When last Wednesday, May 8, the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government banned all government officials including commissioners with the exception of the official spokespersons from granting press interviews it was deciphered that there was danger lurking somewhere.
It has now emerged that the order issued by Governor Udom Emmanuel through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem it was the outcome of a vicious internal bickering within the camp of the governor.
It is a battle that has directly pitched the powerful commissioner for works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Eyen and the elders in the governor’s camp led by Nduesse Essein, a former two term legislator and minister of lands.
Inyang-Eyen triggered the storm when during an interview session with newsmen he lambasted the people of Eket saying that they were anti-development, he further went on to include the elders of Eket saying:
And I want to be quoted, the most difficult community to have work and construct road in Akwa Ibom is Eket and I am from there.
“They speak from both sides of their mouths including their elders. It is the only community that will receive
compensation and denied it and refuse their structures to be
taken down,” Inyang-eyen stated.
Against the background of past perceptions of arrogance, Esseien who is also seen as Governor Emmanuel’s political benefactor having mobilized elders from Eket to navigate a second term for the governor shot back.
In radio and newspaper interviews, Essien, a respected elder within the state gave it back to the commissioner saying in an interview thus:
“It appears the Commissioner is more interested in the acquisition of personal wealth, and the flaunting of this wealth than the development of the community. He takes delight in insulting Eket Elders.
“He is one who counts the properties, evaluates, and pays the owners, to the exclusion of the ministry of lands, who should be responsible.
“He behaves as if government is run on the head of one person, which is not the case. The functions of government is shared among ministries, agencies, etc. no single individual is authorized to run that alone. Ephraim does not respect any law, that is why he combines the jobs of several ministries.
A lot of his colleagues complain about his overbearing attitude. He determines singlehandedly, with his valuers. The property owners are supposed to have their own valuers, and the compensation he pays, are far less for the owners to relocate.
“Those who have collected money, do so by intimidation, because he goes about with soldiers, beat people and tells you to come to his office and collect money.
“Ephraim Inyang will go down as the most arrogant, insolent, the most greedy, the most exploitative and over bearing public servant to have served in Akwa Ibom. Ephraim Inyang is not someone you can talk to.
“Don’t be deceived by his claims, that he comes from Eket Local Government Area, because he is from Onna. No Eket son will come out to castigate the Eket people and Elders the way Ephraim Inyang has done. He is too new to the affairs of the community and does not know how the community has been relating.
“I have only decided to go low, to the level of Ephraim Inyang to speak the language he will understand. To see Ephraim Inyang in office is an uphill task. Even the Paramount Ruler in Eket has tried severally to meet with Ephraim, but he has ignored the Paramount Ruler. Sometimes, people spend two to three days to see him, without result.
“On the issue of personality clash with Ephraim Inyang, I have contested elections, and held positions before Ephraim Inyang got appointed. Ephraim Inyang came to the stadium and denied being a Senatorial District Leader.”