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By Itoro BASSEY

Giving is not just about making a donation, as Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, said; but it is about making a difference. And for those who are generous givers, there is no regret at all. One of such persons who is making a difference with the resources God has blessed him with is Prince Emmanuel Sam, the Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel (of Akwa Ibom State) on Local Media.

Giving out heavy cash to charity had been a way of life for this Uyo-born newspaper publisher and businessman long before he joined the Akwa Ibom State government in 2019 as a media aide to the governor. Not even the not-so-friendly economic condition of the country stopped him from this path.

Prince Sam’s recent act of generosity on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, will sink for a long time in the minds of people. 26th February was the day he gave 600 sets of new, well sewn uniforms to pupils of Saint John’s Catholic primary school, Eniong Offot, Uyo local government area. It started like a joke, few weeks back, when Prince Sam took a large team of tailors and seamstresses to the school to take measurements of the pupils. On that day of presentation of the new uniforms, it was all smiles and excitement for the staff and pupils. Their joy knew no bounds.

For Prince Sam, old and torn school uniforms could dullen the morale of pupils and lower their self-esteem and academic performance. And so, as he presented the new uniforms to the headmistress and teachers of the school, he pointed out that when pupils are properly dressed in clean uniforms, their confidence and excitement to learning are usually alive all the time.

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Sam said, among other things, that he donated the school uniforms to show appreciation to his boss the governor for continuing the free and compulsory education policy in Akwa Ibom state.

But why is Prince Emmanuel Sam doing all this? Hear him: “I was a pupil of this school and I can recall that I had one set of uniform throughout my stay here.

“At some point, the buttocks of the uniform was torn and my parents patched it. So, I had a uniform that had patches of different colours.

“A torn uniform can have negative psychological impact on the child. It can affect his or her self expression in the midst of other pupils, hence, his academic performance.

“That’s why I have come to give back to my school. I am doing this in appreciation of my boss, the governor, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel who has kept the promise of continuing the free and compulsory education policy in the state.”

Prior to this, Prince Emmanuel Sam had attracted the attention of the state government to Saint John’s Catholic primary school, Eniong Offot, Uyo. That has culminated in the construction of a gatehouse, modern toilet facility and perimeter fence around the school. The perimeter fence at the least would help to checkmate the perennial flooding of the school, curtail vandalisation and theft of the school properties.

In February, Prince Emmanuel Sam,
purchased JAMB forms for select students of Eniong Offot Community.
He had told the beneficiaries that he is interested in the welfare of every single youth from Eniong Offot, his hometown; and warned them against cultism.

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“Cultism may create an atmosphere of temporal success, but the end of it is destruction. Any of you who wants to live a meaningful life in future, must begin today because tomorrow you may not have this opportunity again.”

The Saint John’s school children and the students who got JAMB forms are not the only beneficiaries of Prince Sam’s benevolence. His close friends say he has been quietly extending helping hands to people in needs. Those who know the publisher well say he has been giving generously without making any fuss about it.

Prince Sam is no doubt a motivator and an inspiration for the young people. As a prominent publisher in Akwa Ibom State, my path and that of Prince Sam have crossed several times in the cause of my professional career; never a time had he treated me or any other colleague that I know of with disdain. In his own way, he is helping to change the narratives with his dedication to the cause of assisting/helping people at a time when many just want to collect and pocket for themselves and their immediate families and not give back to the society that made them.

Prince Emmanuel Sam is sure sending a message to Akwa Ibom that it is best to be our brother’s keeper. Therefore, as my Governor’s aide of the moment, Prince Emmanuel Sam has truly demonstrated that “we rise by lifting others”, as Robert Ingersoll had said.
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* Bassey writes from Uyo

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