The Permanent Secretary, Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Aniekpeno Mkpanang, on Tuesday, debunked the news peddled in some quarters that he is dead after a serious health hazard, insisting that he is very much alive.
Mkpanang was rumoured to have died after news of his sickness went public in December 2018 by various social media operators and some people.
But speaking during a thanksgiving service to celebrate God for sparing his life from a debilitating health condition in his country home, Ikot Akpa Nkuk, headquarters of Ukanafun local government area of the state, Mkpanang recalled that even though he was close to death while he was sick, God miraculously saved his life.
“The same instrument of dissemination that told them that I have died will also tell them that Aniekpeno is not dead but alive. There was a day I thought that I would die, but God was in control,” he said.
Mkpanang who sobbed while he was testifying narrated how he left Nigeria on November 15, last year for Zurich in Switzerland to defend his Ph.d dissertation on International Event Management to aid him in arranging and planning the yearly Akwa Ibom Choir Concert usually sponsored by the state government.
Interpersing his touching testimony with spiritual songs, he recalled “On completion of my dissertation, I left for London to discuss and invite a gospel minister to the December 2018 Choir Concert. As I was heading to London on a three-hour journey (8-11p.m), I felt a sharp pain on my rght abdomen. I endured the excurciating pain.
According to him, “I later boarded train enroute London. As we were going, I decided to stop over at a point not knowing that the railway workers in that town were on strike. I was helpless that I did not understand what actually happened. I stood in the freezing weather for hours until a lone taxi cab came about 2 a.m. It was God who brought the man. At that unholy hour and freezing weather, it was inexplainable why the man left the comfort of his house to hit the lonely road.
“I flagged down the driver and he stopped and picked me to a hotel in London. I struggled alone for three hours in pulling my heavy luggage and climbing instead of using the lift. Yet, the pain intensified. I stayed in the hotel and was almost motionless. I could not see the gospel singer due to the ailment.
“After some days, I decided to leave for Istanbul in Turkey via Lagos in Nigeria. I missed the terminal point to the airport severally due to the sickness until I could locate it after several hours. As I landed the airport, a kind-hearted Nigerian looked at me and asked “It appears you are not well?” I said “Yes.” He managed and assisted me in packing my heavy luggage and in buying air ticket for me. My name was called several times for boarding, but I did not hear because my health was deteriorating. I almost missed the flight if not one white lady who came to the lounge where I had relapsed to wake me up. She rolled my luggage into the aircraft. Later, we left for Lagos.”
“Along the way, some air hostesses were observing me. They changed my seat number from 4b to 1b seat. As we were heading to Lagos, my health worsened. Twenty minues later, I passed out not knowing what happened again. The pilot had to make an emergencgy landing at Malta Airport. I was brought out, put in a waiting ambulance and moved to the hospital. Without much ado, the doctors scanned and told me that I had 15 minutes to live. Without wasting time, they operated on me. I stayed in the hospital for three weeks. I did not know I had a ruptured appendix. In fact, they wanted me to stay for another three weeks, but I objected. I had to sign a medical paper against doctors’ instruction in Malta.
“In protest to return home to attned Akwa Ibom Christmas Carol, I refused to eat for one week. They airlifted me on December 14, 2018 in an air ambulance to Lagos and Akwa Ibom State. I never knew that the worst was coming. After the Akwa Ibom Christmas Carol, my health failed abysmally. I was bundled into a car enroute Akwa Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo where the doctors battled for more than 10 hours to save my life. I thank God that He spared my life. Today I am alive,” Mkpanang concluded with sobs and spiritually lifting songs.
Mkpanang extolled the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel for his humane qualities which aided his speedy recuperation from the health mishap.
He particularly thanked the governor for the frequent calls he made to him in the hospital in Malta to ascertain his state of health and the visit he paid to him and prayers he offered when he returned to Akwa Ibom.
The Permanent Secretary also thanked Emmanuel for extending his appointment even after his retirement as a permanent secretary for two years as well as the governor’s wife, Martha whom he said visited and spent hours with him in the hospital praying for his quick recovery saying these gestures helped in his quick recovery,
He thanked the men of God especially Dr. Sunday Mbang, a one-time Prelate of Methodist Church, Nigeria; Primate Emmanuel Udofia of The African Church; Arch-bishop Udeme Simon and wife; Bishop Ahaziah Umanah and Apostle Gabriel Nkenang and wife of the Word Tabernacle, Uyo, among other ministers of the gospel and various prayer groups that prayed for him and also graced the event.
Earlier in his sermon, Apostle Isaiah Issong preaching on the topic, God’s Special Blessings, had mentioned longevity, prosperity and posterity as God’s special blessings, thanking God for sustaining the life of Aniekpeno Mkpanang.
The event was held at Chapel of Goodness and Mercy in the country home of the celebrator.