By Koko Ita
Behind every successful man it is said there is a woman. There lies strength in the woman which if optimally harnessed and directed makes for holistic progress and prosperity in any society.
This fact is evident in very unique ways in our everyday lives and surely, as aptly sung by 1980’s R&B band Klymaxx, “Never underestimate the power of a woman”.
There exists a rare breed of women who have transformed this power into a formidable force, channelled at inspiring and empowering the lot of women and humanity as a whole, the world over in the drive to improve their lives. .
One of such women is Ugo Nneoma Nkechi Rochas Okorochas, wife of Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorochas.
For a truth, the power behind the resolve of Nneoma Okorochas to improve the lot of humanity is so profound it would be a mistake to underestimate it.
Ugo is one woman who stands perfectly tall in the noble league of women that are compassionately touching the lives of the downtrodden in society.
A woman of exceptional brilliance and diligence, whose passion to uplift the disadvantaged in society is remarkably fervent, Nneoma”s compassion for the welfare of the family led her to establish the Women of Divine Destiny Initiative (WODDI) through which she has been affecting humanity positively, long before moving into the state house as first lady; a distinguishing fact that proves the genuineness of her cause.
Now as first lady of Imo state, she has expanded the scope of WODDI to embrace other initiatives which continue to touch lives in unique ways. These include;
• The Girl Child Education Summit.
• A Leadership forum for all prefects in public and private schools in Imo state, equipping students for the future.
• Skill Acquisition
She has built Skills Acquisition Centers in each of the senatorial zones of the state; in Orlu LGA for Orlu zone, Ihitte Uboma LGA for Okigwe zone and also in Owerri North LGA for Owerri zone. The projects are targeted at ensuring that people acquire skills that will make them self-reliant.
The goal of the project is to ensure that the rural and urban unemployed women and youth acquire viable skills that ensure they become productive members of the society.
The objectives of the study centres include;
• To enable the rural and urban unskilled women and youth acquire different viable skills to enable them become self reliant.
• Reduce the over dependence on government employment.
• Promote and enhance self esteem.
• Improve the economic activity in the state
• Reduce crime and other social vices through active employment
• Play a complimentary role in the government vision- Imo must be better.
Project Design And Description
The facility is a 180 student capacity centre, sitting in two shifts morning session and evening session. It boasts of six laboratories divided into six- course structured sets, carefully chosen to reflect the realities of a growing economy.
A three hundred-seater capacity civic hall is also included in the center to provide for reception and town hall meetings etc. It is meant to generate funds for the center.
The center also boasts of a small scale factory and food processing facility also meant to generate income and give some of the students a practical example of skills at work.
Skills Set And Course Outline
The various labs in the centre offer training course in the following areas
• Photography includes all forms of image capture and print technology
• Computer appreciation: software and hardware engineering. Data entry skills and general IT appreciation.
• Fashion labs; include all fabric based studies. Fashion designing etc
• Catering lab; all aspects of competence in the hospitality industry
• Hairdressing for both sexes
• Light Manufacturing
• Learn how to make basic toiletries and other fast moving consumer goods( FMCGs)
• She needs a roof project (SNARP)
Many indigent widows and orphans through her WODDI initiative “She Needs A Roof Project” (SNARP) which provides homes for poor indigent widows and orphans, have been provided for. So far over one hundred and Seventy Two-Bedroom bungalows have been built, furnished and handed over to their beneficiaries at no cost to them.
• The Nneoma Kitchen Initiative consists of a mobile kitchen through which she reaches out to the prisons, orphanages and any other indigent clusters in order to feed and bring succor to them.
• Nneoma campus summit
• Nneoma schools stopover programme
• August meetings,
• Nneoma fit for life
• Nneoma women empowerment programs . She has empowered many indigent women with sewing machines, hair dryers and revolving free capital etc.
• Health programmes. The Maternal-Newborn and Child Healthcare week (MNCHW) is initiated to reduce maternal-child morbidity or death rates in the state. etc
A woman of great faith and courage, Nneoma hardly does anything without consulting God.
Through her Women of Divine Destiny Initiative (WODDI), she organizes Monthly Prayer Meetings for the spiritual growth of Imo families.
Nneoma Nkechi Rochas Okorocha is the Vice President of Rochas Foundation Incorporated which comprises of Rochas Foundation Colleges, spread across the nation in Ogboko in Ideato South of Imo State, Owerri in Imo State, Jos in Plateau state, Ibadan in Oyo state and in Kano in Kano state
She is also Chief Executive Officer of Lamonde Homes, Chief Executive Officer of Lamonde Hotels group, Member Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Member Nigeria Guild of Editors.
Nneoma is an author and publisher of several publications which include;
• Woman; The Home Builder,
• Woman; The Intercessor,
• My Child
• Dignity Of Womanhood,
• The power of image
• Nneoma magazine series
• SNARP magazine series
• Woman; vessels for transformation
Mrs Okorocha’s selfless style of leadership, exemplary conduct and humanitarian gestures as well as the resultant huge positive impact in the lives of Imo people, particularly indigent widows, together with her many other attributes and good works have been so widely acknowledged they have attracted both national and international awards, among which are:
• International Inner Wheel Award of Excellence …2009
• Evangelistic First lady, Women Ministries of Assemblies of God, Owerri District. …2011
• Virtuous mother of St. Mulumba’s Catholic Parish, Owerri … 20
• Matron of the International Prison Chaplaincy Association of Nigeria …2012
• Matron of Pyrantrin Kids Club … 2011
• Net Ambassador by the Federal Ministry of Health and Carter Centre, USA …2012 Award of Excellence as the Light of Women in Nigeria, Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN) 2013,
• Award of Most valuable First Lady, South East Zone 2014
• Award of Excellence to the Matriarch of New Imo by Imo State House of Assembly 8th House 2016
• Award of Excellence and Quality Leadership by Voice of Evangelism International Houston Texas USA.
• Chairman Imo State Amnesty Committee 2016.
• Outstanding Fellowship award by Hospitality and Tourism Management Association of Nigeria (HATMAN) 2016
• Diamond Award from Nigerian Union of Petrol and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG)
• Ambassador of Hope Award by Association of Nigerian Academic Doctors (ANWAD)
Born in Jos, Plateau State to the family of late Chief Bernard Nnadi Nwosu and late Mrs. Theresa Nnuola Nwosu, from Umuso, Eluama in Isukwato LGA of Abia State, Nneoma had her primary and secondary education in Jos at St. Theresa’s Girls’ Primary School and St. John’s College respectively.
She also attended Malvin School of Catering and Hotel Management, where she obtained a Diploma in Catering and Hotel Management.
Later, she went back to Plateau state and enrolled in the University of Jos where she acquired her B.Sc. Honours degree in Accounting and a Masters Degree (M.Sc.) in International Law and Diplomacy. She was later to study for her doctorate at the Imo State University Owerri.
Nneoma Nkechi is married to His Excellency, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha, a native of Umuduruehughara, Ogboko in Ideato South Local Government Area of Imo State.
Hers is a blissful union that is blessed with six (6) biological children, four(4) grandchildren and well over Ten Thousand (10,000) adopted children from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.