WWE: Working With Ephraim
By Osondu Ahirika
…………….World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE, has been my addiction right from youth. As a child, growing in a home that didn’t own a television, ( I can’t figure if it was because my father, of blessed memory, could not afford one, or that, his strict approach to parenting, forbade our exposure to movies and other programmes, except, News, which he believed till his demise, corrupted the mind prevented him from buying one), I used to sneak to other homes to watch my favorite programme.
Over the years, I have followed the evolution of this combat sport, from the days of Mighty Igor of the International Wrestling Association, IWA, fame, to the current WWE.
I have grown to fall in love with the cast and characterization of the major players in WWE. The Undertaker, Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Bad News Brown, Jake ‘the Snake’ Robert and many others, have all fascinated me. Of late however, I’m blown away by the entry of the one simply known as, Elias.
In projecting his unique brand via country music performances playing a box guitar, he has wooed an ever increasing fan base to concede, that the answer to the biggest question of what ‘WWE’ stands for, is, ‘Walk With Elias’.
Before every fight, he asks the question, ‘Who wants to walk with Elias?’. Then his habitual refrain thrills me the more. To the spectators he says, before his performances, ‘I need you all to silence your cell phones. Hold your applause and shut your mouths’.
I however meant to borrow the line from Elias and recoin WWE to mean, ‘Work With Ephraim’.
If you notice, I have held back, for quite sometime now, writing opinion articles on personalities. I am compelled today to return to that path. I simply love to celebrate people, while they can feel appreciated for their good work. Reason, I hardly ululate the dead on this space.
In the last near three years, I have had to catch my breath, almost always, working with the Honourable Commissioner for Works, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Ephraim Inyangeyen. Time and again, staffers of the Ministry, newsmen and contractors handling projects supervised by his Ministry, have barely struggled to play catch-up, with the ebullience of his work ethic.
His hands-on-the-deck, boots-on-ground approach to his oversight function amazes every onlooker. His untiring animated insistence on seeing the details for himself, is a plus, as he pursues perfectionism in his assignments. His uncompromising mien, while tenaciously insisting on job specifications and set goals cannot be faulted.
Working with Ephraim is no child’s play, believe me. Working with Ephraim Inyangeyen is not exactly a stroll through the park. I wouldn’t say, it is rather, a walk on egg shells. Perhaps it is both. Hmmmm! I may be confusing you.
This is how I mean. The contractors working with/for the Ministry have found out, early in the day, that, Commissioner Inyangeyen is so strictly detailed that, cutting corners or deals with is an abomination to him. The distance between his smile and accolade to a performing contractor and his stern frown of fury for shoddiness in executing projects is a split second away.
He erupts one moment like a volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius at the slight hint of treachery, compromise or sabotage, by anyone working closely with him and almost effortlessly, switches to jolly good fellow, if his allies have performed exceedingly well.
In his words, he owes God as the foremost, and his boss, Governor Udom Emmanuel account, for his stewardship, and his conscience, the necessity to do right and be found faithful. Whatever else, that stands in the way of him, conducting his office to the pleasure of God and the satisfaction of Governor Emmanuel, does not stand a chance of reckoning with Ephraim Inyangeyen.
In his code of conduct, the displeasure of a few individuals is nothing compared to the joy of the boss and the good of the greater number of people in the society. When individual interests, conflict with public good, Ephraim Inyangeyen finds the easiest choice to make, being upholding the later. It is the integrity he has demonstrated in office, that empowers him to compel contractors to do their jobs to specification or quit the site.
A Ministry Staff, who is a project supervisor, confided in me that, what staff of the Ministry secretly dread is having Commissioner Inyangeyen request to have your phone number. According to him, once this happens, be resigned to hitting the ground running until the job is done. It is not a feat, the lazy and unproductive can compete for.
The scorching sun, the cold drizzle of rain, long winding trek on muddy or dusty roads, all combined, will not deter the probing quest of Commissioner Inyangeyen to see every piece of the puzzle for himself and have not just the mental picture, but a comprehensive first hand knowledge, of what there is to any task that must be done.
A few detractors have called him names and labeled him with false tags. He will not look back, nor join issues. Commissioner Inyangeyen is so focused on the goal that, nothing the antagonist does, or says, distracts him. His belief is that, the current situation will ultimately end in praise, when the work is done. The assurance that the people will declare, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel has, not only improved, but also, remodelled road infrastructure in the state, he insists will be the last word.
For now, I sign off by asking, ‘who wants to work with Ephraim?’ Folks’, let’s hold the applause, till the work is done.