By: Ifeanyi Okonkwo (Anambra),
The wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Her Excellency, Dr. (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) recently concluded a twelve day whirlwind tour, which commenced on 5th August, 2019 and took her across the nooks and crannies of the twenty-one Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
The Annual Community/Local Government Tour, which is essentially designed for advocacy and empowerment outreach to the less privileged, especially indigent widows, persons with disabilities, orphans and vulnerable children and the aged is in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.
The 2019 edition was very unique. It did not just provide Osodieme and ndi Anambra (particularly women) a platform for interaction as feedback to the government, but availed Her Excellency the opportunity of instructing many who turned up at the respective Local Government Area headquarters on how to enhance their lives and improve society.
Addressing ndi Anambra, at each leg of the tour, Osodieme said that she came, as a messenger of goodwill with the permission of her husband, the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, who in appreciation of the importance of multiple channeled self-assessments in governance sent her to feel their pulse and revert to him. She said that the unique feedback mechanism would help the Obiano administration to improve the lot of the people. She emphasized the imperative of women being meaningfully engaged to be able to provide the much needed help to their husbands running the home economy.
Osodieme, did not hesitate to offer willing women and youths opportunities to be trained and empowered free of charge under her NGO, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), in any field of micro enterprise with free start-up capital and enabling equipment: just as it was with the over 4,600 earlier beneficiaries. She also conveyed the Governor’s promise of other empowerment opportunities following his push to attract N3.5bn facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria for various agriculture ventures with 60% reserved for women.
Osodieme, while stating that, health is wealth, called on the rich to help offset the cost of healthcare for the poor by taking advantage of the Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme. She announced that the annual registration fee per person for the healthcare services in approved hospitals across the state is N12,500. The efficacy of Osodieme’s health advocacy during the tour was extolled by the Executive Secretary of Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA), Dr Simeon Onyemechi, who described the Governor’s wife as a frontline ASHIA Ambassador.
Another major talking point by Osodieme was Genotype awareness. She tirelessly counseled parents on the importance of genotype tests before marriage, and urged them to ensure that their children who intend to enter into marriages undergo tests to ensure they have compatible partners. According to the wife of the Governor, “Prevention is better than cure,” and no parent should allow their children to go through a marriage that can lead to raising children with the excruciating pains of circle cell disorder out of ignorance.
Mrs. Obiano also emphasized on the need for continued support for the government. She spoke on the need for communities in the localities of the state to take ownership of government projects in their domains and ensure their safety for the people to enjoy the benefits maximally. She took note of all complains of government’s seeming neglect in some areas and promised to seek positive changes. In some instances she did provide immediate answers to burning issues raised by the women and communities.
Above all, working in concert with the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, the wife of the Governor gave integrated gifts of a bag of rice, stipend and cloth to each of the ten thousand, three hundred and ninety-five (10,395) indigent women/widows, persons with disabilities, orphans, vulnerable children, and the aged. These beneficiaries were drawn at the ratio of fifty-five persons from each of the 189 communities across the state.
In continuation of the programmes of CAFÉ which include promotion of hygiene and fight against open defecation, Osodieme commissioned some completed projects like CAFÉ Market Toilets at Eke Uke, in Idemili North, and at Eke Ama-Igwe, Otolo Nnewi, Nnewi North. She also handed keys to a 4-Bedroom bungalow she built and donated to an indigent widow at Umuanevili, Aguleri, Anambra East Local Government Area.
Following a grueling tour schedule which climaxed to the admiration of many ndi Anambra and beneficiaries, Osodieme arrived for the final leg on 22nd August 2019 at Otuocha mini stadium to a carnival-like atmosphere and warm embrace of men, women and children, as well as beneficiaries of her humanitarian initiatives. They turned out in droves to welcome and celebrate her.
Addressing the jubilant crowd, Osodieme harped on her key messages and also underlined the necessity for people to adopt the habit of showing practical love to the needy at all times. She stressed that her passion for selfless giving is the driving force behind the tour and her charitable programmes in the last five years and beyond.