By Helen Udofa/Ossom Asaka/Bassey Nkponam/Uduak Akai/Edidiong Obot/Victor Essang/Abraham Akpabio
As Akwa Ibom first lady, Dr Martha Udom Emmanuel, marks her 2022 birthday anniversary today, the people of the state have described the governor’s wife as one personality who has been a bastion of hope to families in the state.
A cross section of the people, who spoke with our reporters earlier in the week, among them the commissioner for information and strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong; commissioner for education, Mrs Idongesit Etiebet; speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Aniekan Bassey and senior special assistant to the governor on Small and Medium Enterprises, Mrs Janet Amba, posited that Dr Martha Emmanuel is an exceptionally good and humble woman who has, over the years, been monumental in her support to the state governor in humanitarian services and delivery of good governance to the people of Akwa Ibom and beyond.
Speaking in glowing terms about Dr Martha Emmanuel, the commissioner for information and strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong, said, “We in Akwa Ibom are excited with what God has been able to use the governor’s wife to do in our state.
“It is not just the building of houses for the widows that counts. For me, it is the manner of delivering the houses to the widows.
“You see a first lady who hugs without the fear of ‘they are not my class’, no fear body odour or nothing.
“When you see her in the midst of lowly people, away from the fact that you know her, you will not know that she is the one.
“Away from the houses, I think the greatest achievement of Dr Martha Emmanuel in the last six years is her very strenuous fight to restore the dignity of womanhood,” Barr Ememobong added.
The commissioner, who was enumerating the various achievements of the governor’s wife since her assumption of office, described Akwa Ibom first lady as one whose life is about giving to people, noting that Akwa Ibom people are lucky to have her as their first lady.
The commissioner for education, Mrs Idongesit Etiebet, in her submission described the Akwa Ibom first lady as an exceptionally good and humble woman who, through her numerous empowerment programmes, has raised the bar of hope for many families in the state.
“Her Excellency is directly responsible for the annual payment of tuition fees for over 150 Akwa Ibom students in tertiary institutions across the country for years running. The back-to-school programme of FEYReP has witnessed massive investment in the educational pursuits of the over 200 hitherto abandoned children in the Divine Children’s Home, with over 80 of them currently in different boarding schools across the state. 40 of them are in higher institutions, while 32 sat for the 2021 WAEC examination,” she stated.
Etiebet lauded Dr Emmanuel’s pet project, Family Empowerment and Youth Re-orientation Path Initiative (FEYReP) for so far handing over more them 60 well-furnished houses to widows across the 31 local government areas of the state, adding that the first lady has equally played a great role in the political inclusion of Akwa Ibom women, a development she noted has seen women in the state occupying unprecedented positions in elective and appointed political offices at the state, local government and ward levels.
“Just a month ago, over 170 women were feted with financial packages and other empowerment packages in my local government area, Oruk Anam. Same has been replicated in other local government areas,” she stated.
The speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Aniekan Bassey, said the governor’s wife could best be described as a valuable jewel, adding that her inherent virtues are the embodiment of the Biblical virtuous women.
“As she celebrates 52 outstanding years of God’s faithfulness in her life, I am grateful that a greater part of these years have been used to deliver valuable services to humanity. Her selfless services to Akwa Ibom women, children and the vulnerable constituencies in the last six years though her pet project, FEYReP, have been unparalleled,” Bassey opined.
(Turn to pages 12, 13 and 15 for other reactions).