Thursday, 23 April 2020


By Goddie Akpama 

According to Melinda Gates, "Philanthropy is not about money. It's about using whatever resources you have at your fingertips and applying them to improving the world."

The essence of the above quote was aptly demonstrated in Calabar, Cross River State, earlier this week by Mr. Ben Akak, Executive Director, Ben Akak Foundation, when the Foundation donated palliatives to the Palace of the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V, and the Nigeria Union of Journalists , NUJ, as support to mitigate the inconveniences and economic hardship caused by the spread of the Covid-19 into Nigeria.

Certainly, Akak, the brain behind the Ben Akak Foundation is not a money bag in the traditional sense of the word, more so, having not occupied any public office from where some people have made illicit wealth to the detriment of the larger society.

But for Akak, who certainly is a self-made-man, that isn't the case.

And his profile as a private citizen of Nigeria, from Cross River State has been corroborated those who witnessed his humble beginning, and venture into the uncertain terrain of private business entrepreneurship a couple of years back.

Yet, at this trying moments, where personal, corporate and national  economies have nosedived due to the Coronavirus lockdown, the Ben Akak Foundation, in demonstration of its humanitarian philosophy, still managed squeezed out water from stone to further the betterment of humanity.

As widely publicised, the Ben Akak Foundation donated N500,000 cash, and foodstuffs to the palace of the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V, so they can reach the people at the grassroots level.

The Foundation also made some donations in similar mould to the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ,on the same day.

Worthy of note is that, while making the donations, Mr. Ben Akak urged the wealthy and privileged people in our immediate society to also join in offering a helping hand to the less privileged in the society in this most trying moments for many individuals and families.

His message is apt, and a call to the wealthy and mighty, especially the politicians in, and from Cross River State to pull out a chunk of the financial resources at their disposal to support the people in this very difficult period.

Members of the National Assembly, State House of Assembly, political appointees at the national and state levels, should toe the commendable example of Mr. Ben Akak who has shown that it is the best thing to do, and that it is possible to do so.

Now is the time for the politicians, especially the elected representatives of the people, and those appointed in stead for their communities to bring out cash, foodstuffs, medical facilities, drugs and whatever useful they can provide to support their constituents.

They must not wait for for election period in order to start distributing rice and cash to buy support and buy votes in order further the promotion of their self aggrandisement.

The politicians should know that the people are taking stock of their activities, actions and inactions at this trying moments, and would likely pay back each according to every politicians due.

For Mr. Ben Akak, and members of  Ben Aka Foundation, your efforts and support for the society are well appreciated, and would remain indelible in the sands of time because this act of philanthropy from you is without strings.

Your act of benevolence are aptly capture in the following words as noted by the great philosopher, Buddha thus: "Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted."

And, as the saying goes, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

The Ben Akak Foundation is blessed.