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Tuesday, August 3, 2021


The cobwebs this time wasn't woven by spiders and didn't form from dust. This cobweb, the unpleasant silky barrier were negative notions and perception held tight by a lot of people.  They said he was a snob, distant, not possessed with the milk of human kindness, a man, who, while at the commanding height of ExxonMobil as a Director, Executive director and ultimately Vice Chairman of the Company's Subsidiaries in Nigeria failed to "do anything for his people" but rather sacked fellow indigenes from the multinational oil company during his tour of duty. Notions, particularly negative ones, can be as thick and black as the dark cloud which portends a mighty rainfall. They also form thick barriers which creates gaps between people at all levels. But Udom Inoyo's face - to - face engagement with hundreds of members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State council on Friday, 30th July punctured the nimbus and cleared the cobwebs. The interface served as an eye - opener and had the effect on the journalists like that of the blind man who exclaimed "I was blind, now I see." A Journalist, Kufre Etuk,  shortly after the encounter wrote on his Facebook page "after listening to Mr Udom Inoyo for good number of minutes, my perception about him changed when he finished his presentation. I felt guilty for not giving him a fair hearing all the while" 

This confession by Etuk cements the wisdom that nobody should believe a negative story or hold a wrong perception about a fellow man until one experiences the person. There are many out there who hold wrong notions about others or things they know absolutely nothing about. What also came out in bold relief was the crying need for role models as the bedrock for the transformation of our society.

For Udom Inoyo, his late father was such a compelling influence in his formation years. In his words "My father lived a life of hard work, contentment, integrity, and the fear of God. He walked the talk on several fronts. As a committed Christian and an Elder in Qua Iboe Church of Nigeria, he knew that the most effective way to evangelize was through the power of personal example."

Describing the character of his father with a few illustrations that transpired while he was alive, Mr. Inoyo enumerated that: "as the pioneer Company Secretary/Chief Accountant of the Cross River State Housing Corporation, Calabar, and later the Acting Head of Corporation, he had only a plot of land. No property was warehoused in the name of his wife and seven children. Even later, when he would facilitate the establishment of today’s Ewet Housing Estate in Uyo, he had no plot of land allocated to him."

"As one entrusted by the late Brigadier-General Udokaha Jacob Esuene, Governor of the then South-Eastern State, to set up the State Treasury shortly after the Nigeria civil war, he made sure that no money was missing. He was so prudent that on one of his several trips to Port Harcourt to collect the state's allocation from the Central Bank of Nigeria, there were insufficient funds to settle the hotel bills of the security escorts. Rather than resort to the unauthorized use of government money in his possession, he made a personal pledge to settle the indebtedness on his next trip."

Juxtapositioning the lifestyle of his father and what obtains today Mr. Inoyo opined that "I know that today, some of us would consider his actions unwise, and he may even be abused for blocking the chances of others. But I thank God he lived that way. When he died, there was unanimity about the epitaph on his tombstone: Chief (Dr.) Uko Inoyo, A man of Faith and Servant of God. He stood for what was right, even if it meant standing alone."

No wonder, Mr Udom Uko Inoyo worked hard, with integrity and discipline and for more than three decades in ExxonMobil and retired without a cloud around him. One wonders how many out there can still stand tall after the test of rigorous scrutiny.

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