Ekiti First Lady Unveils Pet Project, WAOH

October 20, 2023

…empowers 350 widows, 25 orphans, Gov. Oyebanji urges privileged Nigerians to adopt widows, orphans 

Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji, on Thursday officially unveiled her pet project, Widows and Orphans Hope Project (WAOH Project) giving out material and financial empowerment to 350 widows.

At an impressive and well-attended ceremony held at the Abiodun Adetiloye Hall of the State Trade Fair Complex in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti First Lady also gave financial support of N100,000 each to 25 students who are orphans under the WAOH Project.

The students majority of whom were drawn from federal and state-owned tertiary institutions in Ekiti State received the funds to assist them in reducing the burden of paying their school fees, examination fees and purchasing instructional materials.

The benefiting widows received materials like deep freezers, grinding machines, sewing machines, hair dryers, garri processing machines, washing machines, photocopying machines, computer sets, gas burners and cylinders which were based on what they requested for in the forms they had earlier filled.

Some of the beneficiaries received raw food for retail sale while the aged ones among them received N20,000 each and bags of assorted food items. All the beneficiaries who received material empowerment also received N10,000 to transport the materials back to their various destinations.

Operators of medicine stores among them were empowered with N100,000 each which had been paid to a prominent pharmacy in the state where they will receive the drugs worth thee money to stock their shops.

The ceremony was attended by Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (who addressed the gathering virtually in his capacity as chairman of the event), former Ekiti First Lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; Deputy Governor, Mrs Monisade Afuye; Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye; House of Representatives member for Ekiti South Federal Constituency 2, Hon. Femi Bamisile; Managing Director of Premium Trust Bank, Mr. Emmanuel Emefienim; state All Progressives Congress (APC Chairman, Barrister Paul Omotoso; state Assembly members and State Executive Council members.

The State Council of Traditional Rulers were represented at the event by the Chairman, the Olojudo of Ido Ekiti, Oba Ayorinde Ilori Faboro while monarchs’ wives were also present.

Governor Biodun Oyebanji who spoke at the event urged privileged Nigerians to imbibe the culture of adopting widows and orphans for economic and educational empowerment to give them succour and make them fulfilled in life.

Mr. Oyebanji said the WAOH Project was an initiative conceived by his wife to continue the good work of her immediate predecessor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, who was on hand to distribute the education empowerment to the orphaned beneficiaries.

The Governor who assured that the over 30,000 widows already registered under the scheme would be touched one way or the other throughout the life of his administration also promised that the exercise would be a continuous one.

He also expressed the readiness of his administration to organize business development seminars for widows through the state Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

While stressing the importance of adopting orphans and widows for support by the privileged in the society, the Governor expressed his readiness to adopt a little child described as “a double orphan” who was one of the beneficiaries of the Back to School Initiative of his wife held last month.

Earlier, the First Lady, Dr. Oyebanji, said she conceived the idea of WAOH to reach out to widows and orphans whom she described as the most vulnerable in the society to give them hope and support to complement the Shared Prosperity vision of her husband.

Dr. Oyebanji disclosed that due diligence was done before the beneficiaries were picked as they were visited in their localities and further screened at the WAOH office located in her office so that their needs could be properly identified.

She said no amount should be considered too small or big to spend to assist the widows and orphans noting that her passion for them made her to source for donors clarifying that WAOH is not a government-supported scheme.

The First Lady said all the beneficiaries would be monitored to ensure that the materials and the monies received are put to proper use. She noted that mechanisms have been put in place for effective monitoring.

She said further: “Today, we stand here with the purpose of uplifting widows and orphans, assisting them in attaining self-sufficiency, diminishing poverty, fostering gender equality, and fortifying the socio-economic fabric of the communities they call home.

“The designated categories of widows and orphans for empowerment include three distinct groups: active widows, the active widows are the ones between the ages of 25 to 50 years, semi-active widows are between the ages of 51 to 69 years and the inactive widows (aged) are the ones between the ages of 70 years and above, Today, a total of 350 widows are set for empowerment.

“The next category of beneficiaries comprises 25 orphans that are currently pursuing higher degree in various institutions of higher learning in the country, majority of who were drawn from Ekiti State institutions of higher learning, making a total of 375 beneficiaries altogether in today’s programme.”

“Our plan is to be able to carry out this empowerment programme like two to three times within a year, subject to availability of fund.This will enable us reach out to a larger number of widows and orphans and make appreciable impact in their lives.”

Former First Lady, Erelu Fayemi, who was the mother of the day, said she was very proud of her successor, Dr. Oyebanji, noting that she fully identified with the WAOH project and would continue to give her support.

Erelu Fayemi said: “I am so proud of her and you will agree with me that over the past one year, she has done a fantastic job. Governor Oyebanji, I am also proud of you. You are doing a fantastic job for Ekiti people.”

Erelu Fayemi said there are laws in the state that protect widows and orphans adding that WAOH is a step in addressing the root causes of poverty in the lives of widows and orphans.

The President of Ekiti State Widows’ Association, Mrs Omoyeni Fatunase, who also gave a goodwill messsge at the event, lauded Dr Oyebanji for the initiative, adding that the association was happy that the widows were given the needed support to feed themselves and take care of the children.

“What happened today gave us joy because the First Lady gave these beneficiaries the needed support for them to feed themselves and take care of their children and dependants. We thank the Wife of the Governor for putting smiles on the faces of widows and orphans in Ekiti.”, she added.

Last modified: October 20, 2023

Comments are closed.