The Delta State government is giving credence to the popular axiom that “the greatest happiness of the majority is the yardstick for measuring goodness”.
This, perhaps, has been the propelling force behind the seemingly state government's commitment to improve the welfare of Deltans, particularly the physically-challenged persons.
The state government through the ministry of commerce and industry, in collaboration with the office of the executive assistant to the governor on the physically-challenged recently, gave out the sum of N1 billion to no fewer than 200 people living with disabilities in the state under the kitchen/cottage industries programme.
Hotel Benizia, Asaba, venue of the event, was enveloped with joy and excitement as beneficiaries and their relatives, who had arrived much earlier from all parts of the state before the commencement of the day's proceeding, were all beaming with smiles. The ceremony was supervised by the deputy governor of the state, Professor Amos Utuama, (SAN).
Done with all formalities, the deputy governor took the centre stage to address the beneficiaries. He assured the physically-challenged people of state government's resolve to continue to partner with them to improve their lot. Prof. Utuama commended ministry of commerce and industry in conjunction with the office of executive assistant to the governor on physically-challenged, for the initiative. He challenged other ministries, departments and agencies on the welfare of people living with disabilities.
He equally urged the beneficiaries to use the money judiciously to enhance their living conditions. In her remarks, the executive assistant to the governor on physically-challenged, Ms Omasan Buwa, thanked the state government for its commitment to the welfare of physically-challenged people in the state and the ministry of commerce and industry, for partnering with her office to put smile on the faces of the affected people.
She charged the beneficiaries to make good use of the grant [money) to better their lot saying that the state government has their interest at heart and would continue to empower them through skills acquisition and scholarships and other things in order to improve their living standards.
Her words, "We are very proud of you; we believe in your ability, despite being physically-challenged, because there is ability in disability. Today's event is another milestone in the human capital development agenda of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan-led administration".
Omasan Buwa, who is the brain behind the Rehabilitate, Interact, Skills and Empowerment [RISE) initiative aimed at making persons with disabilities not only self-employed but also employers of labour, lauded the physically-challenged for their cooperation, understanding and peaceful disposition.
The governor's aide enjoined them to remain supportive of the present administration, pointing out that government has a lot of goodies for them in the years ahead. The beneficiaries who included Mr. Kingsley Emeni, Mr, Nkem Ofili, Austin Obaka and others thanked the state government for its kind gesture and Buwa for her care, passion and love for them, assuring that they would make judicious use of the grant to better their lot.
On his part the chairman, the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAP-WD) Mr. Newyear Orodi, thanked the state government for its benevolence and Buwa whom she described as a mother to them even as he pledged their continued support and loyalty to the state government.
Recalled that some physically-challenged persons, last year, at the same Hotel Beni-zia, were given scholarship by the state government to pursue their education in various institutions of higher learning across the country. Also in 2011, the state government, through the office of the executive assistant to the governor on the physically-challenged, empowered some persons living with disabilities across the 25 local government areas of the state with money, recharge cards, tables, chair, and umbrellas to start phone call business.
Observers say the physically-challenged people have never had so good under the present administration in state, the reason why they have constantly commended the state government for its irrevocable commitment to their well-being, and Omasan Buwa for her efficient and effective coordination and mobilization of people living with disabilities across the state to benefit from government's programmes.
Experts believe that one of the basic requirements for sustainable economic growth is the systematic development of human resources. Apparently in this regard, the Delta State Government has given a scholarship award to 99 physically challenged students and 343 children of the deceased civil servants across the state.
The commissioner of higher education, Prof. Hope Eghagha, while presenting a cheque of N1billion to the physically challenged students recently, said the scholarship awards to children of civil servants who died in active service was to cushion the economic crunch of the families, adding that the money would alleviate their sufferings.
Professor Eghagha explained that concerted efforts have been made to sustain financial assistance to the needy to enable them access education.
According to him: “Governor Uduaghan led-administration has been disposed to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor especially the physically challenged students of the state who are in dare need of the state assistance”.
The chairman bursary and scholarship board Delta State, Rev. Fr. Buchi thanked the state government for releasing the scholarship fund stressing that the gesture would go along way with a view to assisting the poor especially the physically challenged students to pursue their academics and their set goals in the nation building.
He said: “I urge the physically challenged students who have not benefited from this scheme to apply as the scheme will continually assist the less privileged”.
One of the beneficiaries, a 300 level computer science student of the Delta State University Abraka, expressed joy and thanked the governor for his magnanimity in assisting the less privileged.