Hundreds of widows in Oba, Idemili-south local government area of Anambra State will certainly live with the sweet memories of the events of Thursday last week for a very long time to come. Their lives were touched positively on that day. They numbered over 500 and most of them aged 50 and above. As a result of old age and in some cases sickness some of them only managed to move about with the support of walking sticks.
Their faces were all smiles following the kind gestures extended to them by Daniel Madu Nzelu Education Foundation, a legacy of the former managing director of Petroleum Products Pricing and Monitoring Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who passed on nine years ago.
The widow of the late PPPMC boss, Mrs Chinelo Dan Madu Nzelu, a retiree of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the foundation was established in 2007 to sustain the legacies of her late husband. She narrated the history of the foundation thus: “My husband loved education so much when he was alive, and, he gave scholarships to many youths, whose parents could not afford the finances of sending them to school. So, when he passed on, I told our children that we should sustain his legacy of assisting the indigent’s youths in their education career. My husband passed on the 6th of November, 2006, and, the foundation commenced in 2007, but this is the first time we are visiting orphanages in the eastern part. We had done yearly visit to orphanages in FCT (Federal Capital Territory), Abuja and its environs, also advanced subsidies to some indigent but brilliant students that got admissions to either federal or state universities, and, five of them just graduated last semester.”
It was a life changing moment for widows and motherless babies as Mrs Nzelu distributed cash and clothes whose total cost was put at over N5million to the widows. A day before attending to the widows, she had visited three orphanage homes, including Dream Land Orphanage, Oba; Christian Compassionate Community Children’s Home, Obosi and Hope Orphanage Home, Ojoto, where she also distributed live changing items to the inmates.
The joy of the widows knew no bound as they danced, singing praises to God for sending them a comforter in the person of Mrs Nzelu. Before distributing a high quality piece of wrapper and a cash of N2, 000 to each of the widows, Mrs Nzelu made sure they were sumptuously fed with delicious meal and drinks. The event took place at the Umuagu Village, Oba, sprawling compound of the Nzelus.
The widow of the late PPPMC boss stated that though the dream that gave birth to the establishment of the foundation was fired by the family’s determination and commitment towards sustaining the legacy of the family’s late bread-winner which was essentially on the education of the indigents, she however stated that she decided to incorporate the care for the widows, following the excruciating experience she passed through after her husband passed on.
She stated that the life of a widow in Oba community, just like what is obtainable in most traditional Igbo society is akin to a life in hell. She narrated her experiences thus: “The life of a widow here is very horrible, it is indeed, like one living in hell. I am from Oba here, and my husband was also a native of this place. But I never thought of what happened to me after my husband passed on. I suffered so much. They would have killed me here if not for God’s intervention. At a point I was even praying to God to take my life, even as a pensioner at my level as a CBN retirees as director, because of what I was passing through. Most of the time you are alone, nobody wants to listen to you and to know your problem. It is only God who saved my life”.
Mrs Nzelu said it was since November last year that she started saving the money with which she purchased the clothes for the widows.
“I said to myself that I was not just going to buy any clothe for these widows, I must purchase for them wrappers that are of the same quality as this one I am wearing today, that is the quality of all the wrappers I am giving out to them today. When I told my children who are living in overseas that I have purchased some clothes to give to the widows, they told me ‘mummy, we shall support you.’ So, they sent me some money to purchase more clothes that is why we are distributing clothes to over 510 widows today, and as you can see more are still coming. So, what I am going to do is that those we cannot be accommodated in what we have today, I will compile their names and when I go back to Abuja, I will start looking for money to help them,” she disclosed.
She further stated that her experience at the motherless babies home were indeed very pathetic. “After my visit to the motherless babies’ home, I could not sleep at night because of what I saw in those places I visited. In one of the homes, there are a total of 48 children in a three-bedroom bungalow. And there is no electricity there. The power generating set they have has spoilt. So, if I go back now to Abuja, I will look for how I can get N50, 000 to send to them to by a generator. In fact, the social security sector of this country should sit up”, she said.
Mrs Nzelu stated that she targets to touch the lives of not less than one million widows in the next year programme. clergy stated.
One of the widows, 72-year old, Mrs Alice Muonwe who said she lost her husband about four years ago described Mrs Nzelu as “God-sent”. She prayed God not only to reward her gestures and compassion for widows but to give her long life and strong health. Mrs. Grace Iwuoba who lost her husband about 10 years ago thanked Mrs Nzelu for the money and clothe and prayed God to continue to protect and guide her and her children.