Prince Mendy Archibong, a lead aspirant for the Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara federal constituency, Akwa Ibom State.

By Abasifreke Effiong

Last week, we unveiled Prince Mendy Archibong, a lead contender for the Ikot Ekpene federal constituency seat in 2023. Speaking on his plans for the people of Ikot Ekpene federal constituency whom he seeks to represent in the green chambers, Archibong said he is coming to create more wealth, end extreme poverty especially among women and youths. He said specifically that if elected to the national assembly, he will create sustainable wealth, raising 600 millionaires in four years through enterprise.

“I will be intentional about creating wealth. In two years of working with my people through the Prince Archibong Life Foundation, PALF, they have told me what they want – they want self-sustaining businesses that will put food on their tables for a life time. If I am given opportunity to serve them, I will create 150 small scale entrepreneurs every year.”

He explained that, the focus of his constituency projects would primarily be wealth creation. “I will network with government MDAs, international NGOs and donor organisations to train our people on business ownership and management, and I will get money for them to start, or expand. Our state government has done well in hard infrastructure, it is time to build more human capital”, Prince Archibong said.

Prince Archibong is not a typical politician, he is a respected business man. Politicians think of empowerment – a form of hand-out cash or equipment given to people whose needs and capacity were not previously assessed, – Prince Archibong believes in wealth creation.

Ikot Ekpene federal constituency: I'm coming to create wealth - Prince Archibong Residents of Nto Abasi Uko/Nto Ekpu Nyanyaha in Obot Akara fetching water at a community water facility which was dysfunctional for 11 years but recently rehabilitated by Prince Archibong Life Foundation.

When people make promises, the right thing to do is to check if they have the capacity to fulfill that promise. This is what the electorate should always do. Political promises should be interrogated and assessed aside-by-side with the candidate’s track record. Prince Archibong has a track record of modesty, a track record of community service and human capital development, he has a track record of pointing his friends and people around him to business ideas and opportunities they may not have seen and helping them make money with those ideas and opportunities, he has a track record of helping start-ups – from needs assessment, business registration, training, provision of seed capital, connecting them with suppliers and consumers, and with business expansion plan.

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The story of Archibong’s rising to prominence through 30 years of hard work and dedication as a serial entrepreneurship is inspiring. It is a story of determination, focus, resilience, and enterprise. He said he rose from being a scrap scavenger to becoming a billionaire.

He said, “There are some people we shouldn’t neglect. You see all those boys who go about picking scraps? That was how I started. From picking plastic scraps from the dustbins, I was able to gather and send them to companies. I watched how the companies handled the scraps from start to finish. I had a vision that someday, I would be like those companies. So, I managed my resources with focus. That was how I was able to grow to where I am today.”

Prince Archibong is keen about entrepreneurship. He believes that if private individuals can support the industrialization programme of Governor Udom Emmanuel by encouraging and sponsoring youths who are not employed on skill trainings that will arm them with the requisite know-how to render services to the industries in the state; the state’s per capita will ramp up exponentially within the shortest possible time and thousands of households will be lifted out of extreme poverty.

Recently, while addressing members of his community who will benefit from his next phase of community intervention which will cover scholarship, business capital, skill acquisition programmes, Archibong said he desires to build a cluster of entrepreneurs, reduce youth unemployment, improve rural commerce and alleviate poverty. While admonishing the youths to discard the mentality of spending money on frivolities, he said every young person who aspires to make success must cultivate an attitude of investment.

“I believe we can use the little money God has blessed us with to make great impact; we must not spend money on frivolities, if you must succeed as an entrepreneur. I believe in entrepreneurship. Anyone who seriously seeks financial independence, must make it an attitude to invest, you don’t spend. Invest and protect your investment”, Archibong said.

This serial entrepreneur and Managing Director of Good Time Paint and Allied Industries Limited, is currently putting up a structure to train at least one youth each from the 74 villages of Obot Akara on businesses of their choice. He is supporting other micro-businesses, indigent students in Ikot Ekpene and Essien Udim. Aside sponsoring skill trainings, Archibong said he is willing to put any interested youth from the state through strategic business training.

Ikot Ekpene federal constituency: I'm coming to create wealth - Prince Archibong Prince Mendy Archibong presenting sample of the 2000 copies of exercise donated by Prince Archibong Life Foundation to schools in Essien Udim, Obot Akara and Ikot Ekpene local government area.

“Every business has its secret, and for anyone to succeed, he or she must learn the secret of that business first. When to buy, where to buy, whom to sell to, how to relate with customers, are part of business secrets; everyone aspiring to be a successful business persons must know the secrets governing his or her area of business. I am disappointed that many young men and women in this state go into business just because they have been able to raise enough capital, that is not the ultimate. Sadly, many of them run at a loss and lose all their capital less than two years into the business.”

“I encourage our people who have succeeded in their business to support the up and coming entrepreneurs to know the importance business secrets play in business success, else we will not be able to build strong private businesses regardless of the buffers created for such business by government”, Archibong said.

Prince Archibong says he believes in the wide investment opportunities in Akwa Ibom State and the capacity of her people to build businesses that transcends generations. Speaking on a business platform recently, he spoke about business culture of the State and inherent opportunities.

“Why many small and medium scale businesses are lagging behind in Akwa Ibom State is lack of innovation and creativity by the business owners and managers. Our business men and women should be alive with current realities in business. We should be able to change the narrative and do something new, something different from the already established ones, something useful to the society. Some people like to do businesses that would give them immediate profit. Such people don’t have the patience to wait and see their businesses grow. I think we should do away with such tendencies.”

“Young entrepreneurs in our State need more orientation on business development and customer’s relations. An average Akwa Ibom person is hardworking and sincere. The business environment is dynamic, it changes quickly and rapidly, it is not static. This is what some of our young people don’t know. I have seen that some of our people are scared of taking business risks out of fear that they may lose their capital, so they will instead prefer to stagnate on a business that is no longer in high demand, just because of comfort. Consumer’s demands are changing and the business world is evolving, we need to teach our people what I would call business flexibility and networking. Our young entrepreneurs need mentoring.

“I am happy about what the current administration is doing – the Udom Emmanuel administration has really promoted enterprise spirit through the Dakkádá philosophy. It has equally created programmes for business mentorship, an example was the AKEES (Akwa Ibom Enterprise and Employment Scheme) and the MEGP (My Entrepreneurship Goal Programme). We need multiplicity of such platforms to teach our young people about how successful businesses are ran.”

“I don’t believe that Akwa Ibom people are not business-minded or that Akwa Ibom people cannot run successful family business such that will transcend generations. They can. God has given everybody brain, it’s just an individual’s choice to put his brain to work. We have a lot of Akwa Ibom businessmen and women that are doing very well in Nigeria.

Ikot Ekpene federal constituency: I'm coming to create wealth - Prince Archibong Pupils posing with exercise books donated by Prince Archibong Life Foundation.

Permit me to use this medium and opportunity to correct one misconception that people have formed about out State overtime. Akwa Ibom is not a civil service State, it is a business State. Until we have the mentality that Akwa Ibom is a business State, we may not go far. So, we should jettison the mentality that our State is a civil service State. Meanwhile, it is not too late to change that mentality. Change is constant in every society.”

Like the ideas propagated by Governor Udom Emmanuel, Prince Archibong is coming into politics with a revolutionary orientation that would stimulate people to think business and spur them into enterprise. He said, “No civil servant or earner of monthly salary ever hit the billionaire line legitimately, but entrepreneurs walk in there with ease”. For a man who thinks and act in this direction, creating wealth, raising 600 people into the millionaires class would not be much of a task. Trust his essence.

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Beyond rhetoric, ideas, and talking about what he intends to do and what should be done, Prince Archibong is himself an example that people can create wealth through entrepreneurship. Within two year, his foundation, Prince Archibong Life Foundation has committed a little above N100 million to community development, human capacity building, and supporting start-ups. He has made these sacrifices from his business profit. We believe his promise, he will create wealth and will raise millionaires.

Next week, our we attempt to bring to fore the many community interventions carried out in Ikot Ekpene, Essien Udim and Obot Akara local government areas, nay Akwa Ibom State by Prince Archibong Life Foundation.