Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Eyen fields questions from Okon Bassey on his encounter with the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and debunks insinuations that the Governor Udom Emmanuel signed a pact to serve one term. Excepts.
You are considered Governor Udom Emmanuel’s right man, is true that the Governor entered an agreement with the Oron people to serve one term after which an Oron person will serve one term to complete the mandatory two-tenures for the Eket Senatorial District?
Oron is in my senatorial district. I believe in evidence. There must have been people at that meeting. A document must have been signed. Where are these documents? Who were at this discussion? At the time Governor Udom Emmanuel was emerging, Oron people had gone to other camp. Most of their leaders were in the other camp. I believe with all my heart that Governor Udom Emmanuel will not tell a lie. People believe that in government, you must tell a lie to get things done. I am of a different school of thought that is why I am able to work very freely with the Governor. The Governor says it the way it is. There was no such understanding. If you tell me that the then governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio must have had some understanding, I may not argue because I was not there. Governor Udom Emmanuel was not there.
There was a disagreement between your ministry and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the execution of projects in Akwa Ibom State, has this been sorted out?
We expected that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will support the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, to add value to the lives of our people. We expected that they will tell the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, we want to help you here. Where do you need help? What we condemned was that, every time, the governor, goes to an environment and makes pronouncement, the following day, NDDC will deploy the equipment, sometimes without contract paper. Exactly what happened on the Youth Avenue, when the Accountant General of the state did thanksgiving, it was on a public holiday and he asked Ministry of Works that he wants that road to be done, and on Wednesday morning, we saw equipment being moved to the road and we asked where is the contract paper? There was none. Where is the design? There was none. I put a call through to the director in charge of NDDC projects in Akwa Ibom. He said he had not awarded the contract. It was a political thing. NDDC is expected to complement the effort of the state government. This is our money, not NDDC’s money. Akwa Ibom is the highest oil producer and gives the highest contribution to NDDC. We welcome those projects but not substandard projects,that every time rain comes, it washes it off. That money is recorded against our state in the books at the centre, that 18 roads were done in Akwa Ibom. In truth, no road was done, and we will go back to square one. That is the truth.
About two months ago, the Governor received a plea from the people of Edemeya, that there was no road linking Edemeya and other communities. The governor directed me to visit the area. I was walking through a bush path to get to the area. I reported back to the governor, that the area needs intervention. He directed that we should do a survey, we were still doing the survey, but what I heard when I came back was that NDDC has also sent people to go and do a survey. Why that particular one that has been lying down there till the governor spoke? And if we pull out of that project now, they will abandon it. It was the same with Hospital Road in Abak. We were on the design when NDDC put up a sign post, and we said okay, good enough, and we left. It became a political issue.