Gov Emmanuel Is The Most Outstanding Governor In Road Infrastructure In Nigeria – Inyang-eyen

… People Are Celebrating Gov Emmanuel For Restoring Peace


Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, the honorable commissioner for works, Akwa Ibom State, and founder of Transformation Initiative for the Empowerment of Akwa Ibom people is a hard-working, cerebral and result-oriented public servant who has distinguished himself through performance on Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration.
The high flying performer who interpreted and delivered the Centre for Disease Control in Akwa Ibom as directed by his boss within a record 47 days speaks on new Disease Control Centre project, Governor Udom Emmanuel’s sterling performance in five years, among other salient issues. Excerpts:

Please what is your take on Governor Emmanuel’s five years in office?

In five years, as an Akwa Ibomite I am satisfied that the governor has done his very best for the people of the state not minding the difficulties he has encountered with resources. Time and season determine the level of performance a governor or any public officer can do, especially if you recall the level of resources which accrued to the state from the federal allocation during the immediate-past administration. But it is glaring now that during Governor Emmanuel’s era, the resources have dropped drastically due to dwindling oil resources. But he has done very well in office based on available resources. As the commissioner for works, I will say that he is the most outstanding governor in road infrastructure in Nigeria. Anybody with any reasonable facts to counter it can come with it. This is one governor who has done more than 1872km of roads and still doing more. He has done very well. All we need to do now is to key into the completion agenda of the governor and go into the completion of these roads. Upon completion of these roads, this governor would have made record as one who has done more roads than any administration that ever governed the state.

One of the cardinal promises of this administration to Akwa Ibom people is industrialization. Five years on, would you say he has delivered?

Yes. Governor Udom Emmanuel has delivered on the promise made to the people on industrialization. Governor Emmanuel met nothing on ground on industrialization. As at 2015 there was no functional industry in Akwa Ibom State. He started by resuscitation of the Peacock Paints at Etinan, which product is very good and I use it consistently even in painting the isolation centre. Building something from nothing is usually very difficult. I am proud today that he has overcome the initial challenges because it is not easy to get people to come and invest in a clime without existing industries. So building from the scratch to the number we have today, I am very convinced that he has laid adequate foundation in these five years. It is a lot easier for him to add and increase what we have already now that the people are convinced that the environment is safe to do business coupled with the infrastructure he has built such as electricity, good road networks which are basic ingredients of industrialization. Soon we will add more numbers of industries which will spark national accolades for the governor. He has done very well bearing in mind that he started from zero and to have convinced members of the international community to come to where there is absolutely nothing to invest their money is quite daunting. Therefore, for me, he started well and he is doing well.

Akwa Ibom has witnessed peace in the last five years with adequate security unlike in the past. What accounts for this?

Like the Bible says ‘my people rejoice when the righteous is on the throne but when the wicked is on the throne the people mourn.’ Governor Emmanuel is a child of God, very flat and simple. He is a man of peace, he is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. And being a man of peace, peace will follow him. He brought to bear what he carries and like I tell people, you don’t give what you don’t have. Perhaps in the previous dispensation when there was no peace means there were no carriers of peace. But today you have one on the throne. He has gone out of his way to make sure that what brings peace is done. He has confronted the cult groups, occultic groups and all manner of groups with whatever names they call themselves. He is the first governor that confronted them and gone ahead to proscribe them.

It may not yield maximum dividends at the beginning but he has confronted the tiger, he has done very well. Working closely with him, I discovered that he doesn’t want anything that will tamper with the peace of the Akwa Ibom people. So I think he has done very well here and it is one area Akwa Ibom people have seen marked difference and have clearly celebrated him. I am very convinced that as he has restored peace to the state, people are no longer killed inside churches, people are no longer picked from their homes and killed. Whoever tries it this time will be caught and severely punished. Akwa Ibom people are very happy that they can sleep with both eyes closed. It was never so before May 2015.

Akwa Ibom before now relied heavily on neighbouring states and the North for agricultural produce. But we heard that most of the food items shared as palliatives during Covid-19 pandemic were all made and produced here?

Even before the palliatives, let me tell you the truth. The governor said, and I believe him, that 80 per cent of what he eats is produced in Akwa Ibom. The governor also made it mandatory for all the State Executive Council members to farm. I have planted 9.8 hectares of plantain in my neighbouring village of Ikot Ndo. I am looking for land in Ikot Edibon to plant coconut so that I will join in servicing the refinery. As at today, I already have ranch, breeding cows, goats and also planning to go into poultry. Without the pressure from the governor, probably some of us will not find it necessary. I understand that most of our Executive Council members are into farming and it is making agriculture the centre-piece of the post-Covid-19 dispensation. Agriculture is not just going to be for the feeding of the people of the state but a major source of revenue to the state.

The governor has championed that cause. Before now, if there was a crisis in our neighbouring states there will be no garri to consume here. But we can see that the past months with lockdown we didn’t bother about food. The only thing that we appealed for was for the Cross River government to open its borders to us to get granites and stone base from the quarry, not in terms of food. We relied on ours and the government said 80 per cent but in the next one year, it will be absolutely 100 per cent and the state will become a major revenue earner. Agriculture is on the top priority of Governor Emmanuel’s agenda. A bank is about to be set up to handle facilities in the agricultural sub-sector.
After industries, agriculture, in no distant time, will be a major source of revenue to the state.
The state is working not to depend on federal allocation from Abuja which has dwindled very badly.

Talking of internally generated revenue, the state- owned Ibom Air recently added another aircraft to its fleet. What is Governor Emmanuel’s vision for aviation industry?

In the aviation industry, to be very frank with you, it was not easy before now for people to access the state. They had to pass through other states and for those coming through Port Harcourt road, a portion of it is not very good security wise at night, while those coming then from Calabar, will realise that the only federal road connecting Akwa Ibom and Cross River had since collapsed. One of the greatest things the governor has done is to open up the aviation industry in the state. The governor has always said that if you don’t have access to your state by air, water and land, you are not yet developed; right now people come into the state to do businesses in the morning and return in the night. I have had cause to meet up with meetings in Lagos, Abuja and return to Uyo same day courtesy of the efficiency of Ibom Air on these routes. I can tell you that it is not just awesome but maximises time gained in doing business. Ibom Air has added value to the accessibility business of the state. People don’t like doing business in a place they cannot easily access and this has added to our industrialization drive. Secondly Ibom Air is recruiting. The business of aviation which hitherto was not there is now employing our people. Thirdly, if you must industrialize your state, there must be three modes of transportation. We are doing well in road construction and when we have finished, the state will be totally opened up with best road network. We are doing well with air transport and then the Ibom Deep Seaport is almost ready. When once we have the final approval from the Federal Executive Council, it will be a done deal. Now it is glaring that Ibom Air will soon become a regional air carrier going to Cameroon, Central African Republic, Kenya, Ghana and others making this state a regional hub. The road we created from Ini Local Government Area to Arochukwu in Abia State has made our airport and Ibom Air their choice because of the proximity now. It is closer for them than going to Owerri. I think Ibom Air is adding great value and very soon it will be a major source of internally generated revenue (IGR) for the state. For us to successfully open up our state, we need these modes of transportation to function effectively.

The governor has intended also to use the coconut refinery to enhance the state IGR. How is the project faring?

If you have listened to one of the last interviews granted by the governor himself, that project will be ready by December. Coconut oil is more expensive in the global market than crude oil. What we have in our coconut oil refinery can also refine groundnut oil, and palm oil. It means that if we are able to meet our daily capacity, our revenue from coconut oil will help us to minimize our very stretched federal allocation that is dwindling very badly and no longer depend on statistics of production. So the coconut refinery is to me, outside the deep seaport, one of the best. You google the current price of coconut oil it is more than double the current price of bent crude oil. I am meant to understand in clear terms, that there are undertakers who are set to buy the totality of our production. It is not just what you will produce and it will be hanging like what we saw during Covid-19 lockdown with our oil hanging on the high sea with nobody making demands. Vessels of crude were seen stranded on the high sea and the thing at a stage came to deficit, lower than zero and became a minus. But coconut oil has remained consistent. It is just like having diamond and putting it up in the international market which price doesn’t fluctuate carelessly. It remains within a stable level while crude oil depends on demand and production of nations. I think the coconut refinery is going to be a major source of revenue earner for the state.

Governor Emmanuel battled the coronavirus pandemic to a standstill in the state, can you let us know how he has fared so far in containing the pandemic?


When coronavirus became a global pandemic, our governor took a proactive step by going to fix up the Infectious Disease Centre at Ikot Ekpene and furnished it well with a standby generator. He went to Ibom Specialty and also fixed it with all necessary equipment including ventilators. Then he realized that if the pandemic hits more people, the two places would not contain. Then on the 5th of April which was a Sunday, the governor called and directed that I proceed to General Hospital, Ituk Mbang, get a space and build him a 300-bed Isolation Centre with all facilities. On the 6th of April, I went on inspection and got a location and demolished the old structure and then on the 7th of April began construction. The isolation centre that we have just completed and set for commissioning on 29th May is 60 meters in length and 40 meters in width with offices for medical personnel, consulting rooms, a reception for medical personnel, four toilets, four shores, two consulting rooms and two nurse sections. It also has four wards each fitted with five toilets; five baths. Wards A and D have 10 toilets and 10 baths. They are the largest.


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The management has decided to make Ward B an intensive care unit and what we have done in the entire isolation centre of 60/40 meters measurement is that we have fitted it with about 34 floor standing air conditioners, about 20 intercoms in each ward, controlled from the reception. We have fans, DStv and CCTV to monitor the entire structure because of the security needed there. CCTV cameras will also record all activities going on there. It is constructed in such a way that the medical personnel have a place to take off their personal protection equipment (PPE) and exit the facility from there. There is a virology laboratory. It has all the equipment, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)-appointed professor brought in all the equipment and they are fully fitted and we also have the general laboratory which is well equipped. The government also provided quarters for doctors who will be working there which is a 20-bedroom apartment, all self-contained with air conditioners, television, beds, convenience showers, kitchen and sit-out. The chief medical director of the hospital is also provided with a flat of palour, room, kitchen, convenience and they are fully furnished with the hospital secretary so that if the chief medical doctor is not there, the secretary will be there. There is a canteen to serve the hospital community and the isolation centre. We have provided generators to serve the entire premises, 200 and 150KVA. We went the extra mile to get clean water. We did a borehole and provided 19000-litre storage and also brought the best water treatment plant so that the water from the borehole is good for drinking. We also use the cabinets around the walls of the isolation centre so that during fire outbreaks people can be evacuated easily. Eight fire cabinets with 2.5 horse-power pump have been installed round the hospital. That can easily quench any fire with water. We have also built a laundry with two big open top washing machines to ensure that all laundries are done there. There is also a facility for incinerator to burn out all the medical materials used in the place. As I speak to you, all the facilities are in place. This is an amazing structure built between 7th of April and 26thMay which means we used about 45 days from the foundation to finishing. Some people insinuate that we went to renovate an existing structure but a 60/40 meter structure could not have been standing in a hospital in Akwa Ibom before today. We have never seen such a structure to renovate let alone of building upon it. What we met on ground were structures of 1950s and 1960s. The governor came here during the excavation of the foundation. We have pictures of what we met on ground and the different stages of the building. What surprises people is that in Africa such things are seen as impossible within a record time. If it were in China or Europe people would have applauded them but not in Africa or Akwa Ibom. Any state that wants to reenact the 8th wonder of the world can consult my governor and we will help them out at a very reasonable cost.

Though the projects is now being appreciated, earlier people were of the opinion that the governor would have saved funds by renting tents to manage the pandemic at a lower cost?

I want to tell you that a leader who has no direction and allows unnecessary information and emotions to guide him will go astray. I am very happy that the governor took the right decision of the people of Akwa Ibom State. There is a state on the social media we heard that rented tents with about N7 billiobn and rainstorm came and blew away the tent. But Governor Emmanuel has used less than 9 billion to build this gigantic structure. Today the hospital at Ituk Mbang is the most upgraded general hospital you can find anywhere. All we have here is permanent. If the governor had used hundreds of millions to rent tents for three or four months it would have been a waste to the state. The governor knows the road and the followers are not misled. I think the people who held that opinion initially have seen the wisdom in what the governor is doing and have openly congratulated him.

During the building of the structure the entire premises was daily thronged by groups and individuals were coming to appreciate the governor from their hearts, or did government arrange their visits?

I think two groups of people came to the site. One came to pay solidarity with what the governor has done, the other was the doubting Thomases who never believed that the project was feasible. You know the story of Thomas in the Bible who only believed that Christ has risen from the death after putting his finger in the wound. So there was a group of doubting Thomases who came to be sure it is a reality. However, I told them that the governor gave me 30 days to deliver a completed and well-furnished isolation centre with all the facilities to him. One of the doubting Thomases later believed and joined me mostly at nights to see the progress of the job. You are aware that the job was done day and night under floodlight to meet the deadline given by the governor. He will tell his own story someday. I will personally attribute the success of the story to two principal characters. One is the God Almighty; I give Him the glory for the several miracles we witnessed during the construction stages. There were several days we had heavy rains in Uyo without a drop of water at the site. We had instances of coming for meeting in the state capital and while leaving under heavy downpour back I will be praying that it does not affect our jobs and supposedly on getting to the site you see there was no single rain drop. There were instances we will be doing road piling and it starts drizzling, I will raise my hands and plead with God to stop the rain and save me from disgrace and He will honour my request because I am on a divine assignment. Our job is not for self-aggrandizement but for humanity. The second is the Governor Udom Emmanuel. All the grammar of how we will deliver in 30 days without the governor’s willingness to fund the project as and when due would have been impossible. If you have the energy without him funding, you are heading nowhere. Therefore after God is Governor Emmanuel. Finally to answer your question, two groups of people came; those to give solidarity to the governor and the doubting Thomases who now believe that the project is real. Every genuine Akwa Ibom person is happy with what the governor has done except the die-hards who don’t wish the state well.

Covid-19 has done enormous destruction to economies of the world, the state inclusive. How do you see the realization of the completion agenda after the pandemic?

The governor is already ahead of the situation. He set up a post-Covid-19 committee to explore ways the state will toe for quick recovery. I belong to that committee’s group 4 which deals on infrastructure. There is a group on agriculture and reorientation among other groups. In the area of the infrastructure, we will consider what we call the low hanging foots in infrastructure, which is what government can put a little money to get results in a short and medium terms. We will generally prioritise the projects, bearing in mind that a particular government cannot complete everything. It is a common knowledge that government is a continuum. For instance if you look at the 55km Ibom Superhighway, the government can do 30km of job and spur to the seaport construction site to ensure the building of the port. The other balance of the 25.5 kilometers could be handled by the next administration. So government at this level will carefully prioritise its projects. Agriculture will no longer be at individual level but a merchandised commercial farming to go beyond local consumption to export for income. What is not very critical and essential will be minimized. The post-Covid-19 reconstruction committee will submit its report to the governor on 1st of June. By the time you read the report, then you will understand that this governor saw tomorrow. However, I believe the governor will navigate us through the economic crisis which post-Covid-19 will foist on us. It would have been much easier if we have an economy independent of that of the country because some of the things that only exist to be handled in the exclusive lists alone will be a great setback. He has however prepared adequately for post-Covid-19 economic activities. You can also see that he has started cutting costs. The salaries of government appointees have been slashed by 20 per cent, a decision I consider wise by any standard. He is negotiating with labour for a realistic salary structure for post-Covid-19 salary structure, especially what was initially obtainable before the new minimum wage.

Before now there were some projects very dear to your heart. What becomes of them in the present circumstances?

They are on our priority list. There are certain projects I cannot stop. The dualization of Ikot Oku Ikono- Etinan- Eket, Etinan-Ndon Eyo and the Airport- Okopedi- Uya roads are principal infrastructure to open the state which never had any daulised road outside the state capital tertiary. This is the first time we are using daulisded road to link up other local government areas. The government will allow road infrastructure that will encourage the opening of the state economy; we still take up roads which are nearing completion and clean them up. However, some internal roads may be delayed but will not be abandoned. Eket remodeling will be completed. We have just three major structures to take down before getting to Grace Bill Road which is Abia’s house, Mobil Filling Station and Union Bank. We are not doing any demolition to Grace Bill. The road which is about 90 per completed will be completed. All the project at such levels will be prioritized. They will be placed at low hanging foot or short level. Udung Uko Road left with just 2km to enter Eyo Abasi will be completed. The road to Mbo from Etebi Enwang to Etebi in Esit Eket will be taken care of. Again, you never know the God of miracle who helps Governor Emmanuel, the oil prices may bounce back and if the economy comes up, all the projects will be taken up once again. The governor has done well by going ahead to prepare the state. But for me Covid-19 is God’s way to inform humanity that He is still God. It has a God’s finger to show that man and the totality of what it has created is nothing. God only can stop the pandemic which the world leaders have failed to do and realized that they are mere mortals and the world, for the first time in the recent history, came to a standstill lockdown globally.

What projects do you hope to give the governor for inauguration on May 29?

Many contractors in my ministry have been funded in the last 3-4 months. But in the three months of the lockdown, they were idle and what this government will never do is to rush and commission uncompleted projects. We would not do that. We have several projects at 95 per cent which require just two or three weeks for completion and they are battling with it now but I am not satisfied. However the Osongama Estate or Ewet Housing Estate Extension which we started with 18 roads, and then increased to 24 and finally 28. Twenty-four of those roads are ready with road marking. If the governor will be willing we can go commission the roads before or after the commissioning of the Disease Control Centre at Ituk Mbang, otherwise we will push it and many more to the coming state anniversary. The 21-storey building is almost ready but for some finishing materials from abroad which are still being awaited because of shutdown of flights world-wide.

What is your message for the people of Akwa Ibom State considering Governor Emmanuel’s efforts so far?

I will appeal to our people to become real and give the governor all the support he needs to succeed. The governor means well for the people of Akwa Ibom State. The people should use kind words while addressing their leader and the inability of any of the governor’s aide to deliver on his assigned duty should not attract using foul language on the governor. It is a well known fact that the governor directs and oversees the state but he can’t be everywhere at a time and thus has to rely on aides to deliver on his promises. For a man who has done so much with limited resources and so much inherited debts we need to give him all the support to progress with his Completion Agenda. It is not good enough to blindly criticize a man who is not just doing well but doing so honestly and with the fear of God. You can also not compare two administrations with different revenue earnings. The eras of Obong Victor Attah, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Deacon Udom Emmanuel are three different dispensations with three different resources at their disposal. It is important that we judge them based on the resources available to them.

Akwa Ibom recently lost a prominent citizen, Gen. Edet Akpan, Rtd, to death. What is your take on this?

I want to say without mincing words that he was a great statesman. I had the rare privilege of relating with him closely. I will recall what he did when we went to commission the 6.4km road in Nsit Atai Local Government Area. He showed up in person and praised Governor Emmanuel for doing very well and also giving them the road project. He thanked the governor for coming to their aid, saying that all his efforts to get the road earlier fixed failed. I pray that his soul will rest and find peace in the bosom of the Lord. We will also identify his legacies and build on them. He was a hero.

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