Although, the idea of education was not known to a lot of people at that time, the young man was so intelligent and smart that he was able to read and write. After the death of his father, he had to struggle as the first son in order to make ends meet. This posed a barrier for him that he could not further his education beyond Standard 3. In spite of these barriers, he was able to fly higher than his peers.
Evidence of this could be seen in his appointment as the first Councillor of his village; Ikot Etan, and served in the Central Annang County Council. Because of his passion in educating his children, a lot of parents in the community consulted him before they sent their children to school. In fact his keen interest in education has placed almost all his children, grand-children and great-grand-children at an enviable level of education attainment as evident today.
Chief Andrew was married to Matilda Akpan (Nne Nwa-Ekpo Akpan) fondly called by her children, grand children and great-grand-children as “Nnuwo”, from Utu Ikot Ekong. He wedded Matilda in the Catholic Church in September 1926. Matilda gave birth to nine (9) children; Six (6) males and three (3) females. Only eight of them survived, one of the male children died as an infant.
Young Akpan Igwe started fighting for himself and his family early in life due to the death of his father. As a struggling man, he tried all his possible best to make ends meet. Akpan was a trader; he traded on fish and later on okporoko (stockfish). He was also a farmer and a palm wine tapper.
Chief Andrew also served as the Village Head of Ikot Etan and a Councillor in the Central Annang County Council for seventeen (17) years. He was later succeeded by his eldest son, Bernard Akpan Inyang-Etoh. He was also one of the pioneer members of Ukana East District Court.
Akpan Igwe or Ette Noah was a man of integrity. He was a counselor and a peace-maker in the village and beyond. He mixed freely with both the young and the elderly. This can be seen in the number of people who flogged-in to his compound every Uruabom and Atim market days (usen ibet ukot) in order to drink palm wine in his “afe”, which was always open to all and sundry.
He succeeded Chief Udo Udoi as Village Head and he was also the family head of Ikot Etan (now Nto Etan family). Chief Andrew was born into the royal family of his grandfather; Inyang-Etoh Etan. Inyang-Etoh Etan was the founder and family head of Ikot Etan Village, one of the eight villages of Ukana Ikot Ofok, at that time.
Chief Andrew could simply be referred to as “a man of faith”. At the age of eight (8), he was baptised in the Methodist Church, Ikot Ofok with the name; Noah. When he embraced the Catholic Faith, he was christened Andrew.
At his youthful age, he was made the president of St. Joseph Catholic Church, a post he held till death. In the Church, Etubom Andrew was a model to the faithful. In fact, his life of service and self-dedication to the cause of the Church did not go unrewarded, as he has been blessed with a son who is a Priest and later a grandson Priest. He also served in various committees and in various capacities in Ukana Parish, which comprised the Ukana, Adiasim and Akpa Utong.
Chief Andrew passed-on on the 24th October 1974, after so many years of suffering from a combination of hypertension and asthma.
Chief Andrew Akpan Inyang-Etoh is remembered today first and foremost, as a Community Leader and a man of faith.
As a community leader, he was one of the moving spirits of the then “Ekpuk Itiaita” (Eight group of Families) which constituted Ikot Ofok. The group championed the cause of unity, peace and development of the families. It is to its credit that Government Primary School, Ikot Ofok was established under the jurisdiction of the then Central Annang County Council. This group also set up a Co-operative Society which assisted petty traders and farmers within the community to obtain loan at a low interest rate to finance their trade or the education of their children.
Ikot Ofok group of villages also was the first Christian Community to set up a Christian Council which brought together the then three main Churches in the village namely: the Catholic Church, the African Church and the Salvation Army Church. The churches used to co-operate in organizing burials for members, and occasional inter-denominational worship especially to mark the end of the year.
The Foundation is instituted to provide the pioneering efforts in education of Chief Andrew Akpan Inyang-Etoh. His life history reveals that he was an orphan and could only read up to Standard 3. He could read and write in the vernacular of his days which was Efik language. Yet he had the foresight to sacrifice whatever means he had at his disposal to educate his children.
He was the first man within the community to get his first two sons, Bernard and Columba, to enroll in the prestigious Holy Family College, Oku Abak, at a time his contemporaries sent their children to P.T.C or T.T.C. to train as teachers, who could earn a salary after a year or two. Though he did this at a great sacrifice, the investment paid off handsomely. Over the years, other parents and the young men who aspired to secondary education sought his wise counsel and guidance.
Chief Andrew did not stop at educating his first two sons to secondary school level but made it mandatory for the two sons to educate their siblings at least to the secondary school level. Today, there is an established tradition in the family that everyone is everybody’s keeper in the pursuit of academic attainment.
Chief Andrew Akpan Inyang-Etoh Education Foundation is hereby instituted to keep the vision of this great man alive and to extend the fruits of that vision beyond the Inyang-Etoh family.