Monday, 21 September 2015

A fertile blend of competence and leadership: The Etido Inyang exemplar

 A fertile blend of competence and leadership: The  Etido Inyang exemplar

I consider it imperative to  preface this opinion with   a crystal-clear declaration having had the “misfortune,” in recent times, of being maliciously rather than coincidentally impersonated in the public commentary realm. After his first 100 days in office as governor, I am bolder in my conviction that with all the issues raised, and stuck as a people in self-constructed quagmires, Mr. Udom Emmanuel remains glaringly the best option for the current times. Beyond the remarkable and bold steps taken by the man himself who calls the shot, the echo of collective responsibility must steadily reverberate in the consciousness of his lieutenants and subalterns. This is just the sole way towards bringing to fruition the promises contained in his solemn charter with Akwa Ibom people. It shouldn’t be seen as importantly a munching and gulping affair. Trust earned should necessarily be requited. The ship cannot wreck. And there’s one man in the team who shares this passion and with a firm faith in the Akwa Ibom project just as much as the governor who runs the vision.
 It is hard not to play cymbals for unique characters, one in the mould of Akwa Ibom State Special Duties Commissioner, irrespective of whatever presumptions might be held as regards their minor minuses. The goodwill enjoyed by such men blossoms in all seasons and cannot be punctured by thorns of ill-will. Neither can it be stunted by hate-induced mischief or orchestrated falsehood by lowly minds who in their cheap thoughts, feel their glimpse of the top is solely dependent on dragging a man down; certainly not against a man who has deservedly earned the love and noiseless admiration of Akwa Ibom people and indeed Nigerians who have followed his professional career and political voyage over the years.

In the opinion of Michael Mckinney, one I reckon is true, competence alone can’t make a leader, but it can undo one. Nevertheless, competence is a vital part in the whole leadership picture. It doesn’t translate into a leader knowing how to do “it all” but instead suggests that they know what to do and how to get it done. This is where leader-competence comes into reckoning and makes a difference. A synonym for it is “character”. While this synonym may be subordinated within the framework of corporate interactions, at the macro or societal level of relations, it is a ranking virtue for success-conscious individuals.

Author Thomas Kolditz writes: “most leaders have gotten to their station in life through their own competence, but that becomes lost on followers unless the leader’s competence is occasionally revealed by action”. THIS IS THE STORY OF ETIDO INYANG. In the race of life, this guy apparently runs with the above lines of Kolditz firmly etched on his sub-consciousness. In the end, perhaps, he understands that his worth would not be measured by the number he bossed and bombed into oblivion but by the many he held a ladder for to ascend the stairway of success. Etido’s strength lies perhaps in his non-conformity to a one-way success pattern. Not one to be stereotyped in the way he is defined or analysed, he offers exciting reasons at regular intervals for a broader perspective on his all-round public profiling. 

As a technocrat, he is the archetypal go-getter; within the political infinite, he remains the quintessential silent-achiever who succeeds with the strength of a lion and meekness of a lamb, yet speaks not loudly about it for he isn’t one to self-adulate. While his world-class expertise on technical issues, has been resoundingly hailed and cannot be overemphasized, it has somewhat seemingly taken some shine off his political foreword. But it seems the man isn’t bothered an inch by this. For him, Harry Truman’s “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit” holds true.

A neutralizer, stabilizer and mobilize, whatever can be profiled about him within the context of professional competence, he unarguably matches it in political dexterity. This aspect of him almost always slips away because with him, it is more about getting the job done than who did it. This explains why in his immediate political constituency today, it is more about community development and not vain struggle for power supremacy. He has genuinely embraced diverse and varying interests, integrates same into the mainstream and runs an open-door representational leadership in order to make smooth the task of the governor. Beyond this, instructively, Etido, in his quiet corner is still in his habit of mopping up support for his boss and goodwill for the present administration through mind-refinement and sustainable human capacity development. 

Etido’s mobilizing and stabilizing capacities pull out archival reminiscences of Henry Sylvester Williams, the 20th century illuminator of the Pan African Movement. As a grassroot organizer, he is in the mould of the irrepressible Marcus Garvey and can comfortably be placed in the prestigious hall of modern day offshoots of yesterday’s influential thinkers such as Mahatma Gandhi and W.E.B DuBois. 

No doubt, Engr. Etido Inyang came more than prepared for his new role. Less than three months as Special Duties Commissioner, the ministry has added an upgraded meaning to vibrancy. His experience in the last administration as Technical Adviser has fast-tracked this flying start. This explains why Governor Udom decided to retain his kind in the new administration. Using the Ibom Deep Seaport which falls largely under the Special Ministry’s purview, Engr. Inyang was part of the teams that did the study and conceptual design during the last administration. Detailed information and technical expertise required for the project are comprehensively supplied by his team, it would be several miles of retrogressive progress if some other team were to come in at this stage to direct the final master plan and then the full master plan of the seaport. The governor having been a corporate sector person all his life understood that beyond political patronage, the job of governance requires more.

In a recent interaction on what direction his ministry is moving to align with the industrialization policy of the present administration, the commissioner revealed: “We as a ministry, we are strategizing with the investors to give them whatever help they want. When it comes to the state government building certain facilities for the investors, we will advise, design, and build. Where we need co-mingling, where the state government needs to take certain percentage of equity, we will definitely work together…”

On the MRO facility which is income-generating, he clarified: “From a couple of investors that we are talking to on the MRO, a lot of people are really interested about talking to us on that…most of them are coming in not only to do the maintenance but their airlines. We are looking at expanding other aspects of services at the airport”.

This shows a man who clearly knows his job and has moved swiftly to confront and subdue the challenges. Reputed for his dynamism and excellence, antecedents and hovering omen are sure assurances that the governor has got a dependable ally in Etido Inyang, both in his industrialization vision and in politics.

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