EVEN at close range, not many people in Edo State may be able to know or can easily recognise Betsy Obaseki, wife of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.
Those who know her well say it is not because her husband was only sworn in to office on November 12, 2016, but simply because Mrs Obaseki, is one who neither takes to frivolities nor plays to the gallery; hence, her quiet disposition to life.
However, the Yuletide period afforded the Edo first lady the opportunity to get closer to those who are close to her heart- the less privileged.
On the eve of Christmas, Mrs Obaseki chose to accompany her husband, Governor Obaseki, and others to the International Christian Centre, a camp in Uhogua on the outskirts of Benin that houses about 1,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The event, packaged by Mrs Obaseki alongside the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Maryan Shaibu, afforded the IDPs the opportunity to add spark to their lives as they made merry with the two women, dancing and singing.
It was indeed a day they will not forget as they dined and wined with members of the governor’s entourage.
It was at the IDP camp that Governor Obaseki and his Deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, famously garbed in Santa Claus outfits, thrilled the IDPs, presenting them all with wonderful gifts.
Speaking at the occasion, Mrs Obaseki explained that there was no better way to show love this season to the people who had been displaced from their homes, than to organize such a party meant to comfort them in the spirit of the season.
The first lady’s spirit of kindness also came into play with her visit to three government-owned hospitals on Christmas day.
Three hospitals included the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) in Ovia North East Local Government Area, the Benin Central Hospital in Oredo and the Stella Obasanjo Women and Children Hospital in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area respectively.
From one maternity ward to another at the different hospitals, Mrs Obaseki distributed gift items to the infants and cash to the nursing mothers, sharing in their burden and their joyous moments.
Not able to conceal his emotions, the Chief Medical Director of the Central hospital, Dr. Ballot Uwadiae, said “the First Lady has done a good thing by visiting these women and their children; “She has brought joy to the families by choosing to celebrate Christmas with them”. The CMD commended Mrs Obaseki’s initiative to spend the Christmas season with the infants and their mothers, some of whom he said have passed through various ordeals.
On the joy that accompanied celebrating Christmas with the infants and their mothers, Mrs. Obaseki said she was privileged to be allowed to share the joy of the season with those at the hospital.
“This is the kind of thing I derive pleasure from. It is what Christmas celebration is all about. The season is for us to go out and share the little we have and to extend love as well as support to those in the hospital.”
Also at a Christmas get-together organized by the state government for women, Mrs Obaseki urged Edo women to rise up and occupy positions in the administration of the country, especially within the state.
Addressing the gathering, the First Lady expressed her belief of the possibility of having a woman become the governor of the state, adding that this was achievable only if they eschewed pettiness, fighting and quarrelling among themselves..
She also appreciated the women for their support in the last gubernatorial elections from which her husband emerged as Governor.
Mrs. Obaseki expressed her husband’s belief that women were most active and loyal in politics, saying that the governor had therefore directed party leaders across the state to ensure that “one out of every three leaders is a woman.”
“Yesterday, my husband made one comment. He said he found women are more active and more loyal in politics. And so, we must celebrate ourselves.
“This is just to celebrate you all and every one of you, and to thank you for all your support in bringing us here,” she said.
Speaking against partisan appointments, she noted that: “We are in office to look after everyone. God has chosen to visit Edo.
“ We didn’t come into governance here only by the grace of APC members, because we found out that during the course of the election, many non-APC members voted for the APC candidate.
“ Our party members also appreciate the fact that at this stage in our work, we are not partisan. And so, we are open to everyone.”
Also present at the Christmas party were the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Maryann Shaibu, the Deputy Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Mrs.) Elizabeth Ativie, wife of the national chairman of the APC, Mrs. Victoria Oyegun, the Head of Service, Mrs. Gladys Idahor, among others.