Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The poor and indigent, including aged natives of Ogbunike community in Anambra State, had cause to smile recently when the Obi Azodo Foundation distributed various cash gifts to them to tackle various needs.
Founder of the foundation, Chief Obi Azodo, a real estate and maritime industry player, exemplifies the think-home philosophy of the Igbo, as he had in the past six years made remarkable impacts in community development and human empowerment, starting from his village, Amawa Ogbunike.
In the recent empowerment programme, the foundation distributed millions of naira to the indigent to cater for educational scholarship, trade and skills improvement. The group also provided succour for the elderly.
The distribution took place at the Civic Centre, which was also built by the foundation at Amawa Village, Ogbunike.
During the event, 71 elderly men and women who were above 85 years were given N5,000 each – and that would continue on a monthly basis. Besides that, 20 petty traders were also given N50,000 each to commence business or boost their businesses. Also at the event, 10 persons from tertiary institutions were given N100,000 each, while 20 students were paid their school fees and presented with writing materials.
Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Chief Obi Azodo (Okpataozuora Ogbunike), said he was motivated due to the present economic crunch, which, according to him, had affected socio-economic activities in the society, especially in his village.
Azodo stated that the vision of the foundation was to empower youths and offer economic respite to students and the aged in the village. He said that his wish was that those from various poor families whom the foundation was empowering would also rise someday to empower others. He said subsequent years might witness an increase in the number of beneficiaries. In his words, history was replete with those who started small but became great employers of labour eventually.
To the benefiting students, he said the guarantee for continuity was for the beneficiaries to prove their mettle in their academic pursuit by ranking among the best students in their academic category.
His words: “Before now, we have been doing philanthropic acts in churches, community development and touching lives of the less privileged. The motivation has to do with the decadence in the society, lack and want. I saw the plight of my people and reasoned that even a small amount of money can change somebody’s fortune. If you encourage somebody with little, he can do much more. Our target is the poor and the unreached in the society.
“Having considered lack of jobs, hunger and high level of unemployment, I decided to be offering assistance to my people across the six villages in Ogbunike.
“This empowerment and offer of scholarship will be an annual event. I urge the beneficiaries at all levels to make judicious use of the opportunity to make a living, as I will be impressed by their successes.”
Mrs. Alokwu Joesphine, chief nursing officer, Primary Healthcare Clinic, Ogbunike, burst into songs of praise when she received a brand new generator for the clinic, courtesy of the foundation. Recalling their predicament before now, she said erratic power supply to the clinic had hampered their operations seriously.
With the generator, she said, health workers at the clinic could now preserve their vaccines and be assured of their potency and efficacy when administered on residents. He also noted that pregnant women who normally experienced labour pains mostly at night could now be served with good lighting and ventilation from the fans.
She prayed that the donor would be blessed with longevity so he could reap the reward of his noble deeds on earth.
The coordinator of the Obi Azodo Foundation, Dr. Tony Isizoh, explained that the beneficiaries were painstakingly selected from clans in the six villages in Ogbunike.
Isizoh recalled that the foundation had contributed immensely to the development of the community through procurement of 200KVA transformer to Amawa Village, among other acts.
While explaining the modalities for selecting the beneficiaries across Ogbunike community, Mr. Isizoh urged other well-off individuals in Ogbunike to borrow a leaf from the Azodo Foundation, and invest in the community, as human investment was the highest investment.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Obiageli Ajoba, said she would invest the money she received in her provision store business, which had crashed before now because of paucity of funds.
Another beneficiary, Mr. Arinze Obidi, a 200 level student of Microbiology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who received a scholarship award of N100,000, could not hold back his tears. He told the gathering that things had fallen apart for him since he lost his father, while his educational future was under threat, until the foundation came to his rescue.
All the beneficiaries prayed that God would continue to bless the Azodo Foundation so that the gesture could be sustained.