Fear and anxiety has gripped major chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State over calls by the State Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyang for a probe to uncover those behind the high rate of abandoned NDDC projects in the state.
The Commissioner who made the call last Tuesday while inspecting the 4.6Km School of Arts and Science Road, Nnung Ukim in Ikono LGA of the state, wondered why a paltry 600 meters road contract awarded more than five years ago by the then PDP led NDDC could still be uncompleted after the entire contract sum was paid, promising to officially write the NDDC management to order a probe into the failed road project towards ensuring that the contractor is brought to justice and the money embezzled retrieved.
The statement from Governor Udom’s Works Commissioner has rattled some chieftains of the PDP whose companies were awarded most of the failed infrastructural projects. Investigation reveals that more than 37 chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State may face prosecution and possible conviction over some failed projects their companies did on behalf of the Commission in the state.
Findings from our reporter indicates that following the two weeks ultimatum given to contractors working on its projects across the region within which to return to sites or face sanctions, the Commission may start compiling names of defaulters for prosecution.
The NDDC it could be recalled had earlier given contractors 30 days to return to site, in order to complete all on-going projects in the region.
Investigation reveals that some major PDP chieftains who acted as NDDC contractors and fled the project sites after collecting mobilization fee and some outright payment for jobs not done include, Emmanuel Enoidem, Engr Sam Inyang, Sir Emem Akpabio, Chief Micheal Afangideh, Obong Paul Ekpo, Aniekan Umanah, Enobong Uwah, Senator Anietie Okon, Hon Sam Ikon and Hon Victor Udofia.
Others include Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, Engr Etido Inyang, Senator Bassey Albert.
The State PDP chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo, for instance allegedly abandoned a 56km road project contract he got from the NDDC four years ago and diverted the money to build a multi million shopping plaza along Oron road in Uyo, the state capital. The building is over 97% completed while the road he abandoned after being paid by the Commission is barely at an 8% completion level.
One of the PDP chieftains who spoke to our reporter on condition of annonimity, accused the Commissioner for Works of mischief, accusing the Onna born Commissioner of instigating the probe against some Akpabio’s loyalists within the PDP.
“Rather than let sleeping dogs lie, Ephraim Inyang instigated this probe just to spite Akpabio and target some of us Akpabio’s loyalists within the PDP who he feels are threat to the Governor. This is the same Commissioner who conspired against Sir Emem Akpabio and instigated Governor Udom Emmanuel to revoke the Oron- Okobo road contract earlier awarded to Emem Akpabio and caused the project to be re-awarded to Dr Esio Okwong Udo just to destabilize some chieftains he feels are his opponents within the PDP itself”, he alleged.
He said though Emem Akpabio was the highest beneficiary of NDDC contracts over the last eight years, it was unfair for the Works Commissioner to declare a clandestine war against the Akpabio’s in view of the likely political consequences on the Governor who may bear the effect of the ongoing cold war.
The impending probe which has rattled major PDP chieftains in the state is being seen as Ephraim Inyang’s continuous witch hunt of Akpabio’s loyalists in the party who he feels must be “cut to size” before the 2019 general election.