Wife of the governor of Anambra state, Mrs Ebele Obiano last weekend at a function in Aguleri stated that she and her husband never at all dreamt that they will become governor of Anambra state.
Mrs Obiano who was trying to stress the charity work she and her husband were doing in the state, said they started at a time when they never even knew they will be governor, saying that the charity works of her family did not start today.
“In Lagos where we were living, we were still doing charity, and I remember once when we were told that because no school in the whole of Aguleri had a science labourator, our children had to be taken outside to do their practicals.
“When I heard of it I said no, and we asked for the total cost of building science labouratories and when we were told, we also added a computer hall, and that was how Aguleri stiudents started taking their exams here. We were doing tis tjings when we did not even know we will be governor.
The premises of the Vocational institute and Welfare Centre, Aguleri, Anambra State swarmed with people in wheel chairs and several support aids, and it was obvious that the function holding therein was one for them. It was the day set aside for the graduation ceremony of 50 physically challenged people, who have for three months been drilled in the art of repairing mobile phones.
The six months programme was at the instance of a Non Governmental Organisation, South Saharan Social Development Organisation, SSDO, which had brought in expatriate experts on mobile phone technology to teach the physically challenged people.
Mrs Grace Nwobodo, the Country Director of the organization in her address said the programme was one well thought out, with the hope of impacting in the lives of those known to be the vulnerable group in the society. Nwobodo said that through the help of Oxfam Novib, the orgnisation, selected 100 physically challenged people for empowerment and training in mobile phone repairs in Anambra and Enugu State. She added that Anambra government showed demonstrable willingness to helping the organization in its efforts to train them, hence the graduation of Anambra trainees, at a time when the Enugu trainees were still in camp as a result of delays.
She said, “Statistics from the United Nations has shown that over 20million Nigerians are living with disabilities, of which over 70 percent were without gainful employment.  This people according to international and local civil societies are mostly stuck in squalor and face inequalities in access to education, healthcare, employment and social-community participation, hence the need to help them.”
Nwobodo said that these groups of people mostly earned a living by begging for alms. She said many of the problems faced by people living with disabilities can be addressed through employment and income generation, hence the intervention by her organization.
According to her, the organization has the primary aim of making development happen for vulnerable people – women, men, children and youths. This is because of a personal conviction that everyone and anyone, if empowered can live full productive lives for the overall benefits of the society.
She stated that to ensure that the trainees obtained the full appreciation of the different working parts of a mobile phone, the training was broken down into hardware and software components, so as for them to know how the mobile phone relates to the software to become a usable communication device. She also expressed confidence in the trainees, saying that they have been adequately trained to fix any type of mobile device.
The commissioner for Women’s Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Victoria Chukwukelu stated that the graduation ceremony was made possible by the steadfastness of the wife of the Anambra State governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano who on hearing of the training quickly ordered that a conducive environment be provided for the 20 female and 30 physically challenged male for the three months duration of the training.
“We swung to action immediately and settled for the Vocational Institute and Welfare Centre, Aguleri, which is spacious enough to contain them all. We were told that the programme will commence simultaneously in Enugu and Anambra, but here we showed enough commitment by providing accommodation and even feeding for the trainees, and ours started immediately.”
Chukwukelu thanked the governor’s wife for her resilience and commitment to bettering the lives of the downtrodden in the state, saying that shortly after the trainees were lodged in the training camp, Mrs Obiano travelled to the US for her annual vacation, in which she spent four months. Throughout the four months, Chukwukelu said Mrs Obiano always called to know how the trainees were progressing, and that once, when she was told that the food stuff of the inmates had exhausted, she had quickly asked her to mobilise and meet some of her political allies for donations to ensure that none of the trainees suffered from lack of food.
Mrs Obiano in her remark said, her husband and hger self were committed to human capital development, and that taking care of the physically challenged in the state was part of their priority. She said the state government has not only empowered physically challenged people but have also built reformation centre for people with special needs, and that by doing, the government is today taking care of the blind, and mentally challenged people too.
“The governor complained to me once that there were too many mad people around the streets, and that he was always embarrassed that any where he took investors in the state, they were always accosted by mad people, and that something has to be done about it. For this reason, we have mopped up the mentally retarded people in the state anywhere we can find them, been taking care of them, and surprisingly, a good number of them have been regaining their sanity, and we have always reunited them with their families,” Mrs Obiano said.
Highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of certificates to the graduands. The granduands were also presented with Dell laptop computers each, tools pack, repair kits and start – up capital, to enable them set up their own workshops. The joy of the graduands grew visibly when the wife of the governor announced that because of perennial shortfall in the supply of electricity, which could hamper their development as technicians, she donated 50 generators to them.
The graduation programme left the trainees with a good testimony as they praised the South Saharan Development Organisation, Oxfam Novib their major partners and the Anambra State government. A representative of the trainees, Mr Damian Nwosu who spoke with our correspondent was full of praises, saying that only few organizations like the SSDO have truly taken cognizance of the plight of the physically challenged, while urging other well to do organizations to always remember the down trodden in the society.
He said that with the empowerment materials donated to them, they will have no reason not to be productive, and that with the level of knowledge impacted on them, they are sure to outdo other phone repairers in the state, just as they will ensure that they spread the knowledge they have learnt to other physically challenged people to ensure financial freedom for all.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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