AKSG New Mode Of Compensation, A Narrative Of Transparency
By Emmanuel Nicholas
For Akwa Ibom State to take its rightful place and be more relevant in today’s world, it requires bold, inspiring and visionary leadership, devoid of corruption and cronyism, and Governor Udom Emmanuel is an epitome of such leadership.
Governor Udom Emmanuel represents honesty and trustworthiness. He is scrupulous, conscientious, high-principled, selfless, content, anti-corruption, upright, upstanding, high-minded, right-minded, good, virtuous, just, noble, respectable, decent and all above prudent. With Governor Udom, Akwa Ibom people have elected a leader who is not corrupt, and who places the people over his personal needs. In this world, to be competitive in all aspects, it demands radical socio-economic transformation and the Akwa Ibom Governor has vast knowledge in financial matters will usher in the economic change.
Udom is a leader that has good vision for the state. He has set standards for honesty and with him, mismanagement of the state’s resources, cronyism and recklessness in governance will be grossly minimised if not eradicated. In leadership, your acolytes greatly influence your output. The people you work with should share same philosophy with you and be poised to interpret your vision statements into realities.
Hon. Ephraim Akparawa Inyang-eyen is one of the Governor’s team members whose philosophy synchronises with that of his boss. He is confident, assertive, innovative and committed to promoting and defending the interest of the Udom Emmanuel Government and that of the people.
Hon Ephraim Inyang considers that the people’s interest and development must be placed above our politics. Above all, he is prepared to seek solutions from within, and adopt the philosophies and practices that will deal with the various challenges that the State faces, and develop ideas to propel our State towards the best that it deserves for the better.
Hon Inyang-Eyen operates an open policy that has integrity in its actions and is really good at managing its information. These are the foundations upon which government accountability is built and corruption is reduced. To be clear, integrity in Ephraim’s context means that an open government follows the rule of law and that it works to establish a culture of integrity amongst its representatives and employees. This integrity pervades all aspects of an open government which reduces corruption and creates internal accountability, where government holds itself accountable.
The last have not been heard about the payment of compensation to properties owners as the State takes on road construction projects. Across the country, the process of payment of compensation to property owners is usually marred with a lot of inconsistencies. Most times, some persons will collaborate with political office holders to induce the private valuer to inflate the price sum of each of the property valued.
During payment to the beneficiaries, cheque are issued to owners without them having the privilege to see the actual sum that is accruable to each of them as the voucher always turns upside down and only the section of beneficiary signatures will be the only part that will be exposed to the beneficiary.
Most times, the compensations are received by impostors and when true owners turn up, it will be discovered that his or her benefits has been collected by someone else. This will make the government sometimes pay more than one beneficiary for one property. When some property owners whose benefits are collected by impostors cannot get their Payment, it leads to an endless cycle of litigation as it prevent government and contractors from taking their right of way , hence delaying government projects from taking off.
The metric of transparency in the payment of compensation has been changed, as Governor Udom Emmanuel has invoked new methodology in the process and procedure of payment. First a private valuer will value the property. Thereafter, the government valuer also goes in to value the properties and then submits their values before the government. Both teams will compare the submission and reach a compromise of the sums for each property.
After both team’s assessment, a private finance consultant is engaged to effect the payment to eliminate all forms of malpractice by any official. Before each beneficiary is paid, he or she will present an Identity Card and there must a witness from the community to identify that truly she or he is the owner of the properties in front of the cameras.The beneficiary will also present original copies of the property documents, with two copies of passport photographs.
In the case of a family property, a “will” will, be presented to the consultant. In the absence of the will, the family will collectively sign the power of attorney, granting the name of one of them to be written on the cheque to avoid future opposition and litigation.
After these processes, the cheque will be issued to the beneficiary and in 24 hours after paying in the cheque, government will release funds into their individual accounts. After receiving the compensation, the government will take its right of way for contractors to commence work on the project.
On Monday 12 October, the Akwa Ibom State Government commenced the payment of compensation on the affected property in the ongoing urbanization of Eket Town, followed by payment of compensation to Tropicana unground water channelization, Ikot Udom Road Project in Ibiono Local Government, Awa Iman and Mkpok villages in Onna LGA
Flagging off the programme, the Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyang-Enyen informed the beneficiary that government of Deacon Udom Emmanuel will not condone with any act of fraudulence and has determined to keep to his promise of completion of all projects within a stipulated time frame.
He said government decision to institute a new direction for payment was to guide against act capable of truncating the whole deal, “a situation where someone own a property and another man, get compensation will not be exercised again. We are effecting this payment so that the contract for the Remodelling project can be expedite by the contractors”.
He said government had allowed owners of property in the affected area to hire their valuer but take charge of consultant who carry out the payment. This, according to the Commissioner was to ensure probity and accountability in the system.
” every owner of property must show up with a witness, it could be a lawyer, valuer who must sign the cheque before payment is done.”
He said the development will help eliminate the bottleneck associated with compensation. Hon Ephraim assured that Udom Emmanuel’s administration was committed to providing quality and meaningful projects to the people of the State.
He called on the people to cooperate with government to enable him succeed, saying the mandate freely given him by the people was to deliver dividends of democracy to the people and not to give excuse. He said, for easy identification and payment, the ministry chose to drove down to the villages involved and ensure that affected property owners are identify in order to avoid double standard and omission.
He said, payment of compensation to the affected owners will be carried out in two parts, which according to him is, through cheque and cash, “Those who have structures will receive cheque while those with tombstone and other economic trees will receive instant cash so as to ease the exercise”.
Mr Ephraim Inyang has pleaded with the community leaders and other major stakeholders to cooperate with the ministry to carry out the exercise effectively. He asked everyone affected to present their identity card and two recent passport photograph for easy identification and payment.
Despite the amount, the Commissioner also demand property owners to appear with witness and signed alongside. He said it was barbaric and fraudulence for people to claim other people’s property, warning the community to desist from such.
In one of those occasions, the Chairman, Ibiaku Ikot Oku village Council, Mr. Nkereuwem Daniel Robert commended the state government for coming to the aid of Ikot Udom and other communities that share the road, he said the people of the area has been under bandage due to inaccessible road network. He particularly commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for remembering the people of the area in his development agenda.
The village head of Mkpok, Eteidung Ekerete Thompson Ufot lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel’s development plan for the area and pledged the people’s support for the government. It would be recalled that payments of compensation have earlier been effected in Eket, Uyo and Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.
The Commissioner stated that to ensure transparency in the on going payment of compensation, the government has employed the service of a finance consultant different from the Estate Valuer who valued the properties to handle the payment. He said the arrangement allows the estate valuer, the construction company, the finance consultant & government to witness every payment & is properly documented.
For every leadership to have positive effect on the people, there must be integration of best practices to outplay the mistakes of the past. The synergy of Governor Udom Emmanuel and his Commissioner of Works is to synchronise qualitative and transparent leadership to sustain higher development strides in Akwa Ibom State , devoid of corruption but laden with transparency in the entire process of project execution and implementation