When the wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano announced that she will be touring the one hundred and eighty one communities in the state, some thought that it is mission impossible considering the logistics, enormous resources and stress associated with such extensive direct contact community outreach. Those who argued against expanding the scope of the annual August outreach tour of Local Governments down to the community level did not fathom the determination of the governor’s wife and her exemplary passion for community development.
It is important to note that the annual statutory tour is the responsibility of the Ministry of Women Affairs. It involves the distribution of empowerment materials and food items like bags of rice and a token financial support to fifteen women including indigent widows, four physically challenged persons, and ready for school bags for ten children in each community. However, to increase the reach and impact of the programme, the Ministry found it convenient to collaborate with the wife of the governor to ensure that as many women and men groups, the aged, children, and the less privileged benefit from the interaction.
On her part, Chief (Mrs.) Obiano has since assuming the role of First lady reinforced support and collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs with a view to improving and sustaining the welfare of the women folk. Many attest that she has brought new impetus to bear on the role by collaborating with the Ministry on issues of women empowerment with share improvisation. She mobilizes additional resources from supports to her NGO, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) to boost various outreach programmes to the communities. This is why additional gifts like delivery Kits for pregnant women, diapers, wrapper for fifteen aged women, rice, exercise books amongst other items were handed out freely during the tour.
The 5-month long tour programme which kick-started on 30th November 2016 at Nteje in Oyi Local Government Area, and ended at Nibo community, Awka South Local Government Area on 27th April 2017 was as exhilarating and fulfilling for the entourage as having scaled the summit of Mount Everest.
From the fringes of Amorka, in Ihiala Local Government Area to boundary town of Amansea, Awka North, the riverine community of Ogwuikpele in Ogbaru and Owerre Ezukala community, Orumba South border post with Abia State. And the far-flung Omasi-Uno in Ayamelun, not to mention Inoma community in Anambra West and Mkpunando Otu, Anambra East borders with Kogi State; the journey and experiences across the 181 designated communities was revealing, exciting and rewarding not just to the wife of the governor and her entourage but also for the Government of Anambra State judging from the massive feedback harnessed for purposes of community development.
Apart from speeches by stakeholders in each community, the requests for government projects and the needs of women groups, elicited the biggest applause from the people following assurances of government intervention, and personal donations by Mrs. Obiano in support of the women. Indeed, for the founder of CAFÉ, it was fulfilling at each stop whenever she encounters beneficiaries of her NGO projects like Housing for Indigent Widows, free Cleft lip/palate surgeries, Community Health Assistants and well as market toilets and borehole projects.
Worthy of note is the unity of purpose on display amongst the Deputy Governor’s wife who also stood-in for the governors’ wife during some legs of the tour, as well as the support of wives of the National Chairman of APGA and other government officials. Also commendable are the advocacy inputs of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
It goes without saying that the feedback garnered in the course of the tour will form a veritable working tool for the government community development programme. The Obiano administration is therefore advised to maximize the opportunity and positives from the tour to re-enforce its reputation and track record as a listening government committed to the welfare of Ndi Anambra.
Whereas the Ministry of Women Affairs has demonstrated consistency in carrying out its mandate, the wife of the governor on her part, has in fulfilling the community tour mission,endeared herself to the rural folks. It is undeniable that Osodieme, like her traditional title extols surmounted all doubts, proving that indeed, in performing philanthropic gestures, display of good work ethic and exemplary passion for community development, she follows the foot-steps of Akpokuodike, her husband.
Ozumba, a Public Affairs commentator writes from Enugwu-Ukwu.
Wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano shopping at Afor market Amanuke during the tour.
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)