Success of Emmanuel in 2019 is not in man’s hand- Inyang-Eyen
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works, Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, in this interview with journalists assured that Governor Udom Emmanuel would retain his job at the Hilltop Mansion come 2019 based on performance. INEMESIT AKPAN-NSOH reports
Recently, the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Senator Godswill Akpabio, told the gubernatorial candidate of his party not to bother campaigning in his district that all the votes from there were already secured for him. He asked him to rather focus on Uyo and Eket senatorial districts to get a few votes to become the governor in 2019. What is the fate of the PDP in the state?
That is a very good question. Well, may be they have already allocated votes to themselves. What he said may also mean that they have perfected a rigging strategy, but I know that a man who holds his PVC in Ikot Ekpene has an independent mind and what the man in Ikot Ekpene would think is different from what the man in Abak or Oruk Anam is thinking. If Godswill Akpabio, the senatorial candidate of the APC in Ikot Ekpene says that their governorship candidate shouldn’t campaign, then it is obvious that they think it would be business as usual; the old rigging machinery. But I hope that the amendment of the Electoral Act recently passed with amendment, will be signed by Mr. President. It means that the use of electronic device, which we call card reader will become mandatory. They are even going further to say that if the card reader does not work; the election in that unit should be postponed for the next 24 hours until the card reader works, it means that every man will have a vote.
I don’t think that anybody in Akwa Ibom will ignore the fact that Governor Udom Emmanuel has done exceedingly well in several areas. Let me leave my projects and talk about the peace that he has restored to the state. This was a state that we were, and many of us never showed up because of kidnappings and reckless killings. You remember that when a group of Akwa Ibom indigenes that are into business came to see the governor not long ago, the leader of that group said in very clear terms that his mother warned him never to show up in Akwa Ibom throughout the eight years of the last administration. So, if nothing else has happened, Governor Udom Emmanuel has restored peace to the state causing people to sleep with their two eyes closed. And I don’t think any Akwa Ibomite wants to send away that peace because it is not something you get so easily around.
Some people believe that persons appointed by the governor into his cabinet are still loyal to Senator Godswill Akpabio, and could betray Governor Emmanuel in the 2019 election. Do you think otherwise?
The success of Governor Udom Emmanuel in the 2019 elections is not in the hands of anybody, including mine. It is in God’s hands. And let me tell you that even if God will have to use donkeys, as He has used them before, he would use them again. When we did a political analysis of American President Donald Trump, the entire media world, including the American media never gave Trump a chance, but it was destined that God had designed Trump to do what he is doing in America, and I still remember our governor saying to us then that he believes that Trump will win, even though he doesn’t have popular support. Somehow he won. Now, it would be arrogant for anybody to sit down and say if not me Emmanuel would not be governor. That is not correct because power is given by God. If anybody close to Emmanuel chooses to betray him, I will tell you the truth, such a person would come crawling and crying because Emmanuel will win a second term.
In 2015 there were several, high-wire betrayals, but God saw Udom Emmanuel through. When it comes to the time to lay many things bare, many Akwa Ibomites would be surprised. I will not today attribute the success of Governor Udom Emmanuel in 2015 to any human. Yes, there were human instruments that God used, but that thing was entirely God’s business and that same God is still alive, and so He will do it again.
Of late, aides of the governor have been resigning their appointments and claiming that their principal is so high-handed and treats them with disdain. You have worked closely with the governor all this while. What is the true picture?
Let me share one common thing that some of them have said to my hearing. They say that the governor didn’t buy Toyota Corolla for all the appointees. Now let’s do a simple calculation. In 2015, a Toyota Corolla was about N6m and in 2015 Akwa Ibom was receiving something in the region of N35b to N37b monthly. From 2016 to 2017, Akwa Ibom was receiving about N9b and our salary portfolio was about N7b. Now a unit of Toyota Corolla costs about N22m today, and if the governor were to use what is left after payment of salaries to buy cars for all his appointees, it means Akwa Ibom would shut down. We won’t even have money to buy diesel to power streetlights and do any other things. When the economic situation changes, the parameters of governance must also change. So, what the governor simply did was to joggle a few things to say this is what we have because we had the privilege of having this. Now this is no longer available, please let’s make do with what we have. He appointed more people as SAs and PAs.Now, I am of the opinion that, politically speaking, Udom Emmanuel could never have refused to accept the people the former governor wanted in the cabinet, given the fact that it was through his instrumentality as a human being that even the first idea was mooted.
Is it true that the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel has not done any project in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District since he assumed duty?
I don’t want to go through projects across Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District because they are too many, but I will take one particular project, and for the first time, we are going to give details of what happened to the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road project, to further establish that what has been said about Emmanuel’s performance or non-performance in that senatorial district is absolutely false.
The Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road was awarded by the government of Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio, on the December 19, 2011. It was awarded at the cost of over N28b to Julius Berger Plc. Work started on the project September 12, 2013, and it was reviewed upwards by over N23b. Again, because of what they call additional works, it was reviewed again on September 25, 2014 by over N19b, bringing the total value to over N71b, and this was as at September 25, 2014.
Governor Udom Emmanuel became governor on May 29, 2015. I want to state here very clearly that the bulk of this money had been released, but the contractor didn’t achieve 50 per cent of that project because as at the time that road was hurriedly commissioned in early April, 2015, they were at Kilometre 15, and that Kilometre 15 did not have the wearing course, that is the final asphalt was not there. That final asphalt is what really holds the road firm. And I heard in that same interview when the former governor said he took it to Kilometre 18. I want to, for emphasis sake, say that the structure that stood at Ikpe Annang, where you turn to go to Essien Udim is at kilometer 15.16 and that building never went down until February 2017 that this government sourced N140m and paid the owner of that property before taking down that property. So, it is not possible for Akpabio’s government to have got to Kilometre 18 as claimed.
And for the avoidance of doubt, this structure at Kilometre 15 was a major challenge, and a case was still standing in court. So, if they had gone up to Kilometre 18, what it then means is that we have only done just three kilometres that they are saying because we are now in Kilometre 23, and it is remaining only two kilometres to Four Point by Sheraton. So 18 minus 23 would have been at least 5 kilometres, but that is not correct.
What we have done is that since Governor Emmanuel came, we have done the final asphalting of Kilometre 0 to 15, and we have taken it from Kilometre 15 to kilometer 23, that is eight kilometres, and the remaining two kilometres we are paying compensation.
And most important of all, I want to state clearly that all these did not even take into consideration, the flood, the outfall drains that were supposed to have been done on that road. It is this incumbent administration that is considering constructing drains because all the communities on that road have flood challenges. Now, we are considering how to do the outfall drains. So my question would be, if they say that this road was awarded at the cost of N71b and the duration was three years, it was supposed to have been completed in December 2014 and with two revisions, why was it not completed? Where did the money go to? These are very simple questions.