By Monica Chidinma Eze
Hurray o! Hurray o!! Hurray o!!! Chief Mrs Racheal Ogonna Umahi the Erimma 1 of Ebonyi State, the Ogoo-Nwanyi 1 of Uburu, the amiable First Lady of Ebonyi State and most importantly the wife of the innovative and wonder working Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi FNSE,FNATE is 46 today to the glory of God. A woman of extraordinary excellence, embedment of humanity, selfless services and philanthropist par excellence is worthy to be celebrated even on this auspicious occasion of her birthday. A woman who has defied various odds and challenges to become the First lady of Ebonyi State only proves that she is on a divine mission to liberate and provide succour to our women in Ebonyi State.
I am glad to note that at a period when women hardly survives in marriages for more than ten years, this virtuous woman with great and impeccable heart of gold not only have kept her marriage for 26 years but have assisted so much to make her family to become not only the First Family in Ebonyi State but one of the families that have become a study in sagacity and morality. A woman who dazzles like the morning star, a beauty wrapped in human flesh has become a study and a challenge to most christain families today on how to sustain a god-fearing family.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson, an American politician and academic who served as the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921, with Rachael Umahi in mind once stated: “There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.” After a critical observation of the above quote, Mrs Umahi, wife of the Ebonyi State Governor and founder of the Family Succour & Upliftment Foundation Programme, who has through her pet project redefined philanthropy, charity and selfless service to humanity rightly came to my mind.
Thomas S. Monson, in his own reaction after studying Mrs Umahi’s works to humanity, have reason to state: “When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes.” Rachael Umahi has through her pet project not only brought succour to the people of Ebonyi State but, most importantly, brought the purpose of God to the people of the state. A critical study of Umahi’s activities in Ebonyi State brought to the fore what the Holy Spirit tried to state in James 1:27: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (KJV)
Rachael Umahi who was born under the Zodiac Sign Aries in March have lived out the life contained in her Horoscope star: “good hearted, good at expressing herself, outstanding conversationalist, evolutionary, embodied with great leadership skills, energetic, romantic, a thinker, doer, wonderful organiser and workaholic are some of the true characteristic of this epitome of true womanhood. Carefully read through the Aries Sign and you will be reading about Chief Mrs. Rachael Umahi but if you are not satisfied with the Aries Signs then read Proverbs Chapter 31 verses 10 to 31 and you would have captured her true nature.
Let us consider just few of the verses of Proverbs 31 that was authored by the Holy Spirit with Mrs. Umahi in mind; “Proverbs 31:10. Who can find a virtuous woman? For her prize is far above rubies.11. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.12. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.13. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.14. She is like the merchant’s ships; she bringeth her food afar.15. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household and a portion to her maidens.16. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.17. she girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.18. she perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.19. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 20. She strectcheth out her hand to the poor, yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.21. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.22. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her cloth is silk and purple.23. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.24. She maketh fine linen and selleth it; and delievereth girdles unto the merchant.25. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.26. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.27. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.28. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also and he praiseth her.29. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.30, favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.31. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates”.
Frankly speaking all these verses have one thing or the other to express about this woman that that have changed the life of Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi to what it is by today.
In line with Proverbs Chapter 31 verse 20. “She strectcheth out her hand to the poor, yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy”, Based on this, this great Philanthropist of our time founded the Family Succour &Upliftment Foundation Programethrough which she has touched thousands of lives positively and became a strong voice for the upliftment of the widows and the less privileged in Ebonyi State.
According to Chapter 31 verse 26. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness”, Today, she has become a very vibrant voice in the politics of Ebonyi State and have toured almost all the Local Government Areas of Ebonyi spreading the good news of the feats of her husband in transforming Ebonyi State to a modern State and setting up political structures for the reelection bid of our wonder working Governor come 2019.
In line with Proverbs 31 verse 31. “Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates”; This Amazon in Ebonyi State have fought to a standstill various dehumanizing and harmful practices against women especially Female Gentile Multiliation and cutting (FGM/C) and restored the dignity of women in Ebonyi State
Through her pet project, she has facilitated numerous social development programmes for Ebonyi women and children, particularly as it relates to primary health-care and welfare programmes. To further drive home her determination to improving upon the socio-economic status of Ebonyi women and children, barely two weeks upon the swearing-in of her husband as the governor, she embarked upon advocacy visits to several agencies and organisations, such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation UN Women, WHO, Society for Family Health, and other agencies and organisations, to garner support and partnership for the successful actualisation of her programmes on effective development of Ebonyi women and children.
She donated agricultural support materials, such as fertilisers and herbicides and other farming input to widows and youths of the state, through the support of IFAD project on the day of the launching of her pet project.
She has used her pet project to positively affect and influence lives in the state, through the paying of medical bills of indigent patients, mobilsiation of women towards better family, as well as partnering with USAID/PMI and the Ministry of Health, in sustaining support towards the elimination of malaria and assisting those suffering from VVF in the state.
This United States government crowned Net Ambassador has continued with her advocacy and mobilisation of people towards the fight against malaria. She expressed delight that many people now sleep inside the insecticidal treated bed nets.
Besides, that 18 agro-based cooperative societies were empowered with N1 million each, to enable them enhance agricultural activities through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The 18 cooperative societies were drawn from six local government areas, namely: Abakaliki, Izzi, Ikwo, Ezza South, Afikpo South and Ishielu.
Speaking while handing over cheques to beneficiaries, Mrs Umahi commended the idea of empowering the people, particularly women through the agro grant. Mrs Umahi charged the benefitting cooperative societies to make judicious use of the funds.
Building 172 houses for widows
Under this strategy, at least 172 widows and non-indigenes in Ebonyi State are to receive two-bedroom bungalow each, as succour to alleviate their sufferings. Mrs Umahi who disclosed this during the foundation- laying of two of the buildings at Uburu in Ohaozara and Amike-Aba councils noted that the beneficiaries were carefully selected from each of the state’s 171 wards, adding that the project is part of the programmes of her pet project, Family Succour and Upliftment Programme. She stated that apart from the fight against female genital mutilation, her office had to embark on the provision of accommodation for the indigent widows, because they were often victims of harmful traditional practices.
She promised to fight until all harmful practices against women were stopped and urged women to stand against such practices that are inimical to their welfare, and participate in politics to lend constructive voices in the issues of governance and welfare of the families.
She explained that society would be better for all if the women are encouraged and consulted in the evolution of policies that concern them and their children. Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Samuel Okoronkwo who led the state executive council members, said the government was interested in the projects because of their impact on the lives of those who could ordinarily be forgotten, noting that the major essence of a woman is to be a helper, even in schemes of governance.
The International Committee and Advisory Board of McKing’s Media Productions (Publisher of TREK Magazine) officially announced in her 2016 Edition of the Annual Prestigious ‘Trek Africa Awards’ (TAWA) on Sunday September 18, 2016 recognised and appreciated Mrs Umahi, wife of the governor of Ebonyi State, for her humanitarian services in Ebonyi State.
TREK Africa Awards is a continental showpiece geared at acknowledging and celebrating personalities who have excelled in different spheres and made their lifestyles exemplary for the younger generation to emulate. It’s maiden edition in 2014 assembled creme de la crèmes of Nigeria and Ghana with over 600 high profile male and female personalities which cut across various spheres, including politics, banking, industries, judiciary, media, entertainment, pageantry, to name a few.
According to the Publisher of TREK Magazine, Mr Oki Samson Olatunji, the initiative of TAWA is to acknowledge and celebrate Africa’s exemplary personalities with great impact and resilient spirit, who have reached into the slums and hinterlands to break the stronghold of ignorance within the vast populace and empowered their society with opportunities.
Mrs Umahi’s exceptional performance among the 36 states’ first ladies in the country in the last one year in office earned her this award and accolade as the ‘Most Performing First Lady Of The Year’, In The Trek Africa Award TAWA2016.
The award organisers noted: “The tall fair-skinned and beautiful wife of Ebonyi State Governor, Mrs Umahi, was voted as the ‘Most Performing First Lady’ having painstakingly reviewed her distinguished office performance and humanitarian services among the other first ladies in the last one year of office. She has advanced and promoted advocacy on issues affecting the well-being of women, children/youths, coupled with her exemplary leadership style, demonstration of excellence and empowerment initiatives that has improved the standard of living of the good people of Ebonyi State, by extension, Nigeria through her foundation – ‘Family Succour And Upliftment Foundation Programme’ – in consonance with government policy and complementing the very good works of His Excellency, Engr Dave Umahi.”
It is our utmost expectation that, after this highly ranked award, they will continue to be exemplary personality for the younger generation to emulate.
The fact remains that March 23, 1972 will forever remain evergreen in the lives of Ebonyi State people, particularly to the family of Mr and Mrs Chukwu and Eunice Akpa of Umuobuna, Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, as that was the day, God in his infinite mercy and wisdom blessed the State with the birth of a golden daughter, Chief (Mrs) Rachael Ogonna Umahi, who has assited her husband to turn the fortunes of Ebonyi State around. This great lady of the moment, who celebrates her 46 years on earth this 23rd day of March 2018 attended Umuobuna/Uhuaba Community Primary School, Uburu between 1979 and 1985 from where she got her First School Leaving Certificate. She obtained her West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1999, from Immaculate Girls Secondary School, Aba, Abia State. She obtained a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in 2007, from Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt, in 2002. She is credited with several post-graduation experiences in human and resource management in the private sector, before she became the wife of the executive Governor of Ebonyi State.
Tony Robbins, with my auntie in mind, stated: “Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.”
From my accounts so far, one can conclude that Mrs Umahi only derives joy in helping people who are in need. As she turns 46 and matures into great personality, Ebonyi State and her people will surely have the best from this gift of God to us.
Finally, I urge all Ebonyi women and, indeed, women all over the world, to appreciate and encourage the humanitarian efforts of Chief (Mrs) Rachael Umahi, who has used her pet project to bring succour to the women of Ebonyi State in various ways.
Mum, God who saw you this far will surely take you to your desired destination in Jesus Name. Congratulations and happy birthday to the greatest Philanthropist of our time!