By Vincent Ujumadu
WHEN Mrs. Chiamaka Ezedienyi, a full time housewife, from the sleepy community of Nnobi in Idemili South local government area of Anambra State, gave birth to five babies two years ago, her home became a Mecca of sort as many people travelled from far and near to catch a glimpse of the babies who God brought into the poor home of Mr. Ezedienyi and his wife. One of the babies, however, died shortly after the woman was delivered of them, leaving four who eventually survived. After their birth, their parents could not afford the hospital bill and so, mother and babies were detained even though they were healthy enough to be discharged. Their story got to neighbouring communities and that was how philanthropist and business man, Chief Louis Onwugbenu, Chairman of Louis Carter Industries, Nnewi, came to know about them.
Onwugbenu visited, paid the hospital bill and gave the mother some money to enable her look after the four babies. Since then, Mrs. Ezedienyi said she had not been able to reach Onwugbenu to thank him for the favour, which, she admitted, was the reason she and the four babies were alive.
Last week, an opportunity came for her to meet Onwugbenu face to face during the celebration of his 63rd birthday in Nnewi and, as the celebrant and his friends and well wishers were at the peak of the event, a woman was sighted with four near -identical children of the same age entering the arena. Attention immediately shifted to them, with many people carrying the babies and giving them money.
Immediately, information reached Onwugbenu that they were the children he paid their hospital bill two years ago at Nnobi. Onwugbenu was excited and began to praise God for the survival of the babies.
Recalling the event, Onwugbenu said: “In 2014, I remember someone telling me that a woman gave birth to five babies and that one died immediately. We were in a function when the information came; we suspended the event to enable me visit the babies and their mother in hospital to lend a helping hand to the four surviving ones.
“I demanded to know their house, and when I was taken there, what I saw was very pathetic. I assisted them then and promised to take care of their education to the highest level. I am therefore happy to see them today looking very healthy. My prayer is that God will keep them to become what He has destined for them.”
There was jubilation when Onwugbenu, there and then, handed the four children over to members of the Board of his scholarship scheme for the formal registration of the children into the scheme. The scheme has over 100 people in tertiary institutions locally and internationally and more at the secondary and primary school levels.
Mother of the children, who shed tears of joy as Onwugbenu made the pronouncement, expressed gratitude to God for bringing him to her family. She said the greatest problem worrying her was what to do about the children’s education, considering that her husband was unemployed.
A Catholic priest, Monsignor Onwuasomba, under whom Onwugbenu served as altar boy at the end of the Nigeria civil war and who was among the guests during the birthday celebration, said he was not surprised that the philanthropist could do such a thing.
“It is his nature to assist people without asking where they came from and I wish other Nigerians who were blessed like him would emulate his actions,” he said.