From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
There was joy in Enugwu-Ukwu community in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State following the distribution of various empowerment items to youths of the community by the Senator I.G. Abana Foundation.
The foundation also distributed various items to the elderly in the community who have clocked 70 years and above. For the elderly, the foundation said it was one way of showing them affection.
Some of the empowerment items distributed to the youths included sewing machines, hair dryers, spraying machines, sets of electrical equipment, baking equipment, decoration kits, welding machines, industrial saw, and cash, among others.
The beneficiaries, it was gathered, were majorly those who had undergone some apprenticeship in various skills but did not have the financial muscle to start their own business.
To ensure that they wouldn’t get frustrated along the line as a result of being idle, the foundation provided them with the equipment and some cash with which they could start off.
This was not the first time the foundation was giving lifeline to the people of Enugwu-Ukwu and beyond. The recent one was the 11th edition of the annual empowerment programmes.
Since 2010, the foundation has been empowering the youths of the town and offering scholarships to the indigent students. These scholarships were given to primary school pupils and students in secondary and tertiary institutions.
There was also free medical treatment, which has benefitted over 2,000 patients every year since inception. During the medical outreach, free glasses were given out, even as medication for various ailments were also prescribed and given free.
Founder of the foundation, Senator Ikechukwu Godson Abana, while speaking at the event, thanked God for the opportunity given him to touch the lives of the people positively.
Abana, who represented Anambra Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, said he felt fulfilled each time he touched the lives of the people in special ways.
Abana said: “It has been a very interesting experience since the inception of this foundation 11 years ago. This was developed out of the personal experience I had. I thank God for everything because He made it possible for us to get to this stage.
“It is my prayer that He continues to guide and direct me so that I can continue in this project, which I can describe as laudable because I see the impact it is having on the society.
“It is helping people to help themselves. That’s what I believe in. I don’t believe in just giving you fish. I believe in giving you the net and the necessary instrument for you to go and fish for yourself.
“That’s exactly the base of the foundation. That’s why the motto is ‘touching lives positively.’ I don’t believe in giving you to eat. I believe in giving you to go and fend for yourself. And I think we have done fairly well. And, God willing, we’ll do better.
“It is not an Enugwu-Ukwu thing at all. We have a centre for the elderly. They’re about 300 in number and Enugwu-Ukwu people there are just about 100. All the neighbouring communities, Abagana, Nimo, Enugwu-Agidi, and Agwu-Ukwu Nri, are benefitting from it.
“We have had the privilege of introducing all those people. So, they would have introduced others. So, you see where they’re coming from? These are men and women who are 70 years and above.
“You have to be introduced by the president-general or the traditional ruler of your community before we accept you into the fold and we do a lot for them. It is the focal point of the foundation and that’s where we spend much money.
“This is because we provide them free medical treatment every Saturday, from January to December, four times in a month. You know their drugs are very expensive. But we’re keeping up.
“We have done that for about nine years now. We introduced it two years after the foundation started. Most beneficiaries of the foundation are from Enugwu-Ukwu but, the free medical treatment we do every year for two days, 70 per cent of the beneficiaries are not from Enugwu-Ukwu.
“People come from Awka, Ogidi, Nnewi and other places because we give eyeglasses and some of them are very expensive. And people come from different places for that. So, it is not an Enugwu-Ukwu thing but, because of proximity, Enugwu-Ukwu benefits more than any other community.”
Also, the member representing Njikoka 1 in the House of Assembly, Timothy Ifedioramma, commended Abana for his kindheartedness and urged him not to relent in his service to the people.
A member of the board of trustees of the foundation, Mr. Sam Ekpeh, said the foundation focuses on education, the elderly and poverty alleviation. He said that focus has been substantially achieved in the past 10 years.
President-general of Enugwu-Ukwu Community Development Union, Chief Bonny Ozo Nkwoaku, also commended the former lawmaker, saying the community would not forget his good works in the town.
Some of the beneficiaries, including David Anunobi, Chiamaka Okeke and Peace Anaike, thanked their benefactor, promising not to let him and their Enugwu-Ukwu people down.