Fayemi’s Wife Cares For The Needy

July 17, 2013

The new lease of life being enjoyed by the aged, widows, HIV/AIDS patients and other vulnerable citizens in Ekiti State has continued with the introduction of Soup Kitchen by the wife of the state governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi through her Ekiti Development Foundation (EDF).

Under the Soup Kitchen plan, the needy are fed three times a day three days in a week.

It boosts the subsisting freebies introduced by the government. Such freebies include payment of a monthly N5,000 to the aged from 65 years, consistent free medical missions for all categories of residents in the state, free healthcare for children under five years, the aged over 65 years, expectant mothers and indigent disabled persons.

The feeding plan started with 200 persons, with beneficiaries accessing meals across centres in Ado-Ekiti, Osi, Itapa, Emure, Aramoko and other centres across the state. Now, there are 3000 persons benefitting from the programme.

The Soup Kitchen follows closely on the heels of the Food Bank launched in October 2012 through which well over 3,000 selected individuals had been accessing raw food materials at centres located in Ado-Ekiti and other locations in the state, according to Erelu Fayemi, EDF founder.

The governor’s wife said the EDF spearheaded the food bank and soup kitchen as part of its contributions to the administration’s resolve to banish poverty and extreme hunger from the state.

Said she at the soup kitchen launch: “The target of the current administration is to ensure that every family secures access to free nutritious meals a minimum of nine times every week. This is not just a dream, it is a goal towards which we are working.”

On the soup kitchen, the EDF is collaborating with the Centre for Family and Reproductive Health Initiative (CFRHI), a non-governmental organisation, founded by the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development and Gender Empowerment, Mrs. Fola Richie-Adewusi.

The governor’s wife said the ultimate target of the initiators is to ensure that the soup kitchen is replicated in each of the 177 wards of the state before the end of the year.

She is optimistic that the target will be achieved if indigenous people of the state residing at home or in the Diaspora, as well as political appointees in the state, support the initiative.

The Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, and some top female officials of the state were with the governor’s wife as she spoke during the launch of the feeding plan.

The beauty of the soup kitchen, as noted by the governor’s wife, is the decision by some of the beneficiaries with catering background to cook the foods and serve as volunteers in each centre.

“This will erase any suspicion about the quality and safety of the food. We don’t want political opponents to turn round and say that there is something else to the initiative. “That is why those who are cooking and serving are among those eating it,” Fayemi’s wife said.

She said the introduction of the soup kitchen was in fulfilment of some of the electioneering promises of the governor when criss-crossing the nooks and cranny of the state for votes.

She thanked organisations and individuals that have contributed to the success of the projects so far and sought further support.

She urged all political office holders in the state to ensure the establishment of at least one soup kitchen in their ward to take government nearer to the people at the grassroots.

In her remarks, Prof. Modupe Owolabi said the initiative was the begining of good things that the people of the state have longed for.

She described the project as an imitation of best practices in the developed world, adding that the government was proud of the efforts of the governor’s wife towards giving the people a new lease of life.

She appealed to the people of the state to continue to support the administration to enable it to deliver more dividends of democracy to them.

The founder of the CFRHI, Dr Richie-Adewusi thanked the state government for its giant strides aimed at ensuring that the people enjoyed the presence of government in their localities.

She urged the volunteers in charge of the soup kitchen not to divert the food, whether raw or cooked, and to treat the beneficiaries with love and care.

Two of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Margaret Abegunde in Ado-Ekiti and Mrs. Bosede Folorunso in Emure, lauded the initiative and prayed for the continued success of the administration.

Abegunde said: “I collect N5000 monthly from the government. I enjoy free health services and now free meal. Fayemi and his wife are taking care of the aged and my prayer is that they will age gracefully.

“I’m short of words because none of us enjoying these freebies have ever been asked to produce any political party card before we benefit. I’m close to 90 years and I can say this is the first time I’m seeing this type of thing.”

The governor’s wife also recently supported nearly 200 individuals across families with various sums totalling N11 million direct financial empowerment and individuals in the state. However, what made the event tick was the flavour of the so-called minority groups including the Ibo, Hausa-Fulani, Urhobo and Ebira who took prominence among the list of beneficiaries.

All the beneficiaries of Erelu Fayemi’s assistance however shared just one common attribute: they all needed material and financial assistance, reached out to her office and succour came their way.

Many among the 190 beneficiaries who spoke to the nation were lost in words when a total of their accumulated four-month largesse were handed over to them one after the other in sum which totaled N11 million.

One of the beneficiaries, an Igbo trader in the state, Mrs. Irene Obasi, was full of praises for the governor’s wife on her efforts at supporting people of the state, irrespective of their political or ethnic backgrounds.

She noted: “I would have made my request last year but I was discouraged by people who said I was Igbo. I was to discover late that the Igbo were among those who benefitted that same year.  I thank the governor’s wife for not discriminating among the people of the state and for offering good leadership to all communities in the state. May God continue to bless you, Ma.”

The beneficiaries included widows, orphans, multiple birth mothers, students and those seeking assistance to offset medical bills or start businesses.

At the ceremony, the governor’s wife said she would continue to use her position and networks to empower the people and enhance their well-being.

She explained that the four-month accumulated disbursement was delayed due to the death of the former Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, an incident she said plunged the state into mourning.

The First Lady assured the people of the state of her avowed commitment to sustained financial assistance through her office and EDF, but admonished beneficiaries to make judicious use of the money, urging them to ensure they commit the given sums on whatever they might have planned, with a special prayer for the sick among them to get well quick.

The governor’s wife used the opportunity to urge the beneficiaries and well-wishers of the Dr. Kayode Fayemi-led administration to continue to disseminate information about its unprecedented achievements, saying “we give assistance not on the basis of political r religious affiliation. Christians have access to my office as much as Muslims. Whoever genuinely approaches my office for succour would surely find one.”

She however added it would be improper and possibly look like being ungrateful for those benefiting from the different life-changing programmes of the administration to keep silent while detractors run down and talk ill of the government.

By Sulaiman Salawudeen

 This article was first published in The Nation

Last modified: July 17, 2013

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