Profile of First Clan Head of Awa Afaha

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Etebom Raymond Inyang: Banker Per Excellence, Finance Expert And Selfless Community Leader

By Henry Nkom

‘As a people in Akwa Ibom state, we must begin to re-invent our traditional institutions, which is an aspect of governance that promotes development, peace and order; in such a way that there are basic criteria of education and history in favour of would- be chiefs before they ascend the throne of our fathers. It is alright for people to follow the line of royalty and become chiefs and kings but there is a lesson we must learn from Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former CBN Governor, now Emir of Kano, Da Jacob Gyang, former Controller General of customs, now Gwom Gwom Jos and so many highly educated professionals and influential persons now holding the traditional institutions of their areas”. Akwa Ibom cannot be left behind in the new order’ Etebom Raymond Inyang

On Tuesday, May, 24th, May Etebom Raymond Inyang was elected the Clan Head of Awa Afaha, in Onna local government area, a clan recently created by Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.

Etebom Inyang has many great qualities but one of the strongest is that he is a silent achiever; this is the highest degree of humility. It takes a lot of effort for him to talk about himself but as it is said, a golden fish has no hiding place.

Another virtue in Etebom Inyang is that he has blue blood flowing in his veins, yet he is so down to earth. Except somebody reminds you, it is hard to know this is Etebom Raymond Inyang if he is in a crowd. He just loves to mix up with the crowd. But this has in no small way endeared him to his people.

Born on 13h June, 1947 to the Nung Mbong Royal Family of Awa in Onna local government area of Akwa Ibom State, Etebom Inyang benefited from the ancestry of royalty; his grandfather was a Village Head while his father who died in 2002 was a Clan Head after spending eleven years in this stool and twenty-six years as Village Head.

Young Etebom Raymond Inyang benefited from the experience of his father who was a teacher and so he was registered for primary education at Ikpa.

Very proud of his secondary education, Etebom Inyang refers to his college, Holy Family College (HOFACO) Oku Abak as the greatest school in the whole universe. According to him “There was more to the school for me, it prepared me for academic success and there I was baptised and became Catholic’

He started showing his brilliance very early and upon completing secondary school he got grade 1. and secured a job at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Working there for four years, the monarch covered a lot of grounds in banking and finance and went ahead to study and qualify as a chartered banker

In his words “after working for four years in CBN and rose to the post of Supervisor, I had become too much for the place and I knew it was time to progress”.

Such a brilliant young man must have his eyes on the best this world can offer him and this is why the young Raymond moved on to Howard University, Washington DC, one of the oldest black universities in America; established in 1867.

For this brilliant personality, excellence is a way of life and he continued to exhibit it at Howard University. As soon as he started his studies at the University, Etebom Inyang shone like a million stars and amazed the institution. As a policy of the school, students with 3.6 GPA earned automatic scholarship but Inyang beat the record by having As in all his Accounting courses and so the scholarship was given to him by the university. Immediately after gaining admission at the school he entered for Certified Public Accounting (CPA) examination and passed with flying colours and in one sitting.

Upon graduation with a Bachelor degree from Howard University, the authorities of the school did not want a student with such exceptional brilliance to leave them. So he was asked to register for a Masters and got the award after completing the course in Management. So in all Etebom Inyang spent seven years in Howard University to complete his studies.

As he was about to complete his studies, Price Water House, world acclaimed Accounting and Finance Management firm came to the school to recruit and Etebom Raymond Inyang got the job.

He was immediately sent off to Dallas, Texas where he studied Oil and Gas Accounting to make him an expert in it.

After the training, Etebom Inyang was given a schedule at Price Water House, USA and he worked  with several firms.

He was a chartered Accountant and Auditor at Price Water House, USA and he worked on World Bank Accounts.

After working for some years in America, he was transferred by Price Water House to Nigeria where he managed the Nigerian office and was in charge of recruitment.

The trainings abroad by Price Water House and all the experience he has in recruitment, auditing, consultancy and many areas of finance, after eleven years, made him ready to launch out and become to other endeavours.

His first point of attraction was banking. So he found a place in Nigerian Merchant Bank where he worked for about 7 years. With the understanding that there are opportunities and possibilities of contributing more to society by setting up a private finance firm, he founded RICFund ltd, MFC Mortgage and Ray Inyang &CO (chartered Accountants).

The finance companies invested in mortgage, built several shopping complexes in Uyo, Ikom and other places across the country.

MFC mortgage bank was established in Uyo shopping complex and the company helped to finance a lot of mortgage projects.

Etebom Inyang did business in Nigeria until 1996 when his accounting practice faced the challenges of the time in Nigeria. The Accountant captured it this way ‘Between 1996 and 1997, the military rule of Sani Abacha permitted a lot of corruption. So you couldn’t practice Accounting without somebody asking you to do things against your conscience. And this was impossible for me to do. So I left for the USA where I established a thriving Accounting firm”.

As a finance expert, one of the attributes of Etebom Inyang is integrity. He is known across the world as a man of untainted character.     Inspite of his connections to the corporate world, history and genealogy won’t leave him out of his community.

A well established man doing things for people abroad, he could not forget his birth place; so as he was doing mortgage financing abroad, at home he built a nursery primary school, complete with teaching aids such as television, visual aids and bought text books for the pupils; all these from his personal funds. He also sent the teachers to Topfaith International Secondary School Mkpatak for training on how to manage private schools even when the school has since been taken over by the government. This school has a population of 400 pupils with pupils from neighbouring villages attending.

His commitment to improving the lives of his people through various humanitarian efforts did not go unnoticed by the people of Awa Ndon.

This was why in 2002, after the burial of his late father, the people of Awa Ndon, without even consulting him named him the Village Head. Despite his initial rejection of the offer on the ground that he was working outside the country, the people insisted he will be their leader and advised him to appoint somebody to be his assistant.

This commitment of the people to the demand for the service of Etebom Inyang really took him aback and he didn’t have much choice than to accept the call.

In 2004, when the Paramount Ruler of Onna, Edidem Akpabio Udo Ukpa was to hand him his certificate as Village Head, he recorded a first in the history of Awa.

He was the first Village Head that is the direct descendant of a Village Head and a Clan Head. Moreso, for the first time in the history of the area, his elevation to the throne was without a tussle. The people were the ones that insisted that he became their village Head.

An encounter with Etebom Raymond Inyang will cause one to ask several questions about his life style. Chief among this is why a man would elect to a life of service and sacrifice without asking for any benefits. His answer usually is that  God has blessed him with ideas to do things that can change the lives of people and he has to do it for his own people.

Another question is why he left America now for the job of a Clan Head and he says “For the sake of my people  I am returning home fully. I have left a thriving Accounting firm in USA for this purpose. I will rather do this than allow persons who will do nothing to help them take the position of Clan Head. Coming back home is costing me a lot of money but I am doing it for my people”.

This is what drives the first Clan Head of Awa Afaha; service to the people; he wants to ensure they have food on their tables, get education and free them from oppression. Some of the principles of quality living Etebom Inyang wants to see in his lifetime is that every citizen of Awa Afaha has access to education, so that even the traditional institution can have educated people running it. It is his belief that when people are educated they won’t be enslaved by money.

He wants to push for the re-invention of the traditional institution, so that there will be basic criteria like education for persons who want to contest election to any traditional stool. Etebom Inyang insists that when educated, honest people mount the throne, they will bring development to their areas.

May God grant His Royal Highness, Etebom Raymond Inyang the grace to accomplish all his plans for the people of Awa Afaha, amen.

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