The Ebonyi State Government has announced its plan to provide for the health insurance of elders and widows in the 2019 budget under its social welfare programme.
Governor David Umahi announced this on Saturday at the Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium in Abakaliki during a party organized by the State for the widows and the elderly.
Speaking at the event, which was part of activities marking the 58th Independence anniversary of Nigeria and 22 years of the State’s creation, Umahi noted that the vision of caring for the widows, the elderly and vulnerable was a divine assignment bestowed on
He said the State Government would henceforth put in place adequate plans to celebrate these class of people every three months, adding that care rendered to them amounts to services to God, which never passes unrewarded.
He further charged Council Chairmen and Coordinators of Development Centres in the State to take a cue form the gesture and device plans for regular health outreach to the windows and the elderly in their various domains, adding that the prayers of these group of people have contributed immensely to the successes recorded by his administration.
Umahi noted: “I know very well the word if God concerning looking after widows and the elders and that’s the highest prayer anybody can say to himself or herself.
“So, we are very confident that God is at peace with what we are doing and that’s why no matter how hard it is, we will continue to do it….
“What we do for the widows and elders are what we do to God and there are rewards for that.
“We are going to put in our 2019 budget a medical programme for the widows and the elderly in Ebonyi State.”
Umahi, who seized the occasion to warn the opposition never to contemplate manipulating the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies to thwart the will of the people come 2019 general election, stressed that in any event of such, the people would equally match it with their art of defence
He stressed: “If you use people that are supposed to be taking care of people, guarding them and they turn against the people, the people will now go and learn the art of defence of terrorism.”
In their separate speeches, the Senior Special Adviser to Governor Umahi on Religion and Welfare matters, Rev. Father Abraham Nwali, and the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Matters and Rural Development, Samuel Okoronkwo, who was also the chairman of the occasion, described the gesture by Umahi as first of its kind since the creation of the State.
They noted that the Governor from inception of his administration has made the event an annual ritual which bore great testimony to his compassionate and welfarist policy of governance.
Nwali, who admonished the elders to be sensitive to their health, urged the widows to anchor their utmost trust in God, praying for the State always.
In a vote of thanks, Chief Vincent Nwode, who spoke for the group, appreciated the Governor immensely for the gesture, which he described as rare.
Nwode cautioned the Ebonyi North and Central zones of the State, popularly known as the Umuekumenyi people, not to interfere with the equity process in the political leadership of the State by fielding gubernatorial candidates come 2019 and emphasized that Umahi’s second tenure was a right rather than a privilege.
He urged all citizens of the State to secure their Permanent Voter Cards as their only weapon to secure the deserved return of Imagination in next year’s election.
Nwode said: “Equity and justice demands that whatever went to the North and Central should go to the South.
“Some of us are privileged to have participated in the struggle and the late Ezeogo (Akanu Ibiam) was the key the success of this State’s creation
“Therefore, his zone must not be denied their equal chance.
“I therefore beg my brothers from the Abakaliki bloc not to interfere with this system.
“Whoever is thinking of taking over in 2019 is challenging God and those who fought for the creation of this State.
“Ebonyi South and Governor David Umahi should be given his next tenure.”
The windows and elders, numbering over 6,000, went home with cash and material gifts from the Governor.