By Emmanuel Ndon
From Itu, the great Itu local government area in Akwa Ibom State, came some overwhelming news to convince us that there is little good left in a world so debased. Someone has taken it upon himself to make a tremendous impact on the lives of others who really desire help.
Last week, Mr. James Iniama, a renowned estate surveyor and valuer, continued with his empowerment programme in Itu when he donated fishing nets and other implements to 13 fishermen drawn from East Itam Northern zone of the council area.
This is a follow up on his economic stimulus package aimed at sustaining livelihoods and businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
At a well attended ceremony which attracted prominent indigenes of the area including the Council Chairman, Barr. Etetim Onuk, a former Secretary to State Government (SSG), Obonganwan Grace Ekong, former Commissioner for Agriculture and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), University of Uyo, Professor Okon Ansa, Commissioner, AKHA Service Commission and former National Chairman, Forum of Vice Chairmen of Local Government Councils of Nigeria, Obong (Barr) Godwin Awah and Dr IniUbong Ansa, a Lecturer in the University of Uyo, among others, Iniama expressed his love for his people and advised indigenes of the area to abide by institutional guidelines against the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Iniama’s charity began at home. During the outbreak of the dreaded pandemic, every household in his native Ikot Ayan Itam was given an undisclosed amount of money to cushion the effect of the pandenic . Restaurant operators, barbers, tailors , carpenters and other artisans received start off capital while others were empowered with relevant tools and equipment to enhance their trade.
Iniama, Chief consultant of James Iniama Consult, a foremost surveying and valuation firm, became a household name in 2007, when he contested the governorship seat in Akwa Ibom State under the platform of defunct Action Congress (AC) which metamorphosed into the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), but now pitches his tent in the Peoples Democratic Party.
Iniama, who observed that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on many in the area, said it was necessary to empower the people to be able to support their families. Filled with compassion, he also went ahead to inject economic stimulus to further provide additional support to small and informal businesses operating in the area.
Helping others and showing compassion and goodwill is never overrated. However, Iniama’s gesture at a critical time like this is seen as a welcome development and a demonstration of leadership. According to Amit Ray, “Leadership is not just some empty formulas but establishing deep connection at some levels through service, integrity, passion, perseverance and equanimity.”
As a leadership responsibility, Iniama’s gesture has gone beyond lifting the poor or ameliorating their plight. When considered that most of the beneficiaries were people displaced by incessant communal disputes involving Oku Iboku and Ikot Offiong, then the whole exercise should be viewed as not just a reintegration, but a ducky one at that.
Beyond empowerment and improving the livelihoods of beneficiaries, another colourful perspective is the fact that fish and other seafoods caught in the area would become readily available and cheap for the consumption of locals and natives.
Before his intervention, Mr. Iniama had decried a situation where fishermen from Itu were being equipped by strangers to fish for them only to be rewarded with a few fishes in return. With such arrangements, fish is sold cheaper in other places than Itu where the fish is caught. Mr. Iniama described such a situation as modern slavery which had to be stopped if fishermen in the area were to make any meaningful progress – and he lived up to expectation.
Iniama is not new in philanthropy; he has also provided scholarship awards to students particularly those from poor backgrounds. During the last exercise, He assured the people of his continued assistance and support to others who may not have been captured in this phase of the programme. What is required now is for beneficiaries of this life saving programme to employ every tool provided as effectively as possible to achieve desired objectives.
As noted by various goodwill messages at the event, other well meaning individuals should emulate this philanthropist to better the lives of millions of the down trodden.
For James Iniama, there is no surprise about his kindheartedness. His long held dream to uplift a vast majority of our people has become a permanent feature of his life. This, given the fact that the pandemic is global in nature and affects every part of the state, there is every likelihood that his benevolence would expand to other parts of the state.
Iniama’s passion for service has remained a driving force in his quest for leadership. One of the best ways to develop an economy is to invest in the people and strengthen businesses as it’s done by Mr James Iniama. Targeting the vulnerable in the society, who are the drivers of our local economy for empowerment is a commendable development strategy. This is how Amit Ray presents a leader of Iniama’s status; “A compassionate leader always feel motivated to bring happiness and relieve the suffering of customers, investors, suppliers, employees, government and the communities.”
James Iniama fits the bill.
James Iniama, indigene of Ikot Ayan Itam, Itu local government area is an Estate Surveyor and Valuer; Fellow of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, and a 1980 graduate of Estate Management of the University of Nigeria,Nsuka.
Iniama is a widely travelled Christian business man, married and is blessed with amazing children.