A revolution of some sorts is sweeping through Ekiti State, and it is kindling the kiln of joy in the hearts of senior citizens. Their lives have been set aglow by what the Governor Kayode Fayemi administration calls the Social Security Scheme. How does it work?
Every aged person without a pension, and without support from either accomplished children or relations, is registered, and paid the sum of five thousand naira monthly. Yes, every month. And they do not go through the indignities you see with government pensioners, who are made to queue monthly in the scorching sun to collect their stipends, with some of them collapsing and dying in the process. The old people in Ekiti, in excess of 20,000, who have been duly registered, stay in their homes, and are paid by local government officials. Miracle? Well, that is how the old people describe it. And they pray daily for their governor, asking that God will continue to bless him, “and he will never beg for food in his old age.”
Daily Sun spoke with some beneficiaries of the scheme, and their joy can only be imagined:
Chief Olatunbosun Falana (85 years old herbalist): ‘They pay me, though I used to be PDP member’
I used to be a member of the Peoples Democratic Party when I was still strong enough to participate in politics, but I thank God for Governor Fayemi, that he did not consider my political affiliation but registered my name, and since five months ago, I have been collecting the five thousand naira monthly allowance.
I use some of the money to employ the service of laborers who work on my farm, since I can no longer do the work myself. I use the remaining to buy food to eat.
I advice the government not to ever stop this programme, but continue to extend the benefits to other elderly ones who have not been registered for the scheme, so that they can all benefit from it.
I pray that God will continue to bless our governor and give him more wisdom to continue to govern the state very well.
Mrs. Comfort Ogunyemi (70 years old petty trader): ‘Help me tell the governor he will never beg for food’
I’m a petty trader from Ijero-Ekiti. And I was registered along with the second batch of the scheme. I have collected money for about five months now. And I can tell you that since I was born, I have never seen a government in this country, which paid monthly allowance for the aged.
Each time, I buy garri and other food items to eat. In September, they did not pay us the August allowance, so we thought maybe they want to stop it, but the first week of this October, they paid us the two months together. In fact, when I received it I was so happy. I know this man Fayemi is keeping his promise. And God will honour him. Just help us tell him he should not stop it and God will continue to bless him in a miraculous way. He will not beg for food.
Mrs. Felicia Ishola (Over 105 years): ‘How can someone who does not know me send money to me?’
I’m from Odo-Ado area of Ado-Ekiti. I don’t know my age, but I know I’m over 105 years. I used to work on farm as a laborer and engaged in petty trading before I grew old. Fayemi is now sending money to me every month. He first said they should go and bring my name; that they want to put my name down in their register because he wants to be giving me money. I said, but he does not know me now? How can someone who does not know me be sending money to me? They said he is the governor. But (Chief Obafemi) Awolowo was not sending money to old people at home. He was doing free education, roads, free health, and so on when he was in government. I said, I hope this one is not only trying to deceive us?
Truly they gave me the money. And since then I’ve collected for five months now. I’m so happy. I pray that God will continue to be with him and his family. You can tell him he should try to see me. If not because I’m too old to start looking for him, I would have gone to see him. Help me thank him a lot and say I’m very grateful. Tell him also that I pray for him, that he will not cry in old age. He will not bury any of his children. He will get favour of people in this world and that of God.
Mrs. Ojuolape Oladimeji (85 years old): ‘I don’t beg for food again’
I should be around 85years old. I used to sell garri and yam before I stopped about 12 years ago when old age began to set in. I’m one of the first beneficiaries of the scheme. And the money has been very useful to me. I buy food and eat. I don’t lack food again. I don’t beg for food. I have been collecting the N5,000 monthly for about a year now.
Fayemi is wise because I don’t know the person who gave him that idea. He knows there are old people in the town, who will be suffering because of poverty. Tell him that we old people are praying for him. And it will be well with his government, he will not be implicated by wicked people. If only you can take me to him I will tell him he should ensure that he doesn’t stop it. God will continue to provide. I pray that in a miraculous way, God will continue to provide money for his government.
Mrs. Rachael Aina Ajiboye (About 90 years): ‘If they do anything to Fayemi, we elders will fight them’
Although I’m not really sure of my age because I didn’t go to school and there was no record that contains my age, I think I should be around 90 years now. I started benefiting from the scheme last year because I’m lucky to be one of the first that registered when the scheme began. With the money, I now eat regularly and take care of myself because I don’t work again. Once I eat, I pray that God will give our governor long life and sound health till old age.
Please, I want you to help me tell troublemakers that they should not come near Fayemi. If they try it, the elders in Ekiti will fight them. They should allow him to stay long there so that he can continue to take care of us. If they make arrangement for how the aged can vote, I will vote for him again during election. You know we are old, we cannot go and queue up among the young people, so that they will not push us down. But if we vote for him, tell those people that they should not do it the way they did that of (Chief M.K.O.) Abiola.
Mr Adewoye Adeoti (pensioner, Okemesi): ‘Let Jonathan also pay the jobless every month’
I’m in my late 60s. I retired in 2007 as Head of Project Financial Management Unit in the Office of Ekiti Accountant General. I am not a beneficiary of the Fayemi Social Security Scheme because pensioners are not supposed to benefit from the scheme. You know pension is our own version of the scheme. But I want to talk. I want to commend Fayemi for that good initiative. It is a common thing in Europe and America. All those who are unemployed are also given, because that is how to have security. You know a hungry man is an angry man.
Let President Jonathan emulate our governor and start the social security scheme across the country. Let it not be for the aged alone but for youths who are unemployed as well. Let all the governors also embrace this and start it in their respective states as well. The real security problem in this country is that of poverty and lack.
I commend Gov Fayemi on this because it will make a lot of our old people whose children are not rich enough to take care of them to live longer.
Last modified: October 17, 2012