A kindhearted Mother in Anambra Governors’ Lodge

By Emeka Ozumba
Click for Full Image Size

“I've got a kind-hearted woman, Do anything in this world for me.”

An excerpt from the first couplet of the lyrics to “kindhearted Woman Blues”- a song recorded in 1936 by the legendary Bluesman Robert Johnson, is a testimonial to a virtuous woman's dedication to doing good. This classic blues succinctly captures the passion and commitment to charitable causes associated with the First Lady of Anambra State Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano. Those who know her attest that her display of motherly care and her milk of human kindness to the less privileged predate her sojourn to Anambra's seat of power.

In one of her well-known altruistic ventures, Chief (Mrs.) Obiano moved by the plight of the pupils and students of Basden Memorial Special School Isulo, Orumba South Local Government Area deployed her meager income to building a water borehole in year 2010 to ease the burden of water scarcity in the school. Subsequently after the election of her husband Chief Willie Obiano as governor of Anambra State, Mrs. Obiano collapsed her earlier philanthropic interventions to align with the programmes under her pet project, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), a platform that has enabled her to sustain her philanthropic ventures.

It was Kelvin Health who said that “wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference.” Osodieme, that's the traditional title of Mrs. Obiano, like her husband Akpokuodike who is just seven months in office and is already redefining governance in Anambra State, has shown an uncanny ability at making a difference in the lives of people, especially in support of indigent families and the physically challenged.

Through CAFÉ Chief (Mrs.) Obiano supports the welfare programmes of Chief Willie Obiano's administration which promotes strong and healthy families through assisting and supporting vulnerable groups amongst Ndi Anambra to feel the impact of government and eventually contribute to the socio-economic development of the state.

Following the visit of Her Excellency Dr (Mrs) Dame Patience Jonathan to Anambra State on October 4, 2014 for the South East Widows Empowerment Programme, she donated various items of empowerment to the widows; a gesture, Mrs. Obiano observed complements CAFÉ's role in providing succor to the indigent and down-trodden in the society. But when it became obvious that the donated items were being pilfered right at the Ekwueme square venue, Mrs. Obiano took charge to safeguard and ensure that the items got to the right persons.

Thus she hosted the widows from the 189 communities in Anambra State on October 18, 2014 and shared the items for onward distribution to the needy. The items include 200 hair dryers, 200 sewing machines, 500bags of salt, 150cattons of soap, 500 bags of rice, 10 bundles of wrappers, 200 bags containing bundles of treated mosquito net, 750 milling machines amongst others.

On the other hand, Chief Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano's birthday celebration is never complete without her spending some time with the less privileged. This year she set aside Sunday October 19, 2014 for a special party with this group of Nigerians who are very dear to her heart. Thus it was fun, dance, music and nutriment galore for the handicapped and the physically challenged who thronged the Governors' Lodge Amawbia last Sunday evening on special invitation to mark the First Lady's birthday.

Seated at a vantage corner of the car park of the Governors' official residence and observing the soiree with mostly students of special schools for people with disabilities including deaf mutes, the visually impaired, and walking paraplegics it felt normal that such a party would have a cake to be cut, much to eat and drink coupled with dance and merriment. All that and more were evident but much more came to the fore as the party lasted.

When the celebrant and hostess Chief (Mrs.) Obiano worked into the arena she was literarily mobbed by ecstatic pupils and students as she mingled with them receiving greetings and adulation from both young and old in the arena as she exuded happiness amongst them, returning their greetings with heart-felt smiles, grace and candour.

After the opening niceties the arena erupted in colorful gyration as the pupils and students joined the celebrant on the dance floor in a dance befitting the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion Chief (Mrs.) Obiano said that the party is a gesture to give her guests a sense of belonging, adding that nothing compares to the fulfillment she gets from putting smiles on the faces of the less privileged in the society. I am at home with the people with one form of disability or another –the blind, the deaf and dumb, etc.

According to Chief (Mrs.) Obiano “There is not much difference between those of us that are hale and hearty and them once they are given the necessary support to overcome their challenges. I call on Ndi Anambra, especially the wealthy to help out. Together with my pet project, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) we can collaborate to assist the needy in our society.”

Mrs. Obiano explained that since coming on stream, CAFÉ has done a lot to mobilize and give support and succor to indigent families and the physically challenged through various programmes and welfare packages.

CAFE also supports the activities of the administration of her husband Chief Willie Obiano in the area of skill acquisition. The physically challenged have been co-opted to learn vocations and skills that will enable them become self-reliant and contribute meaningfully to the society.

Mrs. Obiano explained that at CAFÉ they encourage and teach the physically challenged that there is ability in disability and to believe and discover those innate potentials God gave them so as to succeed in life. “So far we are making tremendous progress and I encourage partnership from individuals and other NGOs towards uplifting the lives of these wonderful children. “She added.

The First Lady reiterated her call on the Ndi Anambra especially the wealthy and people of goodwill to devote some time and part of their resources to the caring and helping the less privileged members of the society especially the physically challenged in order to assist them in conquering their challenges.

The highlight of the evening party was a special soulful song rendition by Ebele, one of the students which drew tears from the eyes of many, including the First Lady. What is perhaps telling about the outpour of emotions following the song is that if the clarion call for assistance is heeded by Ndi Anambra like the tear drops on the arena that fateful evening, CAFÉ's task of empowering the indigent and the less privilege would have succeeded.



Anambra State First Lady Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano on her right Rev Fr. John Manafa (Right), Rev Sister and her special guests the physically challenged pupils and students at the Governors' lodge Amawbia

Anambra State First Lady Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano handing out gifts to the physically challenged at the Governors' lodge Amawbia.