Prince Mendy Archibong, founder of Prince Archibong Life Foundation.
“It is only someone that loves his people deeply will do what Prince Archibong has done. Many have but cannot share. That he has chosen to share with the widows the little he has, God will bless and continue to grow in him that love for his people,” Hon. Agnes Udoewenwen, Executive Chairman, Obot Akara Local Government Area.
By Edidiong Udobia
There are circumstances in which people find themselves, that if it were within their powers, they would take themselves out of it. One of such, is being a widow. In a society where being a woman is already very challenging, the plethora of problems associated with being a widow can only be imagined. However, the agony-ridden life of a widow is not designed by nature. It is not a natural order that a woman is condemned to suffering once she loses her husband to death. Widows are victims of man’s inhuman practices.
Driven by the burning desire to help the vulnerable and less privileged, an Akwa Ibom-born Industrialist, Prince Mendy Archibong through his foundation, Prince Archibong Life Foundation, has been fending for widows in his area. The Foundation, in December 2020, had organized an end-of-year outreach to widows and other vulnerable people within Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency. During the occasion, the Foundation distributed 420 pieces of wrappers and 500 bags of rice (packed in 10kg) to widows and coordinators of the Foundation in Obot Akara, Ikot Ekpene and Essien Udim Local Government Areas to mark the 2020 end-of-year community outreach.
Prince Archibong, the Director General of the Foundation, who made the distribution in the three Local Government Areas, said the gesture was a special love from the Foundation and their little way of thanking God for His grace in the year 2020. He noted that with the Coronavirus pandemic that ravaged the world all through the year, life was even more difficult for the less privileged and vulnerable people like the widows. He noted that the community outreach was a routine exercise of the Foundation which began in December 2019 in his hometown, Ikpe Mbak Eyop in Obot Akara Local Government.
The Foundation, he maintained had launched the first community-based sensitization programme and distribution of personal protective equipment to schools and communities in Ikot Ekpene and Obot Akara to curb the spread of Coronavirus disease, distributed palliatives during the lockdown which included over 150 bags of rice, 150 cartons of noodles and beans to the 74 village heads in Obot Akara local government, ward executive of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in ward 1 and widows in the five communities that made up Obot Akara ward 1.
Prince Archibong is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GoodTime Group of Companies, which is into chemicals, manufacturing and other services. He is not only an advocate of a better life for widows but has invested his personal resources into bettering the welfare of widows and other vulnerable people. He is also very passionate about community development as evident in his numerous community intervention programmes in his hometown, Obot Akara Local Government Area and other local government areas in the federal constituency. During the December 2020 outreach, he reeled out a long list of programmes that the Foundation had undertaken in the area especially in the heat of the pandemic and future plans.
“A few months later, precisely in March 2020, when the index case of the deadly Coronavirus disease was recorded in Akwa Ibom State, we blazed the trail by lunching the first community-based sensitization programme and distribution of personal protective equipment to schools and communities in Ikot Ekpene and Obot Akara. We were the first private organisation to sponsor public health educators to go to public schools in Ikot Ekpene and Obot Akara to sensitize teachers and students on the Coronavirus disease.
“At the foot of the sensitization we distributed hand sanitizers, disinfectants, nose masks at Lutheran High School, Ikot Obong Edong, lkot Ekpene and Government Grammar School, Ikpe Mbak Eyop in Obot Akara, we also presented personal protective equipment to our royal father, His Royal Majesty, Edidem Uwa Umo Adiaka,” he said.
The humanitarian efforts of Prince Archibong’s Foundation did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Responding on behalf of the benefiting communities, the Chairman of Obot Akara Local Government Area, Lady Agnes Udoenwenwen commended Prince Archibong for the gesture, his choice of beneficiaries and consistency. “We want to thank God that people are still remembering the widows. Archibong has not forgotten the poor and orphans in his home even as things are hard globally. We ask God to replenish wherever he got it from a hundredfold and bring him back home everytime.”
“It is only someone that loves his people deeply will do what he has done. Many have but cannot share. That he has chosen to share with the widows the little he has, God will bless and continue to grow in him that love for his people,” Udoewenwen added.
Also responding on behalf of the widows, Madam Eunice Sampson, a mother of five declared the outreach was her best visitation since the lockdown was eased, adding that the high cost of food stuff had greatly affected her children. “God will surely bless him. I cannot even remember the last time i cooked rice in my house because a cup of rice here in Obot Akara is N200. For remembering forgotten widows like us, God will surely remember him,” she said.
Again, in February 2021, the Prince Archibong Life Foundation partnered with the local government chairperson of Obot Akara, Lady Agnes Udoenwenwen to empower no fewer than 30 female farmers in the area with N50,000 each as grant to assist them in their agricultural activities. As rightly admitted by Lady Udoenwenwen, the women as the major drivers of food processing and marketing, constituting 70 to 80 per cent of the labour force in agriculture in the area. The collaborative effort of the Foundation and the local government council was therefore a welcome development.
Prince Archibong, at different times, has said that the community interventions of his Foundation are to complement the efforts of the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel and wife, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel. Governor Emmanuel has made human development a key part of his policy thrust while his wife, Mrs Emmanuel, through her pet project, Family Empowerment And Youth Re-Orientation Path-initiative (FEYReP), has made noteworthy impacts in women development within the last six years plus of the administration. Inspired by the leading role of the governor and wife, Prince Archibong has assured that his Foundation will not relent in its effort to fend for and support the widows and other vulnerable people in the state.