This time around, it was a memorable event that will stand the test of time as Chief (Dr) Leemon Ikpea once again celebrated his parent’s exits cap with ALIF humanitarian gifts. On this day, his well-wishers, friends and associates in the business circle, Ambassadors of different countries to Nigeria, Publishers of note, Permanent Secretaries of Ministries of foreign affairs and several other dignitaries from all walks of life, gathered together at the exquisite bespoke marquee tastefully decorated purposely for the special occasion in his Country home at Ewatto. Guests were lavishly treated to the continental dishes and assorted wines symbolic of the elite tradition.
After the master of ceremony Mr Gordon, the Comedian, tipped off the event, Chief (Dr) Leemon Ikpea graciously moved round each table hugging and exchanging banters with all the guests before he finally took his seat. While responding to speeches and key notes addresses made by guests, said he was grateful to everyone who in their spare time put the event together for him and has promised to dedicated his time and strength to serving humanity especially anywhere he sees injustice and ardent poverty.
Speaking during the occasion, Chief Ikpea thanked God for protecting their lives (His Family) and bringing the family through very difficult times to where they are today. He also thanked God for the ability he has given to them to share with others who are in need. In his words, he says; “success that is not shared with others is failure” as there is love in sharing.
The Adolor of Ewatto said the Ikpea foundation is not just about giving money to people. Rather, it is the Ikpea family’s little way of helping people that are in real need and the Ikpea family is doing that with sincere hearts. He said, the foundation is a humble gesture to identify with the less privileged in the society, in other words, those who walked in the same path that they (the members of the Ikpea family) walked many years ago when things were very slow with the family. He continued by saying they know what it meant to be hungry, for a child to yearn to have education in spite of his or her brilliancy but not to have the funds etc. (because they went through it all). The Adolor recalled that many times they were sent out of school for non-payment of school fees and during those times, their parents felt the pains.
Mr Irabor, member of the board of trustees, was up in high spirit as he ensured that his prying eyes catches all the guests who strolled in that afternoon. It was a day of the cream de la crème in the society especially those who admire his Chief (Dr) Leemon Ikpea’s life as a philanthropist.
ALIF in its third year, Mr Irabor cont.: "we have touched many lives through: financial support to forty four widows and twenty artisans to establish small businesses; scholarship awards to three hundred and eighty four students, across various universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and secondary schools in Nigeria; bursary awards to some law graduates to augment their expenses in law school; and annual youth football event aimed at opening career paths for those that exhibit outstanding football talent."
Other areas of intervention by the foundation includes: donation of 14 - seater Toyota ‘Hiace’ buses to some secondary schools; donation of relief materials to internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps at the height of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria; mentoring programs organized for our youths in various schools; free medical treatment and health talks in various communities; and payment of monthly stipend to over one hundred and forty people; including, footing an all-inclusive flight, passage and hospital bill of eight people to India, two to Israel, and two to the United Kingdom.
"Let me say that the achievements listed above are not about how much we have done, but how much love the foundation has put into the things we do. If I have to borrow words from the founder and my mentor, Chief Ikpea, "we are doing all we are doing to the glory of Almighty God." "And because God is infinite, how much we do as a foundation is not as important as the love we put into what we do," Mr. Irabor expressed.
His appeal: "we therefore wish to implore everyone here present today, no matter your status, let us begin to show love and care to the needy and the less privileged, starting from those in our immediate environment. But today, ALIF's activities have been extended to almost all states in the southern part of Nigeria. Efforts are on top gear to extend our tentacles to other parts of Nigeria. Love must begin at home.
Since the Launch of the ALIF, the word is on the lips of the old and young. The market women have sub-consciously composed various songs with Chief (Dr) Leemon Ikpea as their savior, the God sent, emancipator, the redeemer, change agent etc. He has also won hearts of the communities across Esanland through his focused rural transformation programmes, as he builds several multi-purpose halls and churches scattered around communities in Esanland.