By Eric Ekwere
People have asked me both privately and publicly why I admire Mr. Udom Inoyo that I choose to celebrate now as if he is the first person that has put in 30 of his life in service. Some have gone as far as saying my support for him is for 2023. The later may not be far from being correct, but it would have been more ideal if it was said that my support for Mr. Udom Inoyo is far bigger than just him becoming the governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2023, but a support for a great Akwa Ibom State moving according to a well structured development plan that will not just be beneficial to a select few, but the generality of the state and our people irrespective of any primordial sentiments and he is best in line to receiving the baton.
He may have suffered so many blows, but that does not take the good man that he is from him. A consummate professional with great and the best intent for Akwa Ibom State. So many may dislike him because they know little or nothing about him and this is so because like a good Christian that he is, he does not go about announcing the things he has done for people for just one reason, it is demeaning to the receiver of your goodwill being announced to the public. A request that was done privately and in confidence and in trust.
His life as a corporate citizen has come to a halt, but his contributions there cannot go unnoticed and will not stop in the new life he has commenced. Therefore, let me share some points from what the erudite Chief Assam Assam, SAN once said about Mr. Udom Inoyo sometime in April, 2018 on some of his commitment and contributions to Akwa Ibom State.
Chief Assam, SAN:
“I recall when we, as a people, were engaged in the fight for resource control. You were then the leader of the Akwa Ibom professionals in Lagos, a group vehemently opposed to the Supreme Court judgment that deprived Akwa Ibom state from benefiting from the 13% derivation payments. You anchored the compilation of the literature which in no small measure whipped the conscience of the country to adopt the political solution. Those who were privy to your invaluable contribution are Senator Anietie Okon, who was the General Counsellor of the exercise and Uko Udom SAN, who, with me, served as advisers to the late General Philip Effiong, (Akangkang of Ibibio nation), our representative on the Political Solution Committee headed by Chief Anthony Anennih. The legislation which I personally drafted for presentation to parliament by Senator Udoma Udoma, and which increased our revenue to this day, was a culmination of that effort and your leadership”.
Recall, there was a massive organization of both human and historical resource to bring enough pressure to bear on the Federal Government for a “Political Solution” for the Resource Control impasse after the Supreme Court judgement declared that the Federal Government was the owner of the Continental Shelf and all the resources therein. The political solution was to give the litoral states the 13% Derivation benefits of 200 meters isobath on the Continental shelf.
Again from Chief Assam, “I recall your consistent plea which convinced Obong Victor Attah to fashion a development program for the Oil bearing communities. With Dr. Ebebe Ukpong (then Commissioner, Ministry of Economic Development), Ambassador (Mrs.) Nkoyo Ita Toyo (a development expert and social advocate) and a Mr. Nsudoh S. Nsudoh (now a Permanent Secretary in AKS) you worked tirelessly to produce a document whose content has the panacea to resolve most of the feuding issues in the oil bearing communities. That document has not been utilized to this day perhaps because you were vehemently opposed to having any politician in the team that was to be set up to manage the funds. No wonder the initiative was abandoned. Someday soon, I hope, someone will do something about it.
“Quite a number of people may take your amiable disposition as a weakness but they needed to be in a House of Representatives, when you led a delegation of Mobil to a Committee hearing on the Niger Delta Development Commission. You pointedly questioned the lack of proper utilization of MPN’s share of contributions to NDDC. With the hot and bitter exchange that followed, we thank God the NDDC representative was sitting on the other side of the isle. How his jaw may have looked thereafter is still a matter of conjecture. You bravely questioned the accountability of the members and I am certain you must have been utterly disappointed when no one, even from your state, came to your rescue, except one Honorable Bethel Amadi. You were undeterred, and I know you will do it again if the same situation presents itself.
“Udom this is personal to me. The Eket-Ibeno road, a distance of 15 or so kilometers used to take hours with attendant safety issues. I was the Attorney General of this state at the time and privy to how you convinced the management of MOBIL and the Government to take over the road project from NDDC. They did. You got Mobil to contribute a whopping N8B towards the construction of the road which was completed by another Udom this time the Udom of Emmanuel. That road is now dualized and pleasure to drive on”.
I, indeed the whole state, owe Mr. Udom Inoyo a duty to celebrate him as he retires from service after using his position diligently and positively to serve Akwa Ibom State, our people and his immediate community. His over 12 years contributions to the development and celebration of education goes to tell of a man who believes that no society can develop without a good and well planned education, no wonder his Inoyo Toro Foundation where teachers and students alike have been celebrated in different times.
Mr. Udom Inoyo remains in his honour and this is the reason he enjoys my admiration and that of other forward thinking Akwa Ibomites at all times.
I say again, as you bow out Sir, dream on and achieve on and as your friends and associates, you enjoy our unending admiration.
Eric Ekwere is the DG, Young Friends of Udom Inoyo. www.facebook.com/teamudominoyo