Thompson Essien: @ 64: Today is My Day; My Birthday

I am 64 years old today (1/1/2014), full of wisdom from years of accumulated wonderful and rich life's experiences. Before I was conceived, my parents had already lost three siblings, so when I was born, everyone expected me to follow the same path---die before I could see my first birthday. A little regular fever became a source of extreme worries. My father, who was a pastor at the time, often slept next to me with a Bible over my head, constantly praying for my survival. As I reflect, I thank God for keeping me alive till this day, not to mention how wonderful he has been to me.

With all my inequities, sometimes I would wonder why God loves me so much. I thank him for the wonderful wife, for all my children and grand children, for all my friends in Nigeria, Europe, and here in the United States. I also thank God for the good health he has given me and for making it possible for me to live and add another full year onto my life.

From the bottom of my heart I thank members of my church for not hesitating whenever I go to them for their spiritual support. Last Sunday, they were the first ones to remember my birthday. I was called to the front of the church; everyone in the congregation stretched their hands in prayer for my welfare. After the prayer, I returned to my seat full of blessings, joy, and happiness; I am a very lucky man.

As the year 2014 begins today, I pledge to continue in the role assigned to me by God Almighty as the voice of the poor masses, defender of the oppressed, and a social critic. I will continue to monitor the activities of our leaders. I will not relent in my penchant to chastise them if they go astray and will pat them on the back if they perform well. I will give them wisdom if they seek it, but what I will never do is to compromise my integrity at any level.

For the year 2014, my number one task will be to do everything within my power to unite our leaders---the Ibibio leaders. I know it is a daunting assignment, but with God on our side, every effort will flow well. As a start, I am happy that God has finally instigated two of our leaders---Senator Effiong Bob and Obong Umana Okon Umana---to start the process of communicating, even if it means a few ice-breaking lines over the Internet; it is better than nothing.

I will continue to pray for our leaders, asking God to soften their hearts, burry their differences, eschew unnecessary self-importance and ego that are not of any use to the growth of Akwa Ibom people. Our leaders must unite and speak with one voice in order to be able to bring the masses along for a stronger position within an entity known as Nigeria. Any other agenda different from a solid unity will definitely crumble right beneath our feet.

I thank all my well-wishers for their time and their kindness. I thank all of them for the support they have entrusted upon me over the years. I thank all the members of IPU for their dedication. This year will be a better one as long as we continue to invoke God into all our daily activities. I wish everyone a Happy and a Wonderful New Year.

Written by
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
The Voice of the Poor Masses
City of Portland, Oregon

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Articles by Ikpafak Thompson Essien