Tony John, Port Harcourt
Divorce is said to be on the rise in Akwa Ibom State; that is what the wife of the governor, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, says.
Despite free and compulsory education, the National Bureau of Statistics has also given a damning verdict: Akwa Ibom has the highest number of out-of-school children.
While the second verdict is in dispute, the first may not be in doubt, even though it couldn’t also be said to be an Akwa Ibom problem alone.
Thus the state heaved a sigh of relief when Mrs. Rosalyn Enefiok Essien, wife of the vice chancellor of the University of Uyo (UNI- UYO), launched two foundations: Amathy Peace Pheromones Foundation and Payforphan Foundation, to tackle the two social menaces.
While Amathy Peace Pheromones is to tackle and nip disagreements and conflicts that could degenerate into crises, Payforphan is basically to deal with welfare issues like poverty and the needs of the vulnerable group and how to alleviate them.
First Lady of the state, Mrs. Emmanuel, who was present at the launch of the founda- tions, expressed happiness that Mrs. Essien had come up with them, especially the Amathy Peace Pheromones, which she said was a welcome development today, in the face of petitions and high rate of divorce, as the foundation would be a mediator to the vulnerable that cannot afford to go to court to resolve conflicts, for peaceful and better society.
Mrs. Emmanuel commended the Payforphan Foundation for making humanitarian work easier as she pledged her support and partnership to fight for the vulnerable in the state and urged members of the public to live in peace and help the needy even without owning an NGO.
“If we maintain peace, there will be much progress in the state. I am a mother of Akwa Ibom State, both APC and PDP, and the development we are doing is for everybody not only for PDP; everyone is included and I want to use this opportunity to talk to Akwa Ibom people. Please, let peace reign. Let us stop castigating ourselves outside so that the world will look at Akwa Ibom as one state that cannot be reckoned with. Meanwhile, that is not the case. Please, let peace reign in this state, irrespective of political affiliations
“When you don’t have peace, there cannot be any meaningful development. There are so many people who are into petitions writing these days, even among siblings, every little thing, they will write to EFCC, instead of settling their disputes in the family. Divorces are on the high side now. I don’t know what is happening that spouses are no more tolerating each other and I want to believe that Amaythy Peace Pheromones Foundation will take care of cases like this.
“ I thank God because the president/founder is a professional and she will know how to advise and counsel on peaceful co-existence. We can actually settle our differences and disputes in our homes without going to court.
“There are so many orphans and poor people out there. Most times, some people can afford to help a child pay school fees or in other ways but you see them running to government. Please you don’t have to have a foundation be- fore you can help. No one person can do charity work. It is a collective responsibility and we have to do our best in our own little way to make life better for the vulnerable people in the state,” Enmmauel said.
She explained that toughing lives of the peo- ple is the greatest thing one can do on earth as such when God blesses one, they have to give back to the society.
“Now that you have come up with Payfor- phan Foundation, I have a good partner that can take some of these responsibilities off me because I cannot do it alone. You are going to make my work much easier than before be- cause I know the traffic we have at FEYReP office (Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Project), my pet-project. Thank you for coming to my rescue. I thank all other people that have one NGOs or the other for taking care of the orphans,” she said.
Rosalyn Essien, president of Amathy Peace Pheromones Foundation and Payforphan foundation said both foundations are non-profit organizations and that Amathy Peace Pheromones Foundation is committed to prompt resolution of all disputes and all forms of grievances to avert possible degeneration into violence, banditry or armed conflicts.
The foundation also holds the belief that; “If we separate quarrels, there will be no fights to separate”. She added that the foundation “advocates a win-win, cost-effective and value based conflict resolution mechanism in the settlement of disputes through non- litigation mechanism, mediation, peace building, information dissemination, social cohesion and co-operation, enlightenment programmes on peace building and dispute settlement, training/counseling on peace co-existence and peace seminars”.
Essien said while the Amathy Peace Pheromones Foundation is committed to the “entrenchment of peace across all strata of our society using a value based approach to peace building and conflict resolution”, the Payforphan Foundation is a humanitarian organization that is dedicated to alleviating the plight of less privileged persons in the society.
She said that its core mandate is the development of the human capital which will in turn propel the fulfilment of their God-designed purpose through educational attainment, skills acquisition and the provision of health services.
“I grew up as a very peaceful child. I do not believe in having so many things, I believe in giving. When you have so many things you have conflicts.
“Payforphan Foundation firmly believes that God created everyone with a purpose and that educational attainment or skills acquisition and sound health are very instrumental to the fulfilment of that purpose. Unfortunately, the lofty dreams and ambitions of many youngsters are aborted due to lack of educational sponsorship, want of skills acquisition and lack of access to health care.
“Payforphan Foundation is therefore committed to reversal of this sad trend by facilitating the educational pursuit and skills acquisition by underprivileged youths as well as the provision of health care services. Our main thrust includes Educational support and skills acquisition, psych-social support for children, provision of health care services and social re-orientation”.
The chairman of the occasion and also the state chief judge, Justice Godwin Abraham expressed satisfaction in the vision.
“I have to be here for the interest of this foundation. I am very grateful to God and I count this as privilege to be here. I can identify two things which are Reconciliation and Help. You have identified the need of the people and you want to give back to the people. I have seen foundations come and go, many people have registered foundations and many have not stayed through the course of time. I thank God because these people are not begging for bread, they have what to give to the society, so they are qualified to run a foundation.” Abraham said.
The vice chancellor of the University of Uyo, Prof. Enefiok Essien thanked everyone for coming out to witness their philanthropic work: “We thank you very much for identifying with us. What is being done today is not out of plenty but out of passion. I urge everyone to support this venture because it is a worthy venture.”