Leemon Ikpea: Giving Succour To The Indigent
LIFE is not fair to mankind. While some people go through it on dotted lines with potholes, valleys and mountains, others sail through smooth paths like roads rehabilitated by Julius Berger. The story of Leemon Ikpea, Executive Chairman, Lee Engineering Construction Company is a shining example of a man born into poverty and penury. His parents were so poor that paying school fees for the three sons in school was a major issue. Leemon was always a subject of ridicule at school in warri as he was always singled out on assembly ground for his inability to pay his school fees.
But today, it is Uhuru for the Ikpeas. They have been blessed that they feel like blessing others, especially the poor and less privileged in the society. From the ghetto in Okere, Warri, Delta State, the ikpeas now own mansions in the cities and especially Ewatto, their native land. In their attempt to give back to the society, the matriah in the family, Leemon decided to set up a foundation known as the Agbonjagwe Leemon Ikpea Foundation (ALIF). Established in November 2012, with four cardinal objectives are offering lifeline to helpless but brilliant students at all levels of education, assisting widows and gifted artisans to set up small businesses, providing access to primary health care for people living in rural communities and providing infrastructure to cushion the hardship of rural dwellers.
As at today, 44 widows, 20 artisans, 384 students have benefitted from the kind gesture of the foundation. The event a few weeks ago in Ewatto, Esan South East Local Government Council of Edo State, according to the founder, is geared towards changing lives. He said the foundation was also dedicated to the memory of their late parents, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson Ikpea who gave them so much to become what they are today.
In his speech at the occasion, Odein Ajumogobia (SAN), former Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the humiliation Leemon received at school for non-payment of school fees necessitated the setting up of the foundation. The Chairman of the occasion, going spiritual, said the Bible makes us to understand that we must honour our parents so that our days may be long. While eulogizing Leemon Ikpea, he said what attracted him to him was his integrity in business. He said when he was the minister of State for Petroleum Resources, he came across many contractors and businessmen but Leemon Ikpea’s business transaction attracted him. “He is a principled man and a man of integrity”, he said.
Reeling out the achievements of the Foundation in its three years of existence, Irabor the Executive Direction of ALIF, said the foundation has supported 44 widows, 20 artisans, 384 students(through scholarships and bursary), donation of 14-seater Toyota buses to some secondary schools, support to internally displaced persons, payment of monthly stipend to over 140 old people, footing an all-inclusive flight passage and hospital bill of eight people to India, two to Israel and two to the United Kingdom among others.
The event which took place in the country home of the Ikpeas in Ewatto attracted the who is who in the society including foreigners.
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