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My Faith in Pst Umo Eno becoming next governor motivated me to mobilize women for PVC registration – Stella Imoh

Stella Imoh, may not be a household name in Akwa Ibom beyond Eket axis and those that have come in contact with her through her empowerment initiatives using her organisations, but the dogged amazon who has a milk of human kindness flowing in her blood has done so much in touching the lives of so many women and girls in her own little way such that if quantified would be thought provoking to those that have in quantum both those around them wallow in need.

The graduate of Physics from the University of Uyo who comes from a humble background could be regarded as a woman of many parts. An activist, a counsellor, an entrepreneur, a grassroots mobiliser, a women emancipation advocate, a Minister of God and a philanthropist. She recounts in this interview with Emmanuel Uffot how her humble background emboldened her as the eldest child to begin at youthful age to fend for her siblings and assist those in need around her.
She also bared her mind on her unshaking faith that Pastor Umo Eno will be the next governor notwithstanding oppositions. According to her, this believe in the PDP flagbearer succeeding Governor Udom Emmanuel inspired her patriotic zeal and commitment to mobilise market women and others to register for their PVC to enable them vote in next year election. Through her twin empowerment group, National Value Intact Initiative and Dynamic Mothers Initiative she has assisted so many widows, boys and girls, needy mothers, the elderly and indigent students in several ways with her own personal income, Excerpts:

How far in your PVC registration enlightenment drive?

We are still on it. We are doing ward to ward. We are also into markets mobilizing market women. So far the response has been encouraging and our set out goal fruitful.

In what capacity are you doing this? Is it sponsored by the party (PDP), Chairman of Local Government, NGO or socio-political group?

None of that. It is just my own personal and altruistic way of lending my little support to the current and incoming government in Akwa Ibom state governor as well as promoting the tenets of democracy.

Since you are in Eket, has the Eket local government chairman or the party (PDP) chairman appreciated your efforts?

The council chairman saw me and what I am doing and promise to render support like assisting me with phones for us to use in transferring voter’s registration to a new unit. But that is yet to come so we are still using our phone and data for that. We are still expecting the support.

Are you an indigene of Eket L.G.A given this good thing you are doing in the local government? No I am from Ini Local Government Area but have lived in Eket since my youthful age. Although because of logistics we concentrated in Eket, but later we moved beyond Eket into other local government areas sensitizing market women on the need for them to register and participate in the next election. Ofcourse I could not fail to reach my federal constituency to talk to the women and mobilise them to register.

Do you hold any post in the party like the Woman Leader?

I don’t hold any post in the party. A little into my story. God revealed to me in 2014 December to be precise that Royalty (Pst Umo Eno) will be the Governor of this state and that I should make sure I work for him to succeed. It was like a story because I was not close to him. I never knew him I didn’t even know where and how it will begin. And from time to time, when it seems I have forgotten, God will just remind me through dream. To be candid, I didn’t attach any importance to that as I just took it as mere dream. Moreover, this is someone I do not know, he does not know me. I am not a member of his church but the consistency gave me a second thought.

So in 2020 when I had a reoccurrence of my dream on him again I told one of my friends about it and relayed it to my previous dream in 2014 in relation to Pastor Umo Eno becoming Governor, her reaction was like, well who knows it may come to pass.

Behold when he became Commissioner last year, I knew within me that my prediction will come true that he was going to be the next Governor long before he was nominated as the preferred successor.

So, what I am doing in terms sensitizing people especially women to go register for their PVC is just part of my contribution to make sure I support that course of him being the next governor with my little resources not because I have the money or I am sponsored.

When you were having these dreams pointing to the fact that Umo Eno will be Governor, did you made any attempt to meet him and revealed to him what you are seeing about him that he will be governor?

No, I didn’t, but I told some people around me emphatically that he will be the Governor of the state. But the responses I got were like, not here, it is malaria infested dream. Some even went along to bet me with money that if my dreams and prediction come true that Pastor Eno will be the next governor they will pay me. I also told my siblings and pastor. Even my biological father who has been a source of inspiration to me, has always been positive, assuring me that it will come to pass.

You are aware of the opposition against him with several court cases, has that disturbed your faith in him still becoming the next governor?

My faith has not shaken an inch. All these things he is going through I saw them coming as well and prayed for him to surmount. I am still praying for him. Anything divine is always fought by contending forces. So, I believe God is with him and he will come out of it.

Going by the passion you have for him do you belong to the Maintain Peace Movement or any of these groups supporting Pastor Umo Eno?

Yes, I have my own group. After my group formal registration and collection of certificates, I also registered with the Maintain Peace Movement in Uyo office. The name of my groups are National Value Intact Initiative and Dynamic Mothers Initiative.

How old are they and what are the goals and objectives?

I registered them formally this year but I have been holding meetings for years running. What I am trying to say is that group has been in existence for a while but I made formal registration this year. To get the record straight, the Dynamic Mothers Initiative concentrate on mothers while the National Value Intact Initiative deals with general empowerment which incorporates old people, boys and girls, street children and the indigents. So they two groups were registered separately but with the same goal of empowerment and political mobilisation.

Your group has been embarking on sensitizing and mobilizing women to register for their PVCs, how successful has it been and what is their response?

The response has been very massive. Immediately I started market to market, people will follow us to the INEC office from the market. We had meetings with the INEC officials in each LGA to ensure they take the centres closer to the people. Our appeal to INEC was due to the calls and complains we had from people the difficulties they are having in registration, and that yielded good results.

What motivated you to form these your twin pet groups?

This is a long story. I am a very passionate person having been born into a very poor home. So having gone through a lot in life to make things work for me and my siblings. I did and still do a lot of odd jobs here and there to train myself and my siblings. I discovered that we are not the only ones in this situation. So, I started extending assistance to other children around us by buying exercise books, shoes, school uniform and pen for them. I started this way back in my days in secondary and have sustained that till now. So, I have many parents and children around me especially girls I am helping. I achieved this small gesture through savings for that purpose.

I have empowered so many young ladies. Send them to school, established business for them and give back up assistance all on my own. When I look back, I discovered that so far, I have more mothers, widows and abandoned people to cater for. During the Covid-19 lockdown, I was going from house to house around me sharing food stuff on daily basis which cost me much money yet I could not even achieve half of my expectation but was able to do what my resources could carry alone. So, with the mothers I have in my care, I visualize that I should involve more women in politics. So, I started going round talking to them about the coming of Umo Eno and their response was shocking. Almost all the mothers in the villages I visited said they can’t involve in politics anymore. When I asked why, they will recount how they were almost killed because of going on campaigns for previous governors and other politicians, but nothing to show for it.

That they are not always remembered, they are used and dumped. They showed me their collapsed businesses and some with health challenges. So, what I did and kept doing in my mobilization drive was the difficult job of assuring that all will be well with the incoming Pastor Umo Eno as he will remember them. So, during my prayers on how to deal with this matter, God told me to register a group. He opened me up to different ideas on how and what to do. I was able to do that and I have thousands of mothers all over Akwa Ibom State that are my members. The idea of this group is to bring government closer to the women. I want them to feel impact of government. Beyond bringing women into politics and catering for them, I have other ideas still in the kitty I am working on which is on healthcare, market money and old people among others.

Then came the National Value Intact Initiative which was also born out of my passion for the young men and women on the street. So, the objective of this group is to bring these youths out of the street and set them up through skill acquisition training and fix them up to be good citizens of the society. I am still doing more currently to offer assistance. This month (July 2022) alone, I have supported some of them in higher institutions with school fees. I have paid house rents and provide food stuff to many and I do this on monthly basis.

Looking at what you said you have done so far in terms of empowerment especially during the lockdown. Who are your sponsors? Who finances this your project?

Nobody. I have not gotten a dime from anyone. I do all that I am doing with my business proceeds which I do a lot of savings to achieve my humanitarian goal. But I really need help. I had earlier opened bank account where I intended to request support from people, but EFCC froze that account. I never knew before. Whenever I pay in cash there, it reverted back to my main account.

I was worried for many months and became curious as the bank kept me in the dark what was going on until when I started making trouble with them that was when they told me that I need to go and register with EFCC before I can pay money into that account. I have been trying since last year. I have been going to their office in Uyo severally, have filled the requisite forms but all to no avail. The account has still not been opened.

Since you say you are doing all these empowerments all from proceeds of your business without any outside sponsors, can you tell what business you are into?

I am a trader. I’m a distributor of some products. I sell food stuffs and anything I lay my hands on. Because of my poor background since that has embolden me to strive to success in life which is God doing I have to give back to society by helping those in need like I was during my growing up. But in doing that my ideology is not to only be giving them fish but teach them how to fish.

In all these efforts, have you made any move to seek assistance and cooperation of the Ministry of Women Affairs or the Governor’s wife empowerment project called FEYREP?

Hmm. I didn’t start today. Why I decided to do it all by myself is because of the bad experience I had in trying to do that before. I met so much disappointment. It started since Governor Attah when I was very young. I had a lot of ideas on my head. A lot of programmes I conceived towards assisting people. I went to the Government House, met with the Governor then even with his deputy telling them what I have and how it can be done so it will help to reduce poverty. They were impressed. The Governor was so happy with me how small me would have such a lofty concept. I was asked to go and put it down in writing and bring. I did and was asked to submit it to a particular office which I did. But to my greatest surprise, the project was later being done by a commissioner’s wife. All five projects of mind were handled by others without my name being mentioned. I almost fainted on discovering this. I was so devastated. I thank God for my father who kept encouraging me that I will have my money to do what I want to do. So that is why since then, I do what I can do and leave the rest to God. I believe God will give me the opportunity to go closer to government so I can expand my empowerment project to reach more people.

Just like the last concluded JAMB registration, I bought 500 JAMB forms for the Ikono and Ini students quietly on my own. I didn’t involve anybody.

Like you asked before whether I have sponsors or have gotten assistance from government or any group, I have not gotten anything from anyone. I do everything with my personal income from my market business.

There is this lady that almost committed suicide. She is into daily contribution and her bank account was hacked and all the money cleared from the account. She could not face her customers who were on her neck. I personally gave her N400, 000 to pay off her customers and help her to start a new business. Her name is Loveth Achugo. I also have a widow in Ikot Ibiok in Eket here, I have been paying her house rent and feeding since 2014. You can call them to verify if you need their numbers. (Withheld). I have Uduak which I personally paid hospital bills for her operation. Not only that, I pay her rent, feed her and establish her. There is another lady that almost died of wrong medication, I got to know of it, so I took her to the hospital and paid for her treatment and she is fine now. There is Favour that was very ill and it was suspected that she is HIV patient. I quickly took her to the hospital and the prediction was correct. She and her son were HIV positive. Today, I paid a house for them to live and established the mum, and they are doing fine. They are so many. Rents, school fees, empowerment to establish business.

What is your view about the current trend of rape of minors?

My views about rape of minor. I don’t think any normal human being will applaud any rapist not to talk of a grown up man raping a minor. Very appalling to hear and know that it is getting rampant these days. I love what the wife of the Governor is doing through her foundation to curb this menace. I support those that are canvassing for a stiffer punishment like life imprisonment for culprits.

What is your view on the rising prevalent cases of domestic violence?

Domestic violence has sent a lot of women and men too to early grave. I am a victim of domestic violence. I have some women I advise about being in a toxic relationship. My advice is marriage is not a do or die affair. A divorce Ekaette is better than the late Mrs Ekaette. You family needs you alive. What I do every time is to give thanks to God for the opportunity to live. I am not better than women toxic relationships and marriages have killed. Infact, I have a package for women in toxic relationship which I will unveil when I am given the opportunity to run the Dynamic Mothers Initiative during the tenure of our incoming Governor Pastor Umo Eno. I told you I have a lot about women and mothers.

But what would you say about men that are also suffering in the hands of wives?

That is 2/10 of men. I have really studied relationships though not as a course in school but because I relate with so many people as a pastor, an activist, an advocate, an entrepreneurs and a teacher. I discovered that 99 percent of violence in relationship is caused by men.

No woman purposely goes into a man’s life with the intention of killing or doing the man evil except a woman sent by devil. I can tell you that most men are wrongly trained, highly temperamental, drunkenness, peer pressure, family vices, and some believe system and practices have made them become wild.

You may be right. But if this is a new trend, what is the cause as against what was in yesteryears?

Yes, this is a new generation where we have more lazy people than then. In those days everyone wakes up and straight to the farm. Now, there is Nigerian movies, social media, yahoo, get rich quick syndrome. People trying to be who they are not.

What is your advice to young growing up girls?

My advice to young girls, yes you are in a jet age, not all that glitter is goal. Be focused, know who you are. Trust God that he can change things for you, and make you who you want to be in life.

Your view on Women in politics. Do you think women are doing much by contesting for political positions?

Women in politics should be encourage. It’s one of those concepts I advocate and it is the best thing. I think Government should give women more chance to contest. I think women will even do better than because they have a good heart, they are peaceful and peace lovers. They are organisers, they are more calculative.

The governor’s wife has been leading the campaign against rape and domestic violence against women. How do you see this?

It is a good development and expected from a good mother. Like she always says, parents especially mothers should not hide their children that are rape victims. They should speak out, report to relevant authorities so that these people are brought to book.

Is Stella interested in going into politics by contesting for political positions in future soon?

Yes, I love politics. To me politics is an opportunity to serve the people better than you would have been doing alone. I would love to contest if God willing. It will give me the opportunity to reach out to the masses better and more than I am doing now. My interest in politics dates back to my University days. I was a student union executive.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your education, hobbies, principle in life and motivational factors?

I was born in 1979 in Calabar. I started my Primary School in St. Mary’s Primary School,

Efut Abua, Calabar. My father was not comfortable with that so he took me to Army School and when he got a job in Eket we came down to Eket and I completed my Primary 6 in QIC Primary

School. I started my Secondary School in Adiaha Obong Secondary School Eniong Offot in Uyo as a boarder. But when I was always falling sick, my dad had to change my school to

Government Secondary School, Afaha Eket.

I furthered my higher education in University of Uyo. I studied Physics. I was the Student Union

Treasurer in year 2000 to 2001. I was really involved in Campus or student politics from the start of my university to the end.

Currently, I went to read about children. I am doing a course on Early Childhood and Special
Education in same University of Uyo. I can proudly say I am a child psychologist. It is not a Masters’ Degree programme but separate first degree. I consult and educate. I am also a Resident Pastor in Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel) in Eket.

My hobbies are, reading, being around the children, studying them differently, going to church, love watching comedies, I love God and winning souls for Christ and I love straight forward and hardworking people because I am a hardworking person.

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