By ZIKA BOBBY
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has called for more helping hands to be extended to the needy in the society. The monarch who spoke at the launch of the Oladiran Olusegun Adebutu Foundation on the theme: Eradicate Poverty, Build Prosperous Communities, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, expressed optimism that the about 300 beneficiaries of the foundation were destined to be important future leaders.
He the children to be focused with assurance that they had a brighter future ahead. Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Ms. Kemi Sokenu-Morris, said 300 orphans and vulnerable children were carefully selected from six councils in the state as beneficiaries from the foundation’s intervention, during a pilot phase running from June to December 2016.
She said the six select council areas are Odogbolu, Ikenne, Imeko, Yewa South, Abeokuta South and Abeokuta North, adding that plans are underway to extend the intervention to other geographical zones of the country:
“Our objective is to leave no child behind. The foundation is focused on education, nutrition, health, water and sanitation and child protection.”
The chairman of the foundation, Oladiran Adebutu, said: “With poverty alleviation at the forefront of our intervention, we are focus driven on particularly themed activities that can rapidly scale up and impact in the short, medium and long term.”
Former Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Ambassador Babagana Kingibe gave a touching story about his childhood: “I grew up as an orphan but with difference, because I enjoyed the love of my foster parents who took me up when I lost my parents.
“I used to follow other children to school in my community then, though not as a registered pupil but by standing beside the window to listen to the teacher teach. When they closed for the day, I closed with them.
“One day, a teacher who had been noticing my daily routine decided to allow me start class with the others. This is how I grew up to become what I am today. So, there is none of the vulnerable children or orphans who cannot grow.”
Kingibe noted that about 40,000 children are now orphans due to the activities of Boko Haram in the North East.
He commended the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for the improved security situation in the northeast adding that there was need for more work to be done in the region.
He appealed to corporate organisations and well meaning Nigerians to do more and support the effort in bringing succour to children who had been rendered orphans in the country.
The event also marked the inauguration of patrons for the foundation. The are former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Justice Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Margaret Nkem Onyema-Orakwusi, Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas, former Minister, Youth and Sports, Chief Kesington Adebukunola Adebutu, business mogul and philanthropist and the Asoju Oba of Lagos, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe and the Emir of Zaria, Sarkin Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris.