Osita Chidoka’s daughter,  Chimdalu, lends a helping hand to indigent students at Obosi


Chimdalu is a full scholarship undergraduate at James Madison College in Michigan State University. Her major is Comparative Cultures and Politics, with a double minor in French and Organisational Leadership.


Chimdalu, named Oriana after the Italian award-winning journalist Oriana Fallaci of the 70s fame, is also a Benjamin Gillman Scholar, a US State Department scholarship to promote study abroad programs. Her worldview is left-leaning, and her academic interest tends towards a law or public policy track.


Our dinner table interactions are always passionate, whether debating the impact of slavery on black communities, misogyny in children-parent relations in Nigerian homes or the work of Alexis Tocqueville about Democracy in America. At each engagement, I have to bring my A game as she quickly picks holes, even on minor details. Combined with her senior sister Chidera, a more ferocious left-leaning ideologue, my wife and I fall back to Igbo seniority roles to end the mental inquisition. On a positive note, we all enjoy robust debates without animosity.


Last year, Chimdalu adopted six female top-performing students of Union Secondary School Obosi as mentees. She holds online meetings with them using the Thomas Chidoka Centre. Her goal is to help the young girls dream beyond Obosi, strive for the sky and prepare them to seek international scholarships.


This weekend, she was in Obosi and had time to interact with them. The girls, Favour, Mmesoma, Nora, Rokibat, Patience, and Juliet, dont think they can go to university despite their top performance in school. Their older siblings are in one trade or another, and their parent’s financial situations are worsening daily.


Chimdalu has now registered an NGO named  Nkiruka Nurturing and Empowering Initiative (NNÈ). Her goal is to nurture and empower rural-based bright female students to expand their horizons, leverage online platforms to learn digital skills, learn foreign languages and match them to donors willing to sponsor them to local universities.


One of the girls, Rokibat, is Yoruba from Osun, born and bred in Obosi and excelling academically. If she has the opportunity, Rokibat would like to attend Obafemi Awolowo University and become a lawyer. She thinks it is a pipe dream.


Favour, whose mother is a petty trader at an Obosi market, dreams of becoming a gynaecologist. Sadly, she doesn’t want to raise her hopes; therefore, she has settled for a future of petty trading like her mum or learning a vocation.

Yesterday, to encourage them to dream, Chimdalu made them produce vision boards. She insists that their dreams are valid and that my politics is useless if poor girls like these dont get to realise their potential, even if it is through community polytechnics.


As we left Obosi this morning, she had concluded her plans to return to Obosi in mid-December to recruit more girls and teach them essay writing for university and scholascholarshipcations, basic computer skills and French. Her schoolmates and friends are volunteering to mentor young girls academically and also support them with sanitary products, clothes and school books.


I spent some time with the girls and was saddened by their Reduced Hopes and yet encouraged by their optimism. Sadly, attending a university, which many urban and rich kids take for granted, is an unattainable dream for many bright kids just because of an accident of birth and a country that, through incompetency and corruption, is now actively promoting social immobility and future discontent.


Chimdalu is my daughter.


Osita Chidoka

16 June 2024

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