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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Etido Inyang @ 54: Service, Competence & Leadership

•Otobong Sampson•

Thirteen years ago, Engr. Etido Inyang caused not a little consternation when, without blinking, he resigned from Schlumberger Oilfield Services in service for Akwa Ibom State. He had spent 18 years with the international oil giant where he built a dynamic career having grown through the ranks.


He was Project Manager; Directional Drilling Engineer; Field Services Manager; Technical Manager; Location Manager; Quality, Health, Safety Environment and Risk Manager; Nigerian Content Development Manager; and a Director. Prior to his resignation in 2011, this civil engineer of global repute had previously sought to resign on two occasions to establish his private practice but was held back by Schlumberger. On both attempts, he was flatly turned down. After he stood his ground in 2011 in preference to serving the state with the new administration which had just came on board, he was offered 'direct return' to the company by its management in the first six months from the date of his resignation should he feel dissatisfied in government. It was never to be. For Engr. Inyang, it was service to Akwa Ibom first and service to the state always. 

It is not hard to cling cymbals for unique personalities irrespective of whatever presumptions a few might hold as their minor minuses. The goodwill enjoyed by such men blossoms in all seasons and overwhelms the thorns. Over the years, Etido Inyang has deservedly earned the respect and admiration of people beyond the shores of Nigeria who have followed both his professional career and political voyage. 

In the opinion of Michael McKinney, and one I reckon to be true, 'Competence alone can't make a leader but it can undo one'. Notwithstanding, it is a vital component of leadership. 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.

The 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'. In his race of life, Engr. Inyang runs with these lines of Kolditz firmly etched on his inner mind. In the end, perhaps, he understands that his worth will not be summed by the number he bossed into oblivion but by the number he held a ladder for to get up the stairway of success. 

His strength lies in his non-conformity to a one way success pattern. Not one to be stereotyped in the way he is defined, he offers exciting reasons at regular intervals for a broader perspective on his all-round profiling. 

As a technocrat, he is a go-getter. Within the political infinite, he is that silent achiever who succeeds with strength, perseverance and meekness yet speaks not loudly about it for he isn't one to self-adulate. 

His professional expertise, resoundingly acknowledged globally has somewhat, seemingly taken some shine off his political foreward. But it appears the man isn't bothered; Harry Truman's...'It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit' holds true for him. Whatever can be profiled about him in the context of professional competence, he 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. 

The philosophy of his life mirrors a protest against opportunism and a social Utopia born of years of inter-social intercourse with his local community and the outside world. He is one who breathes loyalty and altruism at every pore...and a most articulate leader and quietly persuasive preacher of a cause. 

Happy 54th Birthday, Engr. Etido Inyang, FNSE, FNIM.

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