… Says she transcends party lines
Wife of the governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr. Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) recently won the covetous award of Best Performing First Lady of the Year 2019 in Nigeria from the Sun Publishing Ltd, publishers of the Sun Newspapers. In this discourse, a community leader, the Ide Oha of Achina and Chairman/CEO Lake Petroleum Ltd, Chief C. U. Mbaji highlights some of the performances of the governor’s wife that enabled her clinch this award. He spoke to RAY UDEAGBARA. Excepts:
ON acquisition of necessary tools used to work for the needy
Right from the inception of the Obiano administration, his wife, Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano has shown that she is a philanthropist, kind, humane and caring. No doubt these exceptional attributes made her set up the pet project, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) with the sole aim of helping the vulnerable in the society, the poor, the less privileged to down trodden, the aged, widows, even the physically challenged.
Immediately the NGO was established, she got to work, visiting various LGAs, communities, villages and identifying with the needy amongst them. With her privileged position, nothing stops her from secluding herself from the people, from not caring about anyone, but that humane and philanthropic attributes of hers attracted her attention to this special class of the society.
She always shows concern for these groups of people; including the sick who can’t afford to pay up their medical bills in the hospital. She mixes with the common people, listens to their plight, and has done a lot to ameliorate their problems.
What I’m explaining here is that our governor’s wife, perhaps owing to her upbringing, has love for the poor, the needy, and has the mind to help them in any way/manner she could. I don’t think this great act of charity she performs is because she is the first lady. No, I believe they are inborn, if she were a civil servant, a trader, in short, a business woman, she would have been engaging in these acts of philanthropy.
What her exalted position has done in this very circumstance is that it has afforded her all it needs to carry this charity work to a higher pedestal. And believe it or not, this very exceptional quality of hers has so much elevated her that it has placed her above her other 35 contemporaries in the country. Ndi Anambra are lucky to have such as selfless first lady.
On those acts of philanthropy that attracted this award:-
These are so many, so innumerable to be exhausted here but a few will suffice. With the CAFÉ, Mrs. Obiano has built self-contained, well-furnished bungalows for more than 40 persons, mostly the aged and widows in the three senatorial districts of our state.
She has built bore holes and toilets in various markets in the state to help market women, especially the elder ones and young girls. She has provided start-ups with inputs for their businesses, tools such as sewing and grinding machines, and other vital equipment/tools to start with. Such works of charity are seen in various hospitals where hundreds of cleft lip patients, mostly children, have undergone free surgery and the physically challenged given wheel chairs and artificial limbs.
I was privileged to see one of the cleft lip patients before he did surgery and I gave special thanks to God because without this surgery, this child would not have been useful in life. One remarkable feature of these works of charity is the joy and happiness the first lady expresses whenever one physically challenged receives one kind of help or the other.
Even at Nteje, Mrs. Obiano built a rehabilitation centre where most of our street beggars, insane persons are rehabilitated and sent to their people. It takes one of great courage, sympathy, humility and care occupying such privileged position of the first lady of a state to mix up with the society, come down low to perform such acts of philanthropy. As far as I’m concerned, the Obiano administration has left many legacies for other administrations to inherit and what we’re discussing is one aspect of such many legacies. This Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), this NGO founded by Anambra First Lady, Mrs. Obiano, is unrelenting in its tireless efforts to give helping hand to the vulnerable in the society, especially the widows and other less privileged people with shelter, business kits and other facilities to live normal lives and contribute their quota to nation building. I’ve already spoken of sewing and grinding machines as one of the sets of start-up kits being donated to indigent citizens of the state by CAFÉ.
Our state’s first lady has gone on tour of all the communities in the 21 local government areas of the state, not once, not twice, with her entourage where she identified with this special class of people, the less privileged, the vulnerable, downtrodden and the aged and widows as well as the youths who she empowered to start their own businesses.
To some, she donated food items. This administration has shown that welfare of the people should be one of the cardinal objectives of any government worth its salt. A special feature of this government is the singular belief of its administrators that they’re for the entire ndi Anambra; that working along party lines ends with the end of elections; that once a political party is declared winner, the government of that victorious party sees the entire citizenry as its constituents and the state or country in question as its constituency.
It is in realisation of this fact that Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano transcends party lines and ensures that all benefit political party, religion, culture or area of origin notwithstanding. Even the Obiano administration tows similar line, exhibits this principle of governance. This is why no section of Anambra will say today that it has not benefited immensely from this government.
In fact, Mrs. Obiano’s role as an active participant besides her husband, the governor of our state, has afforded her the opportunity to live her passion of caring for the less privileged. Her passion for charity started before 2014 and has blossomed to the current heights due to the support of her husband, Governor Obiano, who I learnt has even donated his monthly salary to CAFÉ” to boost its activities.
CAFÉ has empowered over 2000 indigent women with skills training and start-up stipends/equipment in various hair dressing and beauty therapies, fashion design, cake baking and confectionery, as well as community health services. With CAFÉ, the first lady has made possible free prosthetic limbs to over 1800 physically challenged, and gave free wheel chairs to many.
She has also sponsored free surgeries for over 200 children with congenital abnormality of cleft up and cleft palate as well as care for the mentally unwell with over 70 discharged. She has received many awards accorded her by her works of charity; one unique one being Excellence Award from Atlanta Georgia in United States in 2016.
On Osodieme’s noble attributes, character and principles
As earlier said, Anambra First Lady is humane, humble, caring, and has the interest of the masses, particularly the vulnerable, less privileged in the society at heart. Our first lady here in Anambra State, is a focused, selfless lady; always ready to help others. Her tenacious pursuit for the common good of all endears her to many.
Her outstanding accomplishments, her unwavering dedication to duty and her giant strides as an icon of excellence with CAFÉ have left enduring legacies. In carrying out her duty with her NGO, our governor’s wife has always shown dedication, sacrifice and untainted patriotism.
Her CAFÉ has done much to uplift the living standard of our women and children; creating culture of entrepreneurship with the donation of different tools of work, equipment to jobless people to engage in some businesses. In fact, her immense contribution to the welfare of our people, particularly women and children has no doubt.
While her husband is going round providing ndi Anambra with the much needed dividends of democracy, his wife is equally working assiduously through her Caring Family Enhancement Initiative to turn around the economic fortunes of our women.
I must advise our women to emulate the humility and caring nature of our governor’s wife. It is because of her care for the less privileged that made her establish CAFÉ for the common good of our women. Our women should imbibe that spirit of selflessness and understanding that wherever they find themselves, they should know that such position came from God for them to help others.