Kammonke Abam is the CEO of Profiles & Biographies, a biographical and supplemental information management company. His firm specializes in publishing biographies and has published the biographies of the legendary Margaret Ekpo, George Akume, MD Yusuf, among other notable Nigerians. The firm also publishes the annual Contemporary Who’s Who in Cross River State. Recently, our correspondent talked with him over the four commemorative books to mark Cross River State’s 50th anniversary in May, this year. He shared details of the books and awards earmarked for the anniversary.
Q: Tell us about the 50th anniversary of Cross River’s statehood
A: On the 27th of May, 1967, Nigerians were woken with the cheery news that 12 states have been created from the four previous regions of Nigeria and one of such states was the South Eastern State with headquarters in Calabar. That is the beginning of the journey of what today is Cross River State. From then till now, a lot has happened which we need to thank God for, and celebrate about.
Q: Why is your firm in the fore front of these celebrations?
A: First and foremost, I am a proud Cross Riverian. Second, I have the privilege of living and doing business in Cross River State over the past 23 years. These years have been eventful. There have been many highs and lows in the State. Above all, my business is about story telling and I count myself privileged to be part of those to tell the story of the state at such an auspicious time. I also feel very fortunate to be alive to witness and share in the moments of this anniversary. Turning 50 is a watershed in anyone’s life and I think it is no less for a corporate entity like Cross River State. That is why we are in the forefront of the advocacy for the drums to roll and the glasses to clink.
Q: How about government? What is government planning to do?
A: I guess government will certainly mark the event its own way. This anniversary is too gargantuan for government not to mark it. Am not in government to say what the mind and thinking of government is, but am certain that it has its plan to mark the anniversary.
Q: Would there be some point of convergence?
A: Sure. Both government and private sector operators where I belong have the good of the state as the foremost consideration. We are both committed to contributing to making the state better. At whatever point government wants us to work together, we’d be good to do that.
Q: So what exactly are the activities lined up to mark the anniversary?
A: We have a couple of simple and inexpensive ideas to mark this anniversary. The top of the range ideas include documenting the stories of men and women who have contributed to shaping the 50-year history of Cross River State in a compendium called Patriarchs and Makers of Cross River State. This book will feature stories of those who fought for the creation of the state right from 1967. We have patriots like Brig. U. J. Esuene, Dr. Okoi Arikpo, Chief I. I. Morphy, Justice Udo Udoma, among others. Most importantly, this book will serve as a platform to unveil some of the unsung heroes and heroines who fought and served the state gallantly as teachers, farmers, businessmen and women, military personnel, clergy, bureaucrats, etc. The book project is designed in a manner that families will share stories of how patriarchs and matriarchs from their families contributed to the development of the state in their peculiar ways.
We are also galvanizing a multi-sectoral collage of ideas from a team of 50 experts and key stakeholders on how to harness the huge resource base of the state and present it in a book titled, The Future Now: Cross River State in the Next 50 Years. This is meant to set agenda for the development of the state in the next 50 years. 50 experts from varied backgrounds will share their ideas, views and perspectives of how the state can consolidate its dream of statehood in the next 50 years.
We are also publishing a special compendium on young leaders titled, “Tomorrow’s Leaders: Young People to Watch”. It is a compendium of profiles of young people who are not more than 35 years old but creative and innovative and have potential for leadership. They are the ones, we hope, would take over the reins of leadership in the future.
Our firm is also publishing a special coffee table pictorial book to celebrate the aquatic and terrestrial splendor of the state titled, “Still So Beautiful at 50: A Pictorial Portrait of Cross River State”.
And the big one, we plan to organize a major award to acknowledge and celebrate people who have made extraordinary contributions to the development of the state in the last 50 years in an awards event called the Legacy Awards. The process will be audience participatory. Award recipients will be nominated and voted for by the public. The awards cover all categories in the different sectors of life.
Finally, we will host a conference to discuss and evolve strategies to successfully take Cross River State to the next 50 years. The 50th Anniversary Conference would be a daylong conference. The event, to be held in Calabar will provide an open forum for the public to discuss the statehood—past, present and future. It is also in this event, the books will be presented.
Q: When would all the activities take place?
A: Plans are already upbeat. There is a committee working assiduously to ensure things work out very smoothly. Already, we have gone far in the planning of the activities. The key ceremonies will hold in May, 2017.
Q: Who are the key people involved in the project
A: we are partnering with government and some media institutions in and outside the state. More than that, we have a huge number of people volunteering in one area or the other. As many people as are willing to be part of this are welcome. By this I mean, everybody living and doing business in Cross River State as well as the friends of Cross River State should get involved. At the level of organization, we have a strong team of young, bright and energetic men and women who are driving the process. We also have some people of goodwill who are propelling us to go on from behind. Some of them do not want public acclaim but they are supporting us financially and morally.
Q: Are you partnering with any organization to do this?
A: Sure, we are. We are in partnership with some government agencies whose work interfaces with ours like the Ministry of Information and Orientation. We also partner with some media establishments such as Cross River broadcasting Corporation (CRBC), Radio Nigeria Canaancity 99.5 FM, and one of the state’s biggest social media start up, Calabar Blog.
Q: How about sponsorship?
A: We made pitches to some corporate organizations. Some of them responded and expressed a deep desire to be part of the celebrations and we are still talking with them on how best to come in. The project holds amazing benefits. They include: Logo recognition on our website, Link sponsor’s website to our website, recognition on all printed materials, media promotion and advertising, Placement on all 50th Anniversary email blasts for sponsored event, Logo placement on all social media efforts, Logo placement on all event materials including media communications, Inside cover full page advertisement in the 50th Anniversary Souvenir Book, VIP tickets to the event.
Members of the public who have stories can send via email to email@example.com or in the project website, www.crossriverat50.com.ng