|Ephraim Inyang and wife
It is widely believed that the hallmark of a fine worker is defined by his capacity to execute the task assigned to him. That capacity is not necessarily a product of his educational qualification or the acquired skills of the staff. This is so because many professionals with educational qualifications and even skills fail to meet up with their assigned task because of lack of capacity which encompasses their character, passion and approach to work.
Akparawa Ephraim Akparawa Inyang-Eyen the Honourable Commissioner of Ministry of Works, Akwa Ibom State is a worker with adequate capacity and a robust passion for service. He is a man defined by his leadership virtues, little wonder he is the song of all, an anthem to the masses, who are either enjoying or patiently anticipating the massive road construction across the State.
He is competent and his capacity is driving the Ministry to higher productivity. Continuous productivity is an era that fosters a seamless integration between competency and skills. We are also in a new era, a paradigm shift, where there is evolutionary discontinuity, a step-function break from the past. Continuous productivity manifests itself as an environment where the evolving tools and culture makes it possible to innovate more and faster than ever.
When Akparawa Ephraim was sworn-in as Honourable commissioner of works , his emergence was pregnant with expectations but seven months later, we can recount his administrative prowess, tireless commitment to duty and output.
He started his work by making a tour to all the zonal offices of the Ministry. At one of those tours to the Eket office, shutdown the office due to the poor attitude of workers at the time of his visit to the facility. No staff were seen and the building was covered with grasses and lizards; the latter were the only visible tenants of the building that was supposed to house the workers of the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of works.
The government fuel dump which was commercialized was also closed down as the operator did not remit to the State Government the leasing fees .
Three weeks later, a visit to that zonal office showed a total rebirth of both the office and fuel station as both structure wore new looks , the offices were repainted , the windows changed to aluminium glass windows , dilapidated doors changed to steel fabricated doors and the filling Station operator remitted the leasing fees and the station also remodelled with modern sales meters.
At the the headquarters of the Ministry of works , Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Eyen transformed the offices which was built in the fourties to a modernized outlook. The old windows were changed to aluminium windows, the doors changed to steel fabricated doors , the floor which has virtually broken partly was tiled, while both electronic and electrical appliances were replaced to fit the restructured buildings.
The Honourable Commissioner also re-equipped the offices with computers , Photostating machines, printers, office desks and seats to enable the workers of the Ministry to function well.
The moribund fuel station at the Headquarters of the Ministry experienced a total turn-around , as the sales meter was changed, a factorial roof was built over the Station that never had such since inception , the grounds of the Station tarred to allow vehicles to have free flow of traffic during purchase .
After the remodelling of the Station, the Ministry of Works commercialized the facility and is today open to the public, selling products at government approved rates.
Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Eyen is seen by many staffers as a man whose pedigree and commitment to work they have never witnessed with any other commissioner before. He resumes work everyday by 7 am and walks around the offices to check on staffers who are in the offices for work. As a great disciplinarian, he does not take no for an excuse from workers.
Mr Inyang-Eyen has brought sanity to the entire workforce of the Ministry and those staffers who wanted to continue with the business as usual attitude have either been re-adjusted or transferred from the Ministry to pave way for proactive workers.
In terms of due process of awarding of contracts, Honourable Inyang-eyen ensured the Ministry advertizes its bidding openly in newspapers and collation of bids from various contractors. After assessing the cost of each bid, the Ministry sets up committees with members of the FGPC to asses each of the bids and then award the contracts to the most qualified bidder, whose bid is not on the high side but meets with the standards of the Akwa Ibom State government on road construction.
The issue of payment of compensation to properties owners for Government to take right of way was one of such processes that was characterized with lot of court cases , where many beneficiaries will sue the government for none payment and under-payment of compensations.
The Commissioner of works ensured that absolute sanity is restored to the process, as two stages of valuation introduced; having a private valuer and a government valuer who will will value independently before the ministry will come to a compromise after assessing the two valuers' records.
After choosing the record, the Ministry will then appointed a financial consultant to pay the compensation to properties owners to avoid miss management and cut out third parties who defrauded the system before now.
During the payment process, each beneficiary must come to collect his cheque or cash with an Identity card (National ID,VOTERS CARD , Driving License ) with two copies of passport photographs. If it is a family property, the family will write the Ministry of works , that they have conceded the power of attorney to one of them to act on behalf of the family hence giving powers to the ministry to issue the cheque in the name of the family member .
This procedure has reduced drastically controversies and litigation against Government as wrong people are not paid the compensation of others and where the valuer has built in fictitious names of beneficiary without existing properties , such claims , if noticed will be returned to the coffers of Government.
Akparawa Inyang-eyen is a workaholic who has no particular schedule of project inspection. He visits the construction sites daily with members of his staff , ensuring the contractor does not deviate from the road design and delivers a sub –standard road to the State .
Because of his regular and consistent project inspection, contractors are delivering the project earlier than the scheduled dates in the contract terms.
Ikot Udom Road in Ibiono Local government is ready; five roads in Oron town with water channelization are ready for commissioning. Eket-Ibeno Road dualization is about 80 percent completion; Ikot Ukat Road in Onna is about 70 percent completed and many others.
When men of dependable pedigrees take over workstations, there must be a total rejuvenation in all spheres and departments of the firm. Mr Inyang-eyen has been able to interpret and implement the vision of Governor Udom Emmanuel because he is a man with great capacity for higher productivity. Truly, he has shown that in the past six months of his stewardship at the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of works that governance can be effective.