Who is Engr. Ben Akak? Postscript to Ogar Solomon Ogar’s Inquisitiveness

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On Tuesday 22nd December 2020, the CEO of SolomonIslandBlog made a disclosure as well as posed an enquiry about the personality of the Nigerian popularly referred to as –Engineer Ben Akak.

On his Facebook timeline, Ogar Solomon Ogar said and I quote him verbatim ‘Lately I have been reading a lot about Engr. Ben Akak and his Foundation. Please what is his mission for Cross River? Can someone please tell me a little about him?’

Despite failing to tell Cross Riverians findings from his recent numerous researches, CEO Ogar pushed to know more about Engr Ben asking, ‘Can someone please tell me a little about him?’

Whether CEO Ogar is honest or mischievous in the enquiry he posed is what I cannot immediately certify, however, while we’re yet to determine the quality of mischief or otherwise, I think he deserves some commendation for being this inquisitive, this is a rare trait amongst some Nigerian bloggers and media practitioners.

CEO Ogar who initially disclosed that ‘Lately I have been reading a lot about Engr. Ben Akak and his Foundation…’, proceeded to ask: ‘…Please what is his mission for Cross River?’ For me, there is a deliberate gap created by Ogar who has not told us the findings from reading a lot about Engr Akak… Didn’t he say he is reading a lot? (anyways forgive me, he said he’s (still) reading, when he’s done he’ll tell us… I rather think he’d have exhaust reading before asking to save us some troubles already).

I actually stumbled on Ogar’s thread which caught my attention and decided to patiently go through the reactions his comments made. This is what I garnered from both him and his interlocutors:
1. A cross section of Cross Riverians have been and are curious about the person of Engr Ben Akak;
2. Notwithstanding, their curiosity hasn’t been satisfied;
3. Responses have it that Engr Akak is a wealthy man, a philanthropist, an intending politician, keen about leadership and the like.

From #1, some persons including CEO Ogar are keen about Engr Akak. And I ask why? Is it because he’s a member of the Cross River elite class? If yes, is this how they go about itching to know about other elites? If the response is in the negative, why is there a seeming twist with Engr Akak? Are all wealthy elites in Cross River philanthropists?

According to #3, we may be able to respond to the issues in #1: are they including CEO Ogar keen about Engr Akak because he is a philanthropist? If the response is in the affirmative, I ask: is it strange in this part of the world for a wealthy elite to be a philanthropist? Restated, if Engr Akak is a philanthropist, another quandary is, is philanthropy always/merely a means to an end? If no, why is Ogar asking about a mission? If philanthropy is also born out of a goodwill for your neighbour… If a disposition of goodwill for your neighbour is a kind of service… is it not enough to say that Engr Akak is a man of service? For a man who co-founded the Margaret Ekpo Foundation fifteen (15) years ago is that not a man of service?

Putting Engr Akak’s philanthropy into context was important especially where it helps my friends Phylo Modlin Odu who mischievously informed about Akak in the following words: ‘He is a philanthropist!… na so them talk na’; and CEO Ogar who said ‘Oh my goodness. Nah so this dancer for Peregrino take enter goverment house oooo’; and my boss Ojong Agbor who observed thus: ‘He is a sudden philanthropy. All of a sudden nice guy. Mtchwww’.

Efio-Ita Nyok writes from Calabar.