DR Mrs Martha Emmanuel’s Shelter Of Hope: an indelible legacy of the Udom Emmanuel administration
Dr Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel’s reign as First Lady of Akwa Ibom State has had very many highlights.
It has been a stunning highlights reel since 2015.
From the exhibition of her unwavering faith in God, to being a pillar of support for her husband, His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel, her humility, her love for Akwa Ibom people especially the downtrodden and several other noticable endeavours, our First Lady has stood out as a gold fish. These highlights would definitely serve as a reference point to future First Ladies in the state.
One of the highlights of the Dr Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel’s reign that is always on my mind is her ‘Shelter of Hope’ project.
Hundreds of Akwa Ibom people have been given ultramodern shelters facilitated by Her Excellency.
Most of the homes are built from the scratch while few others are outright renovation and furnishing.
I recall sometime in 2016, information got to Her Excellency that legendary highlife music maestro, Etubom Rex Williams was facing a torrid time in his home in Etinan Local Government Area.
Etubom Rex was the rave of the moment in his heydays. He gave so much joy and fun with his musical talent. Songs like ‘Ekod enye Jesus’, Ikot nnyin emedi, Se owo ananam etc were hot tunes back then.
Then life literally happened to him. Ailments associated with old age closed in, and Etubom Rex Williams spent quite a fortune in medical bills. His abode which was long due for renovation suffered as his health was prioritized.
The legend had to live in a very pitiable condition in his home until Her Excellency’s intervention.
Upon realizing that the house could be conveniently refurbished and re-equipped, the ball was set in motion. Within weeks, a beautiful spectacle was unveiled much to the delight of Etubom Rex Williams, his family, friends and Etinan in general.
The music legend used ample time to thank God for using Her Excellency and the husband, His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel, to salvage his dire situation. He then thrilled attendees with plenty melodious tunes.
The Shelter of Hope project is under the
Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Programme (FeYREP) which is the primary pet project of Her Excellency. Under FeYREP, destinies have been shaped, lives changed and future guaranteed. Shelter being one of the basic necessities of life is an integral part of FeYREP.
Etubom Rex Williams is just one in a very long list of beneficiaries of the ‘Shelter of Hope’ scheme.
The scheme is just a personal endeavour of Her Excellency since the Office of the First Lady does not have constitutionally backed budgetary allocations.
Of course, the legion of smiles put on faces through the schemes is much.
I recall the case of Mrs Ofonime Harrison at Akpan Essien Street in Uyo Local Government Area. She was trending on social media as a homeless woman who lost her husband and 5 children within one year.
Having been thrown out of the matrimonial home, she erected a nylon shed by the road and squatted within.
Windstorm later blew off the shed she managed to put up with her lean resources.
Upon being briefed, Her Excellency swung into action by immediately sponsoring her medical treatment at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.
While at UUTH, the first lady facilitated the construction of a two bedroom bungalow well furnished with modern home furnitures and appliances.
Her Excellency did not stop at donating the building; she announced disbursement of full scholarship to the two surviving children of the widow.
Without exaggerating, it is on record that no month elapses without someone smiling home to a donated house built by Her Excellency. Beneficiaries are in droves of hundreds.
It is a glittering antecedent which she hopes to sustain even beyond her reign as first lady of Akwa Ibom State.
At a recent event, she asserted thus: “talking about sustainability, by the Grace of God, it (FEYReP) will go beyond 2023.”
A trip down memory lane shows that all what she has achieved so far in FeyREP is guided by the founding philosophy of the scheme.
“I have always wanted to touch lives.
By God’s special grace, with FEYReP, lives will be transformed while smiles and happiness will return to homes that never believed it will”, she stated during FEYReP’s launch on September 21, 2015.
When the achievements of the Udom Emmanuel shall be reeled, Her Excellency’s contributions will definitely occupy plenty chapters. Long may it continue.
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