As the final tenure of Gov Willie Obiano draws to a close, not only his administration will be missed; His gracious wife Dr Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano most also be given accolades for her humanitarian deeds.
There’s no doubt that there is no community in Anambra state that doesn’t boast of a project by Governor Willie Obiano. In consideration that this feat isn’t open to any controversy or debate, it isn’t out of place for attention to be shifted to His amiable wife and soulmate who no doubt played a valuable role in stabilizing the polity behind the scenes.
What then will Ebelechukwu Obiano popularly called “OSODIEME” be remembered for?
The Sun Newspapers – the flagship newspaper of the South East in 2019 awarded the most coveted prize of Most Supportive First Lady in Nigeria to Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, the wife of the Executive Governor of Anambra State.
Whereas it is perceived in some quarters that Nigerian newspapers have in times past shown subjectivity in its prize awards, the case of OSODIEME is an exception and there is a clear reason why it is so.
The Caring Family Enhancement Initiative – CAFE a non Governmental organization she established on August 1, 2014.
Seven years down the line, OSODIEME has ridden on the back of this vehicle of social justice to set a new narrative in philanthropy, charity and selfless service to humanity.
Without controversy, CAFE – Her brainchild has continued to meet the most pressing needs of the vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens of the state by not only promoting and securing their access to social services but by also facilitating their integration into the social and cultural activities of humanity.
Standing on the tripod of equity, justice and fairness, CAFE has in it’s own way fostered socio-economic and political development in Anambra state.
A major attestation to the reality that OSODIEME is an embodiment of vision also lies in the fact that contrary to what plays elsewhere, CAFE was built and has so far been sustained as a going concern like the late Maryam Babangida’s “Better Life for Rural Women” – OSODIEME acheived this by strategically partnering with the State Ministry of Women Affairs, corporate organizations and some prominent Nigerians.
Today, through CAFE, OSODIEME has transformed the lives of rural women, orphaned children, the down trodden, less privileged, inmates of correctional centers and persons living with disabilities.
At a time when the fallout of flooding and acts of terrorism caused mass exodus of some Nigerians from their original places of abode with attendant Challenges to local economy of communities where they sought refuge, OSODIEME rose to the occasion and headed straight to address the issues of basic shelter, general hygiene and food shortage in some IDP camps by leading a contingent of donors to save Anambra women and children from starvation and diseases like jaundice, cholera, diarrhea, dysentery and malaria.
Empowerment is totally different from sustainable empowerment and from Ossamala-Umunankwo town in Ogbaru, to Nteje in Oyi, to Akwaihedi in Nnewi South, to Isulo in Orumba South, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka to Umudioka in Dunukofia, OSODIEME and her NGO, CAFE has fostered and sustained partnerships with relevant agencies leading to the regular conduct of vocational and enterprise trainings relevant for self reliance.
The National Bureau of Statistics considers Anambra State one of Nigeria’s States with very minimal levels of unemployment. That feat bears testimony to the effectiveness of government initiatives supported by organizations like CAFE.
OSODIEME has facilitated the empowerment of over 5,500 indigent women and youths via skills acquisition and trainings. She also provided start-up grants as working capital and purchase of equipment in various ventures like hair dressing, beauty therapy, fashion design, confectionery as well as community health services.
One of the recent productive partnerships by CAFE is with Gazelle Academy for the Fidelity Youth Empowerment Academy (YEA6) entrepreneurship training programme held at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka in 2019 which trained over 200 students in various wealth creating skills.
Often referred to as the best First Lady to come from Anambra State and justifiably so, OSODIEME’S inspirational philanthropy and charity are driven by childhood upbringing and an age -long desire to share love and be a blessing towards people in need.
In Nteje, Oyi LGA, she set up a Mentally Challenged Persons Home equipped with skills acquisition centre and a sickbay. So far, over 100 inmates have been successfully rehabilitated and reunited with their loved ones.
In Isulo, Orumba-South LGA, the School for Children with Special Needs was rescued from desolation and the children saved from what appeared to be a disastrous end.
OSODIEME via CAFE has procured and distributed over 2,000 prosthetic limbs and wheel chairs to physically challenged without paying attention to gender, faith professed and political inclination. This is unrivaled till date in Anambra State!
On March 4, 2020, the South East caucus of Nigeria’s movie industry, Nollywood stood still and watched in emotions as OSODIEME came through for ace actor, late Ernest Azuzu and moved him from Lagos to Awka for treatment and visited him at Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Odimegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital ward and rehabilitated him thereafter.
Just like the trending legacies we cherish at the #ObianoInUs “Mama Anambra”, has continued to advocate for the place of indigent widows and the aged in the state.
Her regular Local Government tours and engagements have made her the only Anambra First Lady with visibility in all localities in the state.
It is therefore not surprising that CAFE has built, completed and handed over to widows over 28 self-contained, well-furnished bungalows across the state’s three (3) Senatorial Districts.
Having being adorned with numerous awards ranging from the United Nations Peace Mission’s Emminent Peace Ambassador Award (2015), the Excellence Award from Atlanta Georgia in United States (2016), the Primetime Reporters First Lady of the Year (2017), the Sun Newspaper Award for the Most Supportive First Lady of the year (2019) and the Woman of Excellence Award (2019) amongst others, history is awash with records that OSODIEME has done something differently and will be remembered for good when by the first quarter of 2022, she bows out with her husband, the Governor of Anambra State.
There’s no doubt that OSODIEME’S page in the history of Anambra State will be written in gold.