From Emmanuel Uzor, Abakaliki
Mrs. Regina Patrick had come just like other widows, numbering 3,000 from the various parts of Ebonyi State to benefit from the empowerment scheme of Governor David Umahi.
But Mrs Patrick who hails from Amagu-Onicha in Abakaliki Local Government Area could only stand from afar to witness the presentation of cheques to widows as part of empowerment scheme organised by the state in collaboration with the office of the First Lady, Mrs Rachael Umahi at the main bowl of the Abakaliki township stadium as her baby came knocking.
Before the attention of the wife of the governor who was at the podium, assisting her husband in distributing the cheques and other valuables to the widows from all the three senatorial zones could be drawn to the situation at hand, Regina’s baby was already kicking out of the womb.
Though there was little or no hitches in the delivery of the little baby christened Rachael Umahi at the stadium as it was a women event, people stood from a distance, discussing and praising God for the miracle of the day.
Many held that the baby came at the right time when her mother was receiving financial aid from the state government.
Regina had lost her first child in a painful manner through electrocution before the worst happened. .
The death of her husband few months added to her sorrows. She was three months pregnant when the incident happened and.
Some of the challenges staring Regina in the face were how to fend for her children and cope with her pregnancy.
She kept on living with these problems when she was nominated among the indigent widows to benefit from the first phase of widow empowerment scheme of the Ebonyi State government.
Before Regina met her double joy that has turned her life around, she was forced into meat-selling business in a local market in her locality.
Though the business was so difficult and she mulled dumping it for another on different occasions, Regina continued in it, hoping for a better day ahead.
When the announcement signaling the commencement of the first phase of the widow empowerment scheme hit the airwave, indigent widows from the various electoral wards across the state were nominated by their local government areas to benefit from the scheme of N100, 000 each to enable them start up any business of their choice and Regina was among them from her electoral ward.
She had boarded a vehicle to Abakaliki Township stadium where the event was held believing to just receive her own money and return home and celebrate that God had finally shown her mercy.
But shortly after arriving at the stadium, Regina started having contraction which lasted for some few minutes.
Being women event, her fellow women quickly surrounded her with many proffering solutions and a final decision was taken to get a tricycle (Keke) to rush her to the Federal Teaching Hospital, FETHA, which was few metres away from the stadium.
But while arrangements were on top gear, Regina quickly entered into labour, prompting other widows to gather around her, with all the women removing one of the wrappers to form an emergency labour room and took her through labour and she put to bed at the field right inside the stadium.
The wife of the governor who was with her husband was notified of the incident and she rushed to the scene and ordered that both Regina and her new-born baby be rushed to the Federal Teaching Hospital for proper medical attention.
Mrs Umahi danced and met her husband and briefed him on the incident and the governor donated the sum of N1 million to the baby, promising a state scholarship to the university level for the baby in addition to the N100, 000 accruable to the mother.
When the news was broken to Mrs Patrick that the governor has lifted her family while she was being taken care of at the hospital, she broke down in tears and expressed gratitude to God for using Governor Umahi and his wife to bring her family out from poverty.
Her words: “We were told in the village to start coming to Abakaliki Township stadium that our governor wants to give widows some packages and I prepared myself and came to the stadium. When I entered the stadium gate, I started having contraction and started looking for tricycle to take me to the hospital but I did not see any. I suddenly entered into labour and my colleagues rushed me and helped me to deliver the baby.
“The caterpillar that was bulldozing the place for ongoing reconstruction of the stadium was working in the corner I was taken to by my colleagues to deliver the baby.
“I was having four children before the birth of this girl today but my first son was electrocuted. My husband died after the electrocution, leaving three children behind for me. It has not been easy for me feeding them and I am very grateful to our governor whom God has used to remember me and my children. I have been selling meats in our local government to feed my children. I buy on credit and pay back after selling. At times, those I buy the meat from will get angry with me for not paying them or on time. Life since after my husband’s death has not been rosy for me but I thank God that today, He has blessed me”.
Governor Umahi while addressing the widows at the stadium announced that he would train the baby named after his wife, Rachel to the university level while each of the widows will receive N100, 000.
“There is a woman whom I was told gave birth in this celebration ground and as I was deliberating with my wife on how possible she became pregnant, they said she took in before her husband died six months ago. We will give that child a name. Her name will be four, Rachel Mgborie David plus her late dad’s name. Rev Fr. Nwali will use the sum of N1million to open an account for the child.
“The baby will be called Rachel Mgborie, David and her late father’s name as after discussing with my wife, we decided to offer her scholarship up to university level no matter where we would be”, he said.
He thanked his wife and all those who took care of the widows and announced a donation of N100, 000 to 10 widows each from the 171 wards of the state, N5, 000 transportation fee and two-5kg bag of rice each.