While the world was celebrating the last month of the year, Imo state came to a halt on Tuesday, 1st December 2015, not just to celebrate the last month of the year but to celebrate the mother Theresa of our time. A great woman of substance whose sun has shone beyond our expectations and imagination; Nneoma Nkechinyere Rochas Okorocha, the amiable first lady of Imo state, who added a year to her age on 1st of December.
The proverb that says, “When you follow the path of your father, you begin to walk like him”, has found credence in Imo state. Like Mother Theresa, Nneoma Nkechinyere Rochas Okorocha had always been involved in various charitable activities in Nigeria and thus when she became the first lady, she started on a familiar terrain in rescuing indigent widows and the less privileged from poverty.
No one can doubt her abilities in the field of humanitarianism; her finishing in women empowerment has been on a clinical level and her acts of generosity rivals that of her predecessors.
The sheer variety of her kind gesture is conspicuously outstanding as it’s unpredictable. Even the economic down turn which has greatly affected the allocations given to states from the federation’s account and the lean budget of Imo state, Ugo nneoma Nkechinyere Rochas Okorocha has never allowed the lean budget of Imo state to affect her vision and mission. That had been the eradication of poverty among the poorest of the poor and so far she has been able to squeeze out the proverbial water out of a rock through partnerships, sponsorship and donations from organizations, companies, groups, individuals, etc in keeping hope alive for the most vulnerable members of the society.
Through one of her pet projects, She Needs a Roof Project (SNARP), over 200 indigent and homeless widows and orphans scattered across the 27 local government areas of Imo state enjoy the cool ambience of befitting homes.
The first lady has not rested on her oars of giving shelter to the homeless as through her, over 700 indigent women and orphans have been empowered through skills acquisition programmes and cash donations some as high as One Million Naira.
Tuesday, 1st December, 2015 was the birthday of the first lady, Nneoma Nkechinyere Okorocha and she was glad to go to the presence of the Lord to give thanks to the Almighty at Government House Victory Chapel. To her surprise, what was planned to be a low key thanksgiving was nearly marred by a massive turn out of Imo sons and daughters and many of her beneficiaries who came to celebrate our Mother Theresa and a pillar of strength to the people’s governor.
There were formal expressions of high praise, eulogy and prayers rendered to her by the indigent widows, the poor and the less privileged, of her magnanimity and uncommon generosity.
With an ambivalence of humility and exuberant friendliness, the first lady could not hide her over flowing joy, in her speech, she poured her gratitude to God for the opportunity given to her over the years to always be in the vanguard of women empowerment and also thanked her ever loving and caring husband, His Excellency, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha, a passionate humanitarian and philanthropist whose footsteps she has been following, her children and grand children for the over flowing love and care, members of staff in the Office of the first lady who organized the birthday without her knowledge, the indigent widows and the orphans that came to celebrate with her and the good people of Imo state for their prayers and support over the years.
The icing on the cake was when the people’s governor, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha took to the altar to shower encomiums to his beautiful and loving wife and took the audience down memory lane on how he spotted his lovely wife at the ripe age of 18 when he had nothing and like a marriage made in heaven both have been able to weather the storms.
He attributed his success in life to the prayers, support and the care of his loving wife. The people’s governor, in his words confessed that, “Ugo Nneoma is a good woman not just because she loves the widows but because she closes her eyes in the bad things I do”, and also prayed that that the same way the indigent widows surrounded and prayed for the first lady, so will the walls of Jerusalem surround her all the days of life.
Her efforts in eradicating poverty and putting smiles on the faces of women across the state are already paying off as felicitations and testimonies have continued to pour in of her goodness and generosity.
How wonderful it is when a woman’s life style is being admired by others because she is such a good person. Nneoma, the joy your exemplary leadership in women empowerment brings to Imo state is worth more the value of rubies.
Proverbs 12:4 aptly describes our quintessential mother, “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband…” Nneoma, you are not only a crown to your house hold but to generations of Imo state yet unborn.
As we continue to celebrate a virtuous woman, the Deborah of our time, a home builder, the mother of the motherless and the face of the indigent widows, my prayer for the first lady, like the indigent widows prayed on her birthday is that, she will live in good health to see her 4th generation.
Joseph Chimezie, writes from Owerri, Imo state.