mamaElder Mrs Mary Asuquo Ekanem was born on the 21st day of January 1940, to the Royal family of Etinyin Oyo-Ita in Okoroba Oyo-Ita, Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State.

Mary started her primary education at the Church of Scotland Mission (CSM) School in Ikot Nakanda, Akpabuyo Local Government Area, from where she proceeded to Duke Town Elementary School in Calabar. She then enrolled for her secondary education at the prestigious Holy Child Girls Secondary School, also in Calabar.

After completion of her formal education, Mary joined the Inland Revenue Service (then Board of Internal Revenue of former Government of Eastern Nigeria) in 1964. With consistency and dedication, she served the establishment meritoriously until her eventual retirement from service as Principal Revenue Officer 1 on 17 April 1999.

A devout Christian and a committed Presbyterian, Mma May, as she came to be known later in life, made the church the centre of her life. Within the Presbyterian family, she had served in virtually every segment of the church including serving on two occasions as President of the Women’s Guild of Esin Ufot Efut parish; longstanding Bible Study and Sunday school teacher; Pioneer Mother of Christian Girls In Training (CGIT), Esin Ufot Efut parish; Church Prayer Band member; Chairman Parish Marriage Committee, as well as Parish Treasurer for several years. She also served as Chairman, Parish Welfare Committee, a role which accorded her the opportunity of maintaining close and personal contacts with individual members of the parish and their families.

Together with her dear husband, Elder Mrs Ekanem, was founder member of Esin Ufot Efut parish. As an influential chorister since formation, and as a former President of Presbyterian Young People Association of Nigeria (PYPAN), Elder Mrs Ekanem held fond attachments to the church choir and remained until her death a Presbyterian youth at heart.

In the larger Christian fold, Elder Mrs Ekanem was a strong and committed member of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), Cross River State chapter, and the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN), Efut auxiliary. At the Presbyterial level, she served as Secretary, Mary Slessor Hostel Building Committee, Anderson Street, Calabar. Although not one to expect rewards for services rendered in the house of God, her positive contributions were however recognised in a number of ways; including appointment to serve as an elder of the church, and a special recognition on the 21st day of October 1995 as Pioneer Mother of the Christian Girls In Training (CGIT) and President North/South Presbyterial CGIT.

On Wednesday, 27th June 2012, Elder Mrs Ekanem attended a pre-arranged routine appointment at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. In the course of the examination, it became apparent that her vital organs were no longer able to provide her with necessary life support systems; and she passed peacefully on to eternal glory that morning.

Elder Mrs Ekanem will be sorely missed for her listening ears, open arms and sense of accommodation but her tireless counsel, motivation and support over the years will remain as bedrock for the continuous transformation of lives for the untold number of individuals who have come to regard her as Mother.

Elder Mrs Mary Asuquo Ekanem was married to Elder Asuquo Ekanem with whom she was blessed with many children and grand children.

May Her Soul Rest With The Lord. Amen.