly by me. I stick with Udom Emmanuel because God told me he would be the next governor then. In 2019 when the turmoil started and some people left him, I went on the radio and said he would win and he won.

 

In the present dispensation, I am driven by the same passion that what I have heard God say is that Senator Bassey Albert is His choice for this season. For succession agenda of Emmanuel, I am not a part of it and I will not be but for completion agenda, if he gives me an assignment outside government to help it go smoothly, I will gladly do that because I am an Akwa Ibomite and if there is development in my state, it will rub off on me and my people.

You said that Senator Bassey Albert is the man God chooses, and whom you will support; what other qualities have you seen in Bassey?

Let me take you to the Scriptures. The Bible says that all power belongs to God and He gives to whomever He chooses. If I will tell you here that God has chosen Bassey Albert beyond what mortals see, the God who has chosen him will qualify him.

 

Bassey is a known giver with a very large heart, a man who works for others’ interest and goes extra lengths to help others. He has invested his energy in the growth of the state. People that don’t listen to history are normally cut off by history. In 2015 before His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel showed up; let me tell you what happened. There was no zoning to Eket. The area was almost swallowed up. Umana Okon Umana was contesting and Bassey Albert was also contesting.

 

The story then was that there was no good candidate from Eket. In the course of persuasion, Umana had to leave the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC) while Bassey Albert stayed back, conceded the position and joined what was right and supported Udom Emmanuel.

 

And His Excellency, Udom Emmanuel became governor. I was at the meeting where Bassey Albert was asked to be patient that when the governorship position rotates back to Uyo Senatorial District, he would be given the first right of refusal. In 2019 what endeared Bassey Albert to my heart was that our two other senators left and Bassey was given mouthwatering offers to join suit but he refused and defended the PDP mandate in Akwa Ibom.

 

What else do you want me to say than that a man who had that integrity – the sincerity of purpose, the honesty to stand with his home in the face of danger is not a man who should be sacrificed? Why is it in our system to reward those who don’t work and those who work are not rewarded?

 

The present succession agenda has come, why is there no reward system? The man who is today being branded as the candidate; where was he? Where was his contribution to the party?

Why is there no reward system? Where was he in 2014? Where was he in 2019? And suddenly emerging, I may not know the norms and intricacies of how this system runs. For me, I stand by the truth and stand by justice. It may not look good to people but what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

 

We shouldn’t ask for justice when we don’t practise one. I stand with Bassey Albert in the physical realm for a payback time for him in this season and most importantly God has told me in my open vision and through other men of God I pray that Bassey Albert is the anointed and my job is to obey God. When I said the other time that there was no revelation about Umo Eno, nobody has challenged me and I’m waiting to be challenged.

 

People in the government are worried that you may out of anger divulge government secrets in the cause of these politicking since you had been an insider. Shouldn’t they? Governor Emmanuel and I, including our families, are very close. I can tell you that when he leaves office on May 29, 2023 he may reconsider his opinion about me, if I was wrong or right. The reconsideration is in his hands because he is the one sitting on the throne today.

 

But if it is the aspect of speaking the truth, why didn’t they challenge me when I spoke to Senator Godswill Akpabio to leave the governor on the throne to do the job and be accountable to the people of Akwa Ibom State? So then I was not a bad person when I spoke that truth? The idea of standing on truth is my lifestyle and Governor Udom Emmanuel knows it. When he brought me back to Akwa Ibom, he gave me many responsibilities behind the scenes and I stood on truth and it worked.

 

When it comes to the secret of governance, I have no reason to discuss it with anybody because that will be belittling of myself; except in a circumstance where people ignorantly push my back to the wall. But then, if you go out and say Ephraim stole money, Ephraim will be forced to defend himself and maybe be in the course of his defense for his integrity sake, other things that shouldn’t be discussed are brought up, but that will not be my fault.

 

 

What I am saying is that I have a right to react if I am wrongly accused and in a bid to clear my name and hard earned reputation, such information that ought not to have been discussed surfaces. However, let me state that I have no plans any day to divulge government secrets but must appeal to those children bathing like fowls in the water that they know not what they are doing. They should better refrain from their ill activities. One of the things trending is that you singlehandedly demolished structures without approvals from your boss. Is that true?

 

The money that was saved from those exercises did go to Ephraim Inyang-eyen’s pocket or it went back to the government purse? If they didn’t send me, why was I not apprehended and punished as Commissioner for Works then?

 

Why wait till political discussions are taken before saying all these? I became commissioner and refused to play ball over exorbitant valuation reports. In 2015-2019, there was no person in government, including the governor, who asked me to stop. Is it now in 2022 because I have taken a different political position that they are playing up the issue? Does it make sense to you?

 

 

Why didn’t they complain when I was saving the billions of Naira for them? For example, when we started the Etinan- Ndon Eyo Road, there was a report of N5.4billion for compensation after the measurement but overnight it jumped to N11.6billion because of buildings that emerged overnight and the governor said the money alone can finish the road project. We were forced to demolish all those illegal structures in 2016 and no punishment was meted out to me then.

 

Now six years later, people are shopping for information to smear me. The same case has gone to EFCC and they investigated me. When they failed in EFCC they ran to ICPC. Then I was the Chief of Staff. The payment consultant was arrested and detained for 21 days. He later took ICPC to court and won with a cost of N25million awarded against them and they have appealed it.

 

 

Now why will the case in the Court of Appeal in a sane society surface in the social media to smear Ephraim Inyang?

 

Inyang-Eyen

 

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