By Eunice Emeyazia
Call it an advocacy visit with tourist attraction of sort, and you would not be wrong. Visitors trouped in and out of the Mount Ned Nwoko castle, Idumuje Ugboko, in Aniocha North Local Government Area, and one could only wonder what was going on.
A traditional dance group consistently entertained guests with local tunes as they awaited their turn, while the Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko gave adequate attention to each guest separately and at the same time, sending messages to the waiting visitors to exercise patience.
The reason for the many visitors could be attributed to the kind and receptive nature of Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko coupled with the fact that he is not always in the Castle. He had just entered town.
For members of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists NAWOJ Delta State, they had one mission in mind, PARTNERSHIP that would benefit members of the society.
The Association comprising female journalists practicing in the state, is a strong voice, known for their passion in advocating the rights of the vulnerable in the society, especially issues affecting women and children.
In her remarks, the chairperson of Delta NAWOJ said the Association has observed closely the activities of Hon Prince Ned Nwoko as a lawyer, politician and philantropist, and were particularly impressed with the Eradicate Malaria in Africa Project being championed by his foundation, adding that the Project was in line with the Delta Must be Clean programme of Delta NAWOJ.
Comrade Gbemudu said part of the vision of NAWOJ’S founders is to preserve the right of the public to know the truth, which informed the Association’s advocacy Programmes such as DELTA MUST BE CLEAN, where they emphasize on preventing the breed of disease causing insects and rodents, which thrive in dirty environment, the KNOW YOUR GENOTYPE Campaign, Campaign against RAPE & SEXUAL BASED VIOLENCE, establishment of NAWOJ FRITH CLUB in secondary schools, advocacy visits to stakeholders, as well as sensitization on other salient issues on streets, schools, communities, traditional and social media platforms.
She frowned at the manner Africans handled malaria with kids glove in Nigeria, even when many continue to die of the disease, saying that there is need to intensify efforts to ensure that malaria is eradicated completely from the African continent.
Comrade Gbemudu pointed out that DELTA NAWOJ has been behind the scene, supporting the efforts of the Ned Nwoko foundation in its fight to eradicate malaria, especially with the Association’s solidarity banners and jingles which have flooded the media space, adding that the visit was to officially intimate Prince Ned Nwoko and to know if there were other areas the Association could lay more emphasis in its campaign against malaria and other dirt related diseases.
Responding, Prince Ned Nwoko commended Delta NAWOJ for its advocacy Programmes, especially the Delta Must be Clean campaign, saying that if everyone kept their environment clean, mosquitoes would not breed.
He said his Foundation was supporting the existing efforts of vaccine development, by funding a research for the anti-malaria vaccine through a partnership with leading universities in Africa, adding that a clinical trial would have started if not for the covid19 pandemic.
Prince Nwoko said his passion to see the end of malaria in Africa took him and some members of his team to South Pole, Antarctica for the Malaria Awareness campaign, where he was told that he was the only Nigerian that have ever made it to Antarctica, because of the cold in the region.
He said the realisation that his hometown Idumuje Ugboko was about a hundred feet above sea level and do not have a single mosquito, inspite of the environment, birthed the idea of the Eradicate Malaria in Africa Project being handled by his non governmental organization, the Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation.
Prince Nwoko in the next few months, he would look into placing waste management plants in the different senatorial districts of the state, as part of the Eradicate Malaria in Africa Project, adding that the move would generate revenue and create employment in the state.
At the end of the discussion with members of Delta NAWOJ, Hon Prince Ned Nwoko took them on a brief tour round the Mount Ned Nwoko castle, where they saw the water fountain, underground tunnel, uniquely designed Olympic sized swimming pool, pyramid, a ping-pong table, a billiard table, a lawn tennis court, and a tower that tested the physical fitness of visitors.