As her convoy drove out of the premises, it dawned on the children and members of staff of the Home that indeed it was the beginning of the end of an era. An era that has been described by many within the four corners of the Home as golden, having seen the first graduate of the Home in the person of Miss Bright Bassey Esq. Bright Bassey, a Law graduate from the University of Uyo who now works with the State Ministry of Justice, had since left the Home to further her next chapter of life; all thanks to the Eka Unwana Akwa Ibom, Her Excellency, Dr. Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel who in 2015, promised to leave the Home better than she met it. This is the story of Divine Children’s Home, Atan Offot, Uyo. A foster Home where over 200 hitherto abandoned children are being housed, clothed, fed, sent to school or trained in vocational skills by the government.
Just as Bright Bassey, many others upon completion of their secondary school education have been trained in vocational skills and empowered to start a life outside the Home, while some are currently running their programs at different tertiary institutions across the state. Truth be told, Her Excellency, Dr. Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel has played a huge role in redesigning the destinies of these ones, hence, has stenciled her name in gold in their hearts forever. But as the saying goes, “Everything that has a beginning has an ending,” so it was on Tuesday, 11 April, 2023, when the wife of Akwa Ibom Governor, Her Excellency, Dr. Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, accompanied by the wife of the Governor-elect, Pastor Mrs. Patience Umo Eno and the Deputy Governor-elect, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, together with other state government officials paid an Easter visit to the home.
It was her last official visit to the Home, so the children who have enjoyed the warmth and good motherly disposition of the outgoing governor’s wife since 2015, could not hide their deep-seated affection and love for her. From the welcome song rendition and the cultural display which were all laced with deep emotions, they poured out their hearts in appreciation to the governor’s wife for her unmatched love, care and support in the past 8 years.
Speaking on behalf of the entire children, a beneficiary and worthy ambassador of the Home, Barrister Bright Bassey, in a very tearful speech, poured out her thank you to Mrs. Emmanuel for always showing them love. “You’ve been there for us throw thick and thin. You have paved the way for us to succeed in life. You love us so unconditionally. You’ve invested so much in us. I will personally miss you so much. Thank you for all your sacrifices of love, my prayer and that of my siblings are that God will replenish you in good measure,” emotional Bassey enthused.
For the visibly elated Dr. Martha Udom Emmanuel, the visit to the Home was to appreciate the children for not just being wonderful, but respectful and obedient and to formally introduce the incoming governor’s wife, who will take over the running of the Home from May 29, saying, “my time as the mother of the Home is gradually coming to an end, so I’ll step aside for your new mother to take over.”
The First Lady, who specially thanked God for the lives of the children over the past 8 years, said the one who comes after her will surely do and even surpass all that she has done for them. While cautioning them not to indulge in behaviors that could hinder their successes, she advised that they study hard, be obedient and respectful to their teachers and caregivers and most importantly have the fear of God in all they do. She appreciated the coordinator and staff of the home for their commitment towards the children and prayed that God will reward their labor of love.
Similarly, the wife of the Governor-elect, Mrs. Patience Umo Eno, in a very brief remarks, thanked the governor’s wife for the massive investment in the children in the 8 years gone, and assured that she will do her utmost best to maintain the standards and secure thier bright future. She charged them to continue to be obedient and respectful to their caregivers.
Goodwill messages were received from the Deputy Governor-elect, Senator Akon Eyakenyi the Hon. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. Ini Adiakpan and the Coordinator of the Home, Dr. Idoreyen Ekanem.