Aged women, widows and low income traders have been listed amongst beneficiaries of the Mme Ekpeyong Foundation as it opened it’s new headquarters in Uruan, Akwa Ibom State recently.
A brainchild of Larry Ettah, the immediate past Group Managing Director of UAC of Nigeria Plc, the foundation was set up shortly after his retirement in memory of his grandmother to cater for the less privileged women in rural communities in the state.
It has and will continue to provide medical outreach, including consultations and treatment, trading grants and educational support in terms of fees and other essentials according to Ettah.
Speaking at the opening of the edifice located within the very same compound he grew up under the care of his grandmother, Ettah said the foundation was in fulfillment of “a solemn obligation to reflect in our lives and deeds the values of humanity, humility and indeed hope” for which his forebearers stood.
He recalled that his grandparents – Valentine Asuquo Essien and Christina Ekpeyongawan Essien – instllled in their children and grandchildren, the tenets of service to others.
“They did this by exhorting us to be islands of mercy in the sea of indifference that may surround us. Where we see darkness, we were taught instead of swearing and cussing to light a candle”, he said.
Explaining further the circumstances under which the foundation was established, Ettah said: “In early 2018, on my retirement from UACN after 30 years of service to that company, a greater service – that of the community beckoned. I spoke with my uncle, Dominic Essien and we both decided a foundation dedicated to the memory of our mother and grandmother would be the best way to go.
“She had many nicknames given to her by peers and admirers alike, names which include; Eka Nyara, Odusu Odusu, Afia Mma, Eka Esin, Eka Kingsize, Mma Teacher, Mma Etubom, Eka Iban and my personal favourite was Eka Eka. A name which I cherish and hold dear as she was my safe harbour, my north star, my moral compass whose faith in me never wavered even when I did in myself. She called me Akaninyene (This child is more than wealth), given that when my father was abducted and subsequently became one of those that never returned during the civil war, his family scrambled for what they could appropriate as is typical in Africa forgetting the child but she took me, nurtured and cared for me became literally my father and mother rolled in one.
“It is to EkaEka that we today dedicate this House of Hope endowed by her foundation, the Mma Ekpeyong foundation.
Ettah noted that in the last three years, the foundation has undertaken intervention activities in the tripods of medical outreach and academic rewards, which are given during the annual Christmas celebration, where exceptional students in primary and secondary institutions across the various neighbouring communities are recognised and rewarded for their academic excellence.
The third leg, he said, is mothers’ trading grants under which the foundation has given two women groups – Nka Ndo Ndo and Nka Aman Isong – seed capital.
Amongst them are 125 individual members also being galvanised to support others as they leverage on cash and knowledge.
He said the building will now be foundation’s official address and physical location to all those who want to reach the foundation can access.
“It will be here that our monthly free health maintenance activities for widows and aged women will be done. It will be here that academic rewards will be celebrated. It will be here that our mothers will access their trading grants. It will be here that any other such philanthropic intervention by the foundation will be undertaken, he stressed.
In doing this the foundation is making a bold statement of intent as reflected in her motto Hope is here”, he stressed.
Members of the community expressed deep appreciation to Ettah for his selflessness and commitment to the uplifting of rural less privileged women and their families and testified to the tremendous impact the foundation’s gestures has made in their lives over the past few years.
Larry Ephraim Ettah, a long standing corporate guru, emerged as the youngest ever GMD of UAC of Nigeria Plc a company man throughout a distinguished carrier…he starred as MD of the Mr Biggs fast food sensation that is a staple in Nigerian cities till date and topped it all at 40 and suprised many by retiring early to pursue other interests apart from core business.
Notable personalities that graced the occasion in person or remotely include the Special Guest of Honor, Mr. Hakeem Oladipo Oyeneyin (Jejenuwa of Ondo ) , Otuekong J. P Efiong, Clan Head of Mbiaya Uruan and members of Old Trafford Squash Club, Marina such as Taye Ige, the Chairman; Remi Adeseun, Yomi Adeyemi, Joe Ijeh, Tunji Olaniyi, Cyril Ayemere, Tokunboh Onashoga, Dr Babatunde Lawal- Former Chief Medical Adviser of UACN Other are: Udeme Ufot, Group Managing Director of SO&U and Udom Inoyo, former Vice Chairman ExxonMobil.
Aniekan Ukpanah, Managing Partner, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, Edo Ukpong Founding Partner, CLP Legal, Chief Victor Iyanam, former AG and Commissioner for Justice, Akwa Ibom state and Principal Partner Victor Iyanam & Co, Olumide Ajetunmobi, Okon Okon Executive Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service, Otu Medo, former Head Legal, NNPC and Managing Partner, Medo and Medo Associates and Capt. Augustine Okon, former MD, ADC Airlines.
Other critical pillars of the foundation, Larry’s wife, Mrs Ekemere Larry-Ettah and son, Barrister Aseobong Larry-Ettah (Secretary/ Trustee of the Foundation) also held the ground.
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