Economic inequality will end when women are empowered -Obioha, Entrepreneur – The Sun Nigeria


By Josfyn Uba

DR. Esther Obioha is an entrepreneur and philanthropist using her resources to impact the lives of vulnerable people in her community.

Obioha holds a BA in Computer Information Systems and a Masters in Business Administration. She is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate from CICA University and Seminary for her philanthropic work.

Obioha, a single mother who raised five graduate children, remains committed to helping those less fortunate. In 2020 she received the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Smart Ambassador Award from Diligent Care for Creative Intelligence Development.

In this interview with Daily sunshe talks about the need for collaboration and transparency in every company and other topics.

You are a brand in your community, arondizuogu; how did you do that?

Well, I’m not a brand yet. But I’m content to help. Giving is second nature to me as I grew up in a large family of givers. And I had a great childhood.

Would you say that your childhood experiences influenced this initiative?

First and foremost, I come from a large polygamous family in Arondizuogu, Imo State. In my family I was raised and raised with so much love and affection. My family was very open and generous, and I naturally embraced those values ​​as a child. I was born into a tradition of celebration and giving. We have this annual festival called Obioha Day and it’s celebrated every December. The essence of this tradition is to create and deepen family unity and nurture kindred souls. On this annual festival called Obioha Day, all wives cook various dishes and delicacies while family friends and strangers flock to take part, no one is turned away. It’s common for passers-by to just walk in and join in the merrymaking. This noble tradition that began before I was born still continues and will never end. Giving is therefore part of my nature and upbringing.

What are your challenges as an entrepreneur and as a woman?

I wouldn’t call it a challenge because I enjoy it. I love touching life; I love helping people, I love influencing lives. There are less fortunate people in our society struggling to make it. I realized that it is my passion in life. I would like to leave this world better than I found it. Although being a woman is a bit of a challenge because you are in a subordinate position in our society. One woman works particularly hard to overcome the hurdle to economic success. But more recently, the government appears to be doing something to close economic inequality and the wealth gap by creating opportunities for women to thrive. Women have not always been equal with men in the past, but thank goodness things are getting better today. As progressive advocacy strengthens, women, particularly in underdeveloped countries, will gain momentum.

Do you have plans to expand your development project and business skills across Nigeria knowing that there are many people in need here?

Some of us have probably heard the Igbo proverb or saying “aku lue uno okwu ebie” interpreted as “charity starts at home”. Yes, I’ve always believed in helping others no matter how limited my resources may be. It has been very difficult for over two years and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even worse. The cost of groceries has skyrocketed, so home hunger is a concern. Every little help goes a long way. And that’s why we tried to reach people in some orphanages in Lagos. We gave out toys, food and even cash donations. Similarly, we have made monetary donations in Abuja and Owerri. Other support in my community includes the distribution of rice sacks and pasta boxes to relive the hardship of COVID-19. During the pandemic, we bought sewing machines and made face masks that we donated to charity for free.

Would you mind working with well-meaning Nigerians to help with this initiative?

Collaboration is a great way for NGOs to scale up by partnering with larger NGOs with notoriety and credibility. Other types of partnerships can be through foundations and respected political leaders. Unfortunately I have been disappointed several times in the past. NGOs must ensure transparency in their charitable work. But regardless of my past experiences, my zeal to help the poor and needy will never falter. Robert Green Ingersoll, a well-known American lawyer, writer, and orator, was the one who said, “We rise by uplifting others.”

Similar organizations exist everywhere, even abroad. How did you and your advocacy stand out from others?

Ours is characterized by the fact that we don’t just distribute food. We also support young adults caught in the web of the criminal justice system by providing counseling and connecting them to positive role models to build economic security, personal empowerment and more. We seize every opportunity we have to touch life, no matter how limited our resources may be. My passion is touching lives and doing my best to help those less fortunate.

What have you and your organization done for humanity?

I have volunteered with my five children in disasters, in soup kitchens, sometimes helping to pack supplies for shipment to people in third world countries who have been displaced or are suffering the ravages of war. Other times we rescue families and their children from malnutrition and hunger. We also supported needy students with school fees. We have also sent monetary aid to those in camps for internally displaced persons.

What do you think the Nigerian government should do to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses?

I would like the Nigerian government to help create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs, including the provision of loans with little or no interest to be paid. Small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the engine for the growth of the local economy, should be encouraged. The government should invest in agriculture and create sustainable jobs for youth and graduates. What does the state do for young people? Many complain about the lack of jobs for young people and academics. Do you imagine not being employed after university? The frustration can drive some to engage in nefarious activities and crimes. I plead with our government and even our first ladies to help create opportunity for our youth. These youth are the leaders of tomorrow. We should take care of their problems and well-being before it’s too late.

What would you like to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered for changing the lives of the less fortunate with limited resources. I want my legacy to be that I left this world better than I entered it.


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