” If the rich can cry amidst the COVID19 pandemic, what happens to the downtrodden? ” That was the one million dollar question Hon.Obinna Chris Emeneka, the lawmaker representing Anambra-East state constituency in the 7th legislature of Anambra state asked on the occasion of his 42nd birthday ceremony and palliative distribution to widows, sickle cell patients and other vulnerable groups.
Emeneka who had distributed COVID19 preventive materials to his constituents as well as signed a 20 million naira deal with a pharmaceutical company for the provision of chloroquine and other drugs for the management of coronavirus infections, said he chose to celebrate with widows and other vulnerable groups to give them sense of belonging and also make them realise that they were not alone.
The lawmaker who had also conducted free medical services for his constituency and beyond, said he understands the plight of the vulnerable groups but emphasized that he would not renege on his works of Mercy because they deserve the very best of care and social welfare scheme.
He said widowhood was not a death sentence and that widows should not wallow in self-pity and self-condemnation but muster enough courage to stand against all forms dehumanization and molestations such as rape, sexual assaults as well as gender prejudices meted out on them and their daughters.
Emeneka who admonished over 500 widows together with people living with sickle cell anaemia and other indigent persons who thronged his Awka residence for the celebration, emphasized that COVID19 was not a hoax and that they should endeavour to spread the message down to the grassroots while maintaining all the protective guidelines against COVID19. He said that the advent of the novel coronavirus disease has made all and sundry susceptible to the virus including the rich and well-to-do in the society whom he said also cry at the moment due to the contagious and terminal nature of the pandemic.
The lawmaker who is currently serving his third term in the state assembly, noted that Governor Willie Obiano has done more than enough to protect citizens from the tragedies of the contagious COVID19 but expressed concern that inspite of the governor’s efforts, people turned deaf ears to the warnings of the state government especially as it relates to violation on the use of facemasks as well as other COVID19 prevention protocols, stressing that the governor has taken the horse to the stream but he can not compel the animal to drink water from the stream. He however urged the women who adorned their facemasks to take responsibility to ensure that the message of COVID19 prevention got to the villages and communites to forestall spread of the virus in the hinterlands.
According to him , ” The only thing I can do in appreciation to God’s mercy upon my life is to extend palliatives to the vulnerable and to tell them also that being a widow or being vulnerable is not the end of life but a means to an end. That as a widow one still has very pivotal role to play in life. You should champion advocacy for emancipation from sexual assaults which is rampant in our society today. “
” You also have a role to sensitise our people on this dreaded COVID19.As widows you have so many roles to play in the society. You shouldn’t see yourselves as marginalized or vulnerable rather you should see yourselves as rolemodel mothers in your various homes.”
” As you can see, the rich now cry and if the rich can cry because of COVID19, what becomes the fate of the downtrodden ? So I decided in appreciation of God’s mercy and kindness upon my life to use this birthday celebration to extend my palliatives and monetary donations to the widows and vulnerable groups of Anambra-East and beyond .” He stressed.
Emeneka who also harped on the need for other well-to-do individuals to extend a hand of olive to the have-nots, emphasized that service to humanity was one of the ways one can bequeath a lasting legacy to posterity even as he explained that the palliatives given to the beneficiaries was in line with the poverty alleviation programme of the wife of the governor Chief Mrs.Ebelechukwu Obiano through her non-governmental organization called Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE). He was equally of the opinion that all forms of obnoxious cultural practices against widows should be condemned and perpetrators of such inhumane traditional norms against women who have lost their husbands, should be brought to justice.
Speaker of the state assembly Rt.Hon.Uche Okafor who was present at the event gave his endorsement, saying that what Emeneka did was outstanding. Okafor said vulnerable groups were special class of people with special needs and that helping to ameliorate their situation was worthwhile. The Speaker noted that the state assembly stands against any form of ill-treatment against women especially widows.He said ” We have a law in the Anambra State House of Assembly that every woman has right to life as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That a woman is a widow does not make her less a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or make her less a citizen of Anambra state. No woman should be subjected to any cultural or traditional malpractices because she lost her husband. There is also no justification for rape because rape is evil.”
Lady Ndidi Mezue, the state commissioner for Women Affairs and the lawmaker representing Onitsha-North 2 state constituency in the 7th assembly, Hon.Edward Obiefuna Ibuzo, both extolled Emeneka’s decision to dedicate his 42nd birthday celebration to the widows as well as other vulnerable persons. They also commended him for dolling out palliatives to the women to help alleviate their sufferings and hardships occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mrs. Felicia Mbanefo of Umueri community, Mrs.Elizabeth Ofoka who hails from Umueri and a host of other widows and beneficiaries of the COVID19 palliatives distributed by Hon.Obinna Chris Emeneka, shared their experiences as widows saying that some cultural practices were not in their favour but they find solace , succour and respite in humanitarian gestures like the relief materials given to them by the lawmaker. Meanwhile over 1000 bags of rice , indomie noodles, facemasks, hand-sanitizers and a one million naira cash donation were handed over to the beneficiaries.
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