Sunday, 14 June 2020

If we have 10 Foundations like BAF, Cross Riverians will fair better - former lawmaker

Ukorebi Esien 

A former lawmaker in the Cross River State House of Assembly who represented Odukpani state constituency, Hon. Godswill Eki has extolled the activities of Ben Akak Foundation stating that if other well meaning Cross Riverians will emulate the good works of the Foundation, Cross Riverians will fair better. 

Hon. Godswill, made this known yesterday in Calabar while addressing newsmen shortly after the Ben Akak Foundation met with persons living with disabilities and the aged in Cross River state. The ex-lawmaker explained that the gesture of the foundation across the state is second to known and worthy of emulation by others. 

He said while others seems to castigate and run away from these categories of persons, the Ben Akak Foundation has taken it upon themselves to embrace them and give them succor. This he said is rare and should be emulated. 

His words; "If we had 10 or 20 of his kind in this state, I believe the lives of Cross Riverians would have changed. I, therefore, call on well-meaning Cross Riverians to emulate what the Ben Akak Foundation is doing." He said. 

"I have been in government for years, I have served many governors and ministers for years and I have never seen this kind of thing before. Over the years people try to disintegrate themselves from these sets of persons, Nobody wants to talk to them, nobody wants to do anything with them this is the first time, a young man. Not that he is being pushed by anybody. I think he is being moved by God because it is only God Almighty that can push a man to do what he is doing now.

So it's awesome, I don't have the word to describe what is going on here, all I can say it's this is marvelous. That a young man from nowhere will decide to come and show this level of benevolence." He concluded. 

Earlier on, the philanthropist said the foundation decided to visit and donate palliatives to them in commemoration of June 12, Nigeria's democracy day, a day sacrifices were made. He said the enormous sacrifices made by Chief MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election and what he stood for propelled him to sacrifice the little he has with them and humanity.

His words: "We decided to come today to see you. As you know, yesterday was June 12, Nigeria's democracy day. a day sacrifices were made and because of that enormous sacrifice, we have decided to share our sacrifice with you.

"We know at this point, you need people with the spirit of sacrifice. Often times, people don't take you very important but you're very important.  Our foundation loves you and share in your pains especially at this difficult time and we'll be with you always".

"We are aware of the difficulties you face due to the lockdown. Most of you lost your means of livelihood but don't despair as tomorrow will be better".

Engr. Akak frowned at the tagging of old people as witches and the discrimination against people living with disability.
"Often times people don't recognise the old people because the moment you grow old, they think you are a witch. The moment you have one deficiency or one deformity, they feel there is something wrong with you. People don't naturally come to you; they expect you to come to them but as for us, we are coming to you because you are important and we love you".

He encouraged them to believe in themselves and their abilities, assuring them of the foundation's assistance in making sure they have a means of livelihood.

Receiving the items, the Coordinator of Persons Living with Disabilities in Politics, Comr. Offiong Okon thanked Engr. Akak for remembering them at this difficult time. He appealed to the foundation to join other foundations and groups to call on the government to establish national commission for disabilities.

Also speaking, Augusta Otu,
former vice president, Joint National Association of Persons Living with Disabilities - Cross River state chapter appealed to the state government to establish desk offices for people living with disabilities in each of the 18 local government areas in the state.
Mrs. Joseline Akak, wife of the founder of the Ben Akak Foundation said the foundation had been reaching out to the less privileged privately. She added that the foundation is not just for the poor but for the less privileged, motherless babies and the aged in the society. She assured that foundation will continue to meet some of the needs tabled and reach out to the appropriate authorities for the ones the foundation cannot meet