Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has said that he will mark his 60th birthday with the physically challenged persons in the state.
The governor stated this on Saturday while inaugurating the Sickle Cell referral centre in Asaba.
The sickle cell centre is a pet project of the wife of the governor, Mrs Edith Okowa, and her “05′ Initiative” a Non- Governmental Organisation.
The referral centre in the General Hospital Asaba is the 13th centre in Central and General Hospitals spread across the state which were fully equipped by the initiative.
According to the governor, the inauguration is to celebrate the first lady’s birthday with those suffering from sickle cell disease.
He called on Nigerians to impact the lives of the poor and the less privileged in the society in line with the motto of the initiative, “Impact the world by helping one person at a time”.
The governor said that his wife had touched many lives with pet projects, adding that with the referral centre, there was hope for victims.
“The facility, which is well equipped, is donated to the state by the 05 Initiative, a non-governmental organisation founded by the wife of the Governor of Delta State, Dame Edith Okowa.
“I am glad that the 05 Initiative was founded and committed to helping one individual at a time.
“As Nigerians, if we impact on the life of one person positively, that person will go ahead to impact on the life of another person, and within a short period, we will have a country where the people will be willing at all times to help one another.
“This commissioning exercise is coinciding with the birthday celebration of my wife. While I say, happy birthday to her, I am glad that every year she celebrates her birthday touching the lives of other people.
“I will be celebrating my 60th birthday which will be coming up in the month of July with the physically challenged and the less privileged,” he said.
He thanked his wife for having the vision to assist people with sickle cell disorder and assist the hopeless in the society.
The governor also thanked all who supported the initiative, particularly private individuals.
He thanked them for touching lives and for giving hope to those suffering from sickle cell that the disease was no longer a death sentence.
The chairman of the occasion, Prof. Epiphany Azinge, in an opening remark, scored 05 Initiative high in meeting up with its vision.
“Activities of 05 initiative have blossomed tremendously; the scorecard is impressive; 05 Initiative is giving hope to the hopeless.
“This Sickle Cell Centre is the second of its kind in Nigeria and I congratulate and commend the founder of 05 initiative, Dame Okowa for her commitment to leaving a legacy that will endure for all time.
” This will reduce high mortality rate in persons dealing with sickle cell disorder and I urge every good- spirited individual and agency to sponsor the programme,” he said.
Mrs Betsy Obaseki and Mrs Martha Udom, wives of Governors of Edo State and Akwa Ibom States respectively, were among dignitaries who attended the ceremony, NAN reports.