By Chioma Onuegbu
Pioneer First Lady of local government administration in the country, 107-year-old Mrs Mbakwo Umoinyang, has gone blind with her home collapsing, while she requires a wheelchair to be in motion.
A philanthropist and politician, Mr Ezekiel Nya-Etok, who put together a birthday party for the centenarian at Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, penultimate Friday, said the home of her deceased husband, first chair of local government administration in British West Africa, now Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, in Ikot Obong Edong, Ikot Ekpene, was on its last legs.
He solicited the assistance of Akwa Ibom State government and good-spirited citizens to provide shelter for the ex-first lady, saying “the widow’s neglect by the same society she once served well informed my decision to open an Access Bank account for her to encourage people to contribute towards providing her shelter and a wheelchair.
“I am here today to join in the celebration of longevity. The international community should also join in the celebration of this woman, Madam Mbakwo Umoinyang, who with her husband contributed to the experimental local government administration in Africa. This family should not be forgotten.”
Speaking at the event, the family head, Mr Ekerette Ebienye, thanked God for the gift of long life given to Mrs Umoinyang.
He expressed gratitude to Nya-Etok for facilitating the birthday celebrations, especially for the efforts towards providing her with a decent home, a responsibility that he said the federal, state and local governments would have done but failed to do.
Similarly, Madam Umoinyang’s grandson, Mr Keresifon Essien, while lauding Nya-Etok for the efforts towards ensuring that help comes to her forgotten and elderly grandmother, regretted that Ikot Ekpene chair showed less concern to the event despite the fact that they officially invited him to the event.
His words: “What Nya-Etok wishes for our family today will also be his portion. Today, my family and I signed into his governance ideology as ambassador. This is the kind of ideology that will affect the grassroots directly; it is worthy of adoption.”
Responding whilst cutting her birthday cake, the centenarian thanked all her well-wishers for the care and love shown to her while she is still alive and particularly prayed God for long life for Nya-Etok.