In Ebonyi State, some wellto- do individuals reached out to the sick and the poor ones during the Christmas and New Year celebrations to share what they have with them. UCHENNA INYA reports from Abakaliki
Despite the Coronavirus pandemic and ENDSARS protests across the country which crippled the nation’s economy, brought untold hardship to the citizenry and affected last year’s Christmas celebration and this 2021 New Year celebration, some rich individuals empowered the people around them by showering them with cash and food materials to enable them feel the joy of the celebrations.
In Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency, it was business as usual as the member representing the constituency in the House of Representatives, Chief Chinedu Ogah, shared cash, wrappers, foodstuffs of all kinds and other gifts to orphans, widows, youths, men, women and stakeholders of the constituency. His Item Amagu compound, Ikwo Local Government Area of the state was filled during the distribution of the cash and other gift items which has become an annual ritual. The occasion was also a stock taking for Ogah, who used it and briefed them on his activities at the National Assembly since one year he went to the green chamber. He said: “Within one year and one month, we have built houses for both the downtrodden and deserving party leaders, over 235 Federal Jobs have been attracted to our young graduates.
These 235 persons are not part of the 610 we gave jobs at also at the federal level before we went to the National Assembly. We have given out countless numbers of motorcycles and tricycles to our youths and women. We have commenced and completed many bridges and currently we are working on an over N300 million Bridge at Ezza South.
We bought 350 pieces of motorcycles and shared to our constituents. We bought 70 pieces of tricycles and shared to our constituents. “We have given financial grants to 300 tertiary students; six of them who are in abroad where given N600,000 each while those in Nigeria here were paid their tuition fees and all of them have collected their monies. We have also empowered countless numbers of our youths and women with cash to start up a business and support the existing ones, over 800 students WAEC Fees were paid.
We awarded scholarship to many students for undergraduates and post graduates across our constituency. All these and many more were achieved within a space of one year and one month. The federal Lawmaker used the period to hand over houses he built for indigent women of his constituency.
In Ebonyi Local Government Area of the state, Mrs. Chinyere Nwogbaga, the Chairman of the local government, distributed over 10, 000 5kg bags of rice and tomatoes to indigent persons across the 107 polling units in the local government.
Each ward was given 500,000 by the council Chairman to share to the people. She said the gesture was to cushion the effects of Coronavirus pandemic and Endsars which dealt with the country’s economy in 2020. She commended Governor Dave Umahi for his ingenuity in leadership, pointing out that his leadership goodwill was across party affiliation and that the distribution of the rice, cash and other items was for everybody in the local government irrespective of the political party they belonged.
While assuring the people of the local government of openness and accountability in governance, Nwaogbaga urged them to celebrate the yuletide with caution because of the second wave of Coronavirus. “Having passed the difficulties of COVID- 19 and Endsars, we want to thank God and we want to appreciate our Governor, Engr. David Umahi, for his love, doggedness and for always being there for his people.
“As you can see, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he put all his efforts to make sure that the lives of all Ebonyians were saved and as you can see today, he has shared palliative to people in all polling units we have in Ebonyi State and today, in the spirit of celebration, he released these hundred bags of rice per polling unit that we have in Ebonyi Local Government, as it is going on across the 13 local governments of the state and today, the people of Ebonyi Local Government gathered to distribute their own.
“It is over 10,000 and what it means is that our governor has touched the lives of over 10,000 persons in Ebonyi Local Government and not only rice, they go with tomatoes and money, so we want to appreciate the Governor. “He is a man that doesn’t discriminate. He doesn’t care if this person is party A or party B. What he is after is the welfare of the people he is governing.
That is why all the stakeholders are here and their job is, go to the polling unit and share to the downtrodden. “We assure the governor of our support. On my own, as the chairman of Ebonyi Local Government, I will try to ensure that I run the all-inclusive government with an open door and accommodate people around me. I believe when you are doing, that the glory is going to God. “As the governor has taken us to the next level, we pray that the next level will take us to a greater height, not only in Ebonyi State but the entire southeast.
“As we celebrate, let’s be careful and use all the preventive measures and if you observe anyone with the symptoms of COVID-19, report to the government. It is our prayer that we move to 2021”, she said Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi of the PDP, Bar Elizabeth Ogbaga, Mrs. Ann Aligwe, and other stakeholders of Ebonyi Local Government, who witnessed the distribution of the Christmas and New Year largesse, thanked the state government for always putting smiles on the faces of the poor.
The sick were not left out during the celebration as many of them who were healed but were detained by various hospital for failing to pay their bills were freed following the payment of their medical bills by Governor Umahi. Umahi personally visited hospitals in Abakaliki, the state capital, where he cleared the medical bills of many patients amounting to millions of naira.
On 5th January, 95 indigent patients of Mater Misericordae Hospital, Afikpo benefitted from the gesture. Umahi’s Senior Special Assistant on Welfare and Religious Matters, Rev Fr. Abraham Nwali, who represented him during the occasion, gave out cheques totaling N12.5 million to the patients to cover 100 per cent of their medical bills.
The recipients of the governor’s medical largesse, made up of both indigenes and non-indigenes of Ebonyi State cut across patients from different wards of the hospital. Among them were those detained at the hospital for months due to their inability to pay their bills as well as those who were discharged on the day the Governor’s representative came. Majority of the recipients included nursing mothers who delivered through Caesarian Section, patients who underwent major surgical operations, accident victims, and paediatric patients, to mention but a few. Speaking during the occasion, Father.
Nwali, reiterated the Governor’s commitment to the socioeconomic wellbeing of Ebonyians. He also stated that this generous gesture was a tip of the iceberg as the government has several welfare packages lined up for the people. On behalf of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Blessing Uche Ogbonna expressed their gratitude to Umahi for making it possible for them to be reunited with their families when all hopes were lost.
Mrs. Ogbonna, an indigene of Unwana, Afikpo North LGA, who was delivered of a baby girl through surgery but has been on detention in the hospital for over seven months due to her inability to pay her bill of N168,000, thanked the governor immensely for wiping away the shame of her detention in the hospital from her family. Emmanuel Uduma Nwachi, who assisted the governor’s representative during the event, described Umahi as an uncommon leader who is ready to sacrifice all for the welfare and wellbeing of his people.