…Eyes AK Governorship
By Ubon Akpan
ExxonMobil, one of the biggest international oil giants operating mostly in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, has finally bowed to pressure from its host community as it formally announces the elevation of Mr. Udom U. Inoyo, the highest ranking Akwa Ibom indigene in its system to the position of Vice Chairman.
Paul McGrath, Chairman and Managing Director of ExxonMobil and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria who made the announcement said the appointment takes effect from March 19, 2018.
It is the very first time in the history of the oil giant that an indigene of the oil rich Niger Delta or even Akwa Ibom State, ExxonMobil’s major area of operation, has been elevated to that level in the company.
Mr. Udom Inoyo, until this elevation, was the Executive Director/In-Country Human Resources Manager and has been largely expected by the host community and industry watchers to be the key driver of the oil giant’s local content component among other key roles.
Indigenes of Akwa Ibom State who took to the social media following the announcement, however appeared divided on what value Mr. Inoyo may be able to deliver to the local host community by way of local content going by his antecedents which they largely said were unimpressive.
While many applauded ExxonMobil for the appointment which they said Akwa Ibom people have been looking forward to since the bulk of its operation is located within its territorial boundaries, they noted that Mr. Inoyo is eminently qualified for the big job going by his training, experience and contributions to the growth of the company.
They however commended the appointment and urged ExxonMobil to step up its movement of its corporate headquarters to Uyo as directed by the new federal government policy and pay the requisite taxes to the state from where it derives it revenue
Others however accused Inoyo of not being adequately sensitive to the needs of the people of the host communities by way of employment opportunities, corporate social responsibility and even patronage.
One commentator posted on Facebook: “Who Udom epp(help)? If he comes here now he will blow grammar upon grammar talking about standards forgetting how he got to that position. Me, I follow tie wrapper go picket Mobil make them increase employment opportunities for our people. E no be so him take enter Mobil? Now, e de blow grammar”
That commentator was referring to protests by Akwa Ibom communities including the foremost Ibibio socio cultural group, Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, who campaigned in the 80s and 90s for increased local patronage of Akwa Ibom people by the oil trans-national.
Meanwhile, indicators have emerged that Inoyo is on the drawing board mapping out plans to launch a gubernatorial campaign for the Akwa Ibom Governor’s seat in 2023 after the current governor would have completed his second term.
In 2013, the unwritten zonal formula adopted by political players in Akwa Ibom State has zoned the office of the Governor to the Uyo senatorial District where Inoyo comes from.
And political pundits believe the incumbent governor may be more favcourably disposed bto handing over to an experienced board v player just like himself.
Udom joined Mobil Producing Nigeria in 1989 from the Akwa Ibom State civil service and after several human resources roles in Nigeria, United States and Belgium was appointed Manager, Human Relations Policies and Programmes in 2001.
He became General Manager, External Affairs in 2002 and from there rose to become Executive Director and now Vice Chairman.
Inoyo is also the founder of the Inoyo Toro Foundation which focuses attention on youth development, mentoring and education particularly in the grass roots.