On Friday, 25th November, 2016, Akparawa Ephraim Akparawa Inyang-eyen, the immediate-past Commissioner of Works, Akwa Ibom State, would turn two scores and eleven in thips terrestrial ball.
And for every a man, it is joyful to join the league of golden men in age. It is also with great ecstasy to live above it and much more with fulfilments of dreams and aspirations. This may not be far from the prayer of the Psalmist. In Psalms 90:12, it says, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom”. Moving further to verse 14, it says “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days”.
Certainly, everyone who knows, Akparawa Ephraim Akparawa Inyang-eyen, will agree that he is a man of deep wisdom and insight. He is a man routinely acknowledged for his integrity and who never leaves anyone in doubt about what he stands for.
This endearing, hardworking and quintessential gentleman is one man thathas consistently added value to humanity through his life of sacrifice, love and service laden fellowship to the course of humanity and service to God.
Looking back at the years preceding the immediate-past Commissioner’s life style, he is not known for loud celebrations due to his resolution to always have a time out with orphans and less privileged. According to Ephraim, since he turned forty (40) and after reflecting in his experiences, he realized that it is better to add value to the lives of those who have not the opportunity others have in the society. Ever since, it became a ritual of sort to him.
It is however, worthy to note that, for over a decade, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-eyen has maintained his covenant with his God by ensuring that his appointment with the Special Children, those stigmatised as Child witches and cast out onto the Streets, the needy, the handicapped, widows and the poor of all descriptions is maintained on his birthday.
In a world generally believed to have become so degenerated, debauched and perverted, it is usually gratifying to see few individuals whose thoughts, deeds and lifestyle daily exhibit nobility and strength of character.
Undeniably, Ephraim might not be the darling of all, but, the Nung Nya in Ikot Ebiere, Onna Local Government Area born, has carved a niche for himself. His personality, however, excites as much admiration as fear from the people.
Born on November 25, 1965 into the family of Mr. & Mrs. Akparawa Inyang-Eyen of Nung Nya in Ikot Ebiere of Onna Local Government Area, Ephraim Inyang attended the famous Etinan Institute from 1977 to 1982 where he obtained his GCE O’Level certificate.
Thereafter, he proceeded to School of Basic Studies, Akamkpa, Cross River State in 1983 and obtained his A’ Level certificate in 1985 in Mathematics, Chemistry and Geography. Same year, he was admitted into the prestigious University of Ibadan where he graduated in 1988 with B.Sc. degree in Chemistry (Second Class Upper Division). Furthermore, Ephraim was offered admission into the re-known MBA Programme of the University of Lagos where he bagged a Masters in Business Administration degree (MBA) in 2014.
Ephraim Inyang-Eyen started his working life in 1982 with a stint at the then Cross River State Teaching Service Commission as an auxiliary teacher and taught Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics at Community Secondary School, Okat in Onna before he left to further his education.
In 1989, while serving in the Nigeria Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Ephraim worked as a Chemist with the Nigeria Railway Corporation. Upon completion of his NYSC programme, he was enlisted on August 31, 1990, into the Nigeria Customs Service as an Assistant Superintendent of Customs.
In his about 25 years in active service, Ephraim has maintained an excellent track record of performance, discipline and working knowledge across various departments of the Service. Between 1992-1995, he served as Special Assistant to the O/C Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos and was transferred to Bauchi Area Command, where he served as the Commands’ Public Relations Officer for over two years. Thereafter, he was redeployed to Apapa Port Command, where he served as Staff Officer of the largest Container terminal in West Africa for four years and was responsible for staff and operations management. His outstanding performance in this assignment which led to the turn-around of the revenue profile of the terminal led to his immediate promotion.
Similarly, when he was assigned to lead the team that repositioned the Port Express Bonded Terminal as O/C Terminal, he was credited with exceptional performance for changing the fortune of the hitherto moribund terminal within a record time of one month which earned him several management commendations for the achievement. This feat was repeated when he moved to Tincan Island Port, and was subsequently posted to Classic Bonded Terminal that had closed down. Ephraim turned-around the situation within three months and posted very impressive revenue stream. He went on to serve as O/C terminal there before he was posted to FANO bonded terminal before he became actively involved in politics.
Ephraim Inyang-Eyen has contributed significant to national building within and outside his immediate community which has earned him numerous Honors, Awards and Recognitions. These awards were accorded him before he was made Commissioner. They include Certificate 0f Merit as Patron- Akwa Ibom State Students (NAAKISS) JULY, 2000. Role Model Award – Sage Communications International (December 2010), Transport Development Excellence Encouragement Award (2009), and Award for providing Trade Facilitation in Customs by Transquest Magazine (2009).
Other awards are Transport Development Excellence Award conferred as special Encouragement Award for promoting trade facilitation-Transquest Magazine(2010), Golden Award for Excellence, Honesty, Hardwork and Accountability by Nigeria Print Journalism Development(2011),
Others are Customs Commitment Merit Award in Recognition of Outstanding Operation and Ethics to place Nigeria Customs Service in the front burner by skyline 24Hrs Newspaper(2014), Association of Movie Practitioners (AMP) Akwa Ibom State chapter-Award for Excellence for Outstanding Support for Success of the movie – WOMAN’S RIGHT and the fight against human rights abuse and violence against women(2014), Transport Development Excellence Award(TDEA) as Customs Operative with exemplary MIDAS TOUCH by Quest Media Group(2014), Federated Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists and Award for excellence from the University of Lagos Alumni Association (Lagos Branch) and the latest one; Award of Excellence at the10th Nigeria Media Nite-out Awards (NMNA) held in September 2016, in Lagos State, to mention but a few.
Like the Psalmist who beseeched the creator to teach him how to number his days that he may gain a heart of wisdom, I think by now, it’s important for you sir to count your blessings and not your failures. Certainly, the rest of your life is still pregnant with activities; you still possess what it takes to change the race of humanity. I think it is time to dare to act to change and envelope yourself with the quest to discover the next Ephraim Inyang in the race of life; men and women of valour whose silent voices from behind the scene would produce salient results just like yours.
Therefore, as you push the boat out to identify with orphans and the needy in Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket Senatorial districts as part of the activities of your 51st birthday, I pray God to bless you. I wish you, your amiable wife and your Children good health, long life, joy, blessings, higher status and continuous successful service to humanity.
Like Vince Lombardi who said that “it is time for us all to stand and cheer the doer, the achiever, the dynamo – the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it”.
On that note, I urge all to join me in appreciating a philanthropic icon, an outstanding leader and a fantastically good man, who has proved himself beyond any reasonable doubt that he deserves such honour.