Since he assumed office in March, 2014, Governor Willie Obiano has shown mercy and magnanimity on the down trodden and the wounded, especially the war veterans. And that is why the mercy of God has continued to manifest in his life; for the Bible is clear when it says in Matthew chapter 5, verse 7, blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
It would be recalled that, Chief Obiano, on January 10, 2015, led the people and government of Anambra State to rebury those who died in the Nigeria Civil War, but were yet to be buried properly in the traditional sense. The historic event, in which such leaders as a former Vice president of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ekwueme, GCON, now late, participated, was known as Ozo Emezina.
Most of the veterans are now old and frail. Quite a number of them suffer from various disabilities as a result of gunshots and other war-related experiences. In other words, they cannot fend for themselves and many of them do not have relatives strong enough to take care of them.
Governor Obiano has been doing his best to help these veterans who spent their most productive years in defense of their beloved people but in the process sacrificed their future. A thorough analysis of the needs of these veterans has shown that health is on top of their priority list.
Thus, Governor Obiano directed that all Civil War veterans be provided with quality medical services in the state at no cost to the veterans. Today, the veterans have been receiving medical treatment through the Health Insurance Scheme run by the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA).
Even the token amounts paid at hospitals by participants in the insurance scheme for treatment are written off by the state government. A committee that conducted a census of the veterans was set up under the leadership of Retired Air Vice Marshall Ben Chiobi.
The list produced by the committee is made up of the veterans in the state, regardless of whether they are indigenes of Anambra State or not. Governor Obiano also decided to include all members of the Rangers International Football Club of Enugu who played in the seventies and the early eighties among those currently benefiting from the health insurance at the state government’s expense. This is in recognition of their preeminent role in lifting up the spirit of our people at the end of the war.
Notably, since its re-launch on September 14, 2018, the Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme has registered hundreds of thousands individual participants who pay only N1,000 a month or N12,000 annually to receive a wide range of medical treatments, including advanced surgeries and lab.
Two hundred and sixty-eight leading hospitals are participating in the scheme, including Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku in Awka, as well as mission medical facilities.
Governor Obiano’s regime must be commended for its practical show of love and magnanimity to the war veterans and Rangers former players. It shows that the Governor is a welfarist, who understands the heartbeat of his people. He knows the plight and yearnings of Ndigbo. It also manifests that Akpokuedike is at a vantage position to know what is good for Ndi Anambra.
Kudos should equally go to Ndi Anambra who have been enrolling large numbers of their community in the scheme. Wealthy individuals, who can afford it, politicians and religious leaders should leverage on this wonderful opportunity to enroll their children, wards and the down trodden in the insurance scheme as part of their corporate social responsibility and as service to God.
Governor Obiano’s magnanimity is an eloquent testimony to the commitment of his administration to a caring and humane society. It is in furtherance of the practice of our people’s age-long philosophy of “Onye Aghana Nwanne Ya”. Ndi Anambra must be their brother’s and sister’s keeper at all times.
WRITTEN BY DR. NNAMDI NWADIOGBU