Chief (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano’s Humanness – By Okechukwu Anarado
The media space may have been brimming with what Chief (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano, Wife of the Governor of Anambra State, began to do since ascending the exalted position of First Lady of the state in March, 2014. The interest borders chiefly on her seamless passionate expressions of charity to persons in different rungs of the needy class. This exposure is understandable, given the nature and spread of such acts that are public knowledge and therefore media imperative. Perhaps of greater significance in judging the depths of Chief (Mrs) Obiano’s yield to compassionate drives is her pre-Government House indulgence in freely providing succour to the vulnerable within her reach. Available records have it that nothing gladdens the heart of Chief (Mrs) Obiano, Osodieme, beyond giving value to otherwise bland and seemingly hopeless lives. It is characteristic of her to endlessly clamour to plant smiles on gloomy faces. This glowing urge may just have been differently structured and formally branded to reflect the nuances of the status of a benevolent First Lady of a state; it is evidently no new trait.
So it is that Chief (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano’s inner compulsions for benevolence, which, in times past, continued to find expressions in quiet assistance in defraying vital costs bordering on school fees, medical bills, feeding, housing, clothing and sundry bills that rudely diminish many a people’s preferences for quality life, have now heartily blossomed into a phenomenal testament of a peerless humanitarian cheer-giving Non-Governmental Organization, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ). Today, through the instrumentality of CAFÉ, Her Excellency coordinates the reach of her enormous works of charity and other vital manifestations of her sense of social responsibility to society. The only difference between Chief (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano, the private person, and CAFÉ, her corporate Pet Project, in care-giving is traceable in the sizes of their benevolent acts; one being private and definitely trimmer than the public other in financial muscles and capabilities.
The Caring Family Enhancement Initiative attracts assistance in cash and kind from individuals and organizations wishing to identify with the Governor’s Wife’s humanitarian scheme. This goodwill has enabled CAFÉ erect toilets in markets and public places; sink boreholes for potable water in localities; build decent houses for indigent widows; empower the underprivileged through skill acquisition trainings and provision of seed capital for small scale enterprises. CAFÉ grants scholarship to indigent students, and intervenes on congenital medical conditions like cleft lips/cleft palates in children. It provides prosthetic limbs for those with such needs. CAFÉ embarks on advocacy for hygiene and healthy living among city and rural dwellers. CAFÉ accommodates, treats and rehabilitates many whom the public ordinarily discounts as the dregs of society owing to their wanton habituation to drug or other social maladies, the Nteje Mental Rehabilitation Home refers. It has ensured the standardization of classroom, boarding facilities and other requirements for functional teaching and learning in institutions for the Deaf and Dumb as exemplified at Basden, Isulo.
These acts of Her Excellency’s have not failed to earn her honour in terms of laurels and awards from reputable institutions and organizations both in Nigeria and internationally. Such recognitions are exemplified in: Eminent Peace Ambassador of United Nations (2014), EU/UNICEF Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Ambassador, Grand Patroness of Girls’ Brigade Nigeria (2016), Duchess of the Catholic Arcdiocese of Onitsha, among others; and now the Zik Prize for Humanitarian services to society.
Evidently, Chief (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano’s bold visibility in the trajectory of Chief Willie Obiano’s great attainments over time and her immense capacity to combine her other productive engagements with maintaining a bonded link with Chief Willie Obiano’s high sense of social responsibility in public service, present a distinct narrative of a most confident and supportive wife, who rather than get cowed by the husband’s ascent to glorious heights, lends hand to consolidate his hold unto glory.
It would be very surprising, rather difficult, to see one who, though liking success, regards less the requisite circumstances informing the subject(s) of like. Probably the saying that ‘Behind every successful man is a woman,’ arose to stem the possibility of such contradiction. In the unique complementary synergy between the Obianos’ the strength in companionship mocks the limitations of aloneness in service – private, public or governmental.
I am therefore sure that the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano (Akpokuedike) in endorsing Chief (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) as his priceless partner in success would gladly adopt Ronald Reagan’s sentiments in describing his (Reagan’s) wife, Nancy, when he (Reagan) was the Governor of California; thusly: ‘There are no words to describe the happiness you have brought to the Governor. It is no secret that he is the most married man in the world and would be totally lost without you.’
Okechukwu Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu