By Jude Atupulazi
The immediate past Chief of Staff in the administration of Chief Willie Obino, Chief Dr Primus Odili, has counseled against some discriminatory tendencies towards persons living with sickle cell disease, while calling for their all-round inclusion in all spheres of the economy where they are deemed qualified.
Chief Primus Odili made this call at his recent visit to the Sickle Cell Orphanage and Underprivileged Home, Agulu, to familiarize himself with the activities and goings in the home. He was accompanied by Rev Fr John Manafa, a former government house chaplain.
The duo were instrumental in bringing about many achievements recorded in the past administration of Willie Obiano, and had been a voice for the voiceless, particularly the Association of People Living with Sickle Cell Disorder, especially as it concerned humanitarian aid.
Chief Odili expressed satisfaction with how sickle cell children in the home were being groomed and well nurtured, saying it would be uncharitable for anyone to either stigmatize or discriminate against persons living with sickle cell disease. He recalled how the past administration prioritized giving people with disabilities an equal opportunity to serve in the government MDA’s.
‘The past administration took it as a matter of policy to absorb people living with disability into the state civil service, giving them an equal opportunity to serve their fatherland and contribute their own quota to the development of Anambra State,’ Primus surmised.
Odili thereafter cleared the term’s school fees of all children in the home, from primary to secondary, advising them to take their studies seriously as education remained a potent key for unlocking diverse opportunities. He also promised to feature amply in the 2022 UN World Sickle Cell Day event scheduled to hold on June 19 at Madonna Catholic Church, Agulu.
In his own contribution, Rev Fr Manafa observed how the sickle cell disease had become overwhelming to the health sector, challenging health experts to be scientifically responsive in addressing chronic sickle cell cases. He also added his voice to the call against the stigmatization and discrimination of persons living with sickle cell disease.
Rev Fr Manafa had on three occasions, financially assisted the association from his salary to provide caskets and other necessities for the burial of three indigent deceased members of APLSCD, thereby accentuating the Lord’s command for believers to mourn with those who mourn.
The National Coordinator of APLSCD, Mrs Aisha Edward Maduagwu, while receiving the august visitors, thanked Chief Odili and Rev Fr Manafa for being part of the administration that assented to the Sickle Cell Law in Anambra State. She further expressed gratitude to Chief Odili for the school fees, describing him as a shining star from Anambra North whose administrative and political antecedents were set to eclipse other contenders for the zone’s senatorial seat in 2023.
‘Anambra North is blessed to have quite an embodiment of humility, honesty and unifier. Primus Odili ticks all the boxes when it comes to ensuring people oriented courses,’ Maduagwu said.