WAOH: Ekiti First Lady, Oyebanji in Quest of Succour, Comfort for Widows, Orphans, vulnerable


Sufferings, agony, pains and poverty encountered by bereaved wives after the demise of their husbands are enormous such that lives of many are seriously affected because of the challenges in variables. Of course orphans inherit the adverse effects at the demise of parents making them victims of circumstance.

Day in day out ,the society, due to the scenario is affected in harnessing the natural human potentials as abject conditions of widowhood and orphanage have subjected the victims to life torture, therefore depriving them the opportunity of projecting the individual talents valuable to the human race.

The circumstance in some individual victims generates all sorts of negative tendencies; while consequences affect safety of lives and properties.

In an effort to curtail all these for a better society and human development, wife of the Ekiti state governor, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji has developed an initiative tagged Widow And Orphan Hope (WAOH) project in an attempt to assist widows and orphans in achieving self- reliance, poverty reduction, sustain livelihood, promote gender equality, and strengthen the socio-economic indices in their various communities.

The project which was inaugurated on Thursday 26th January, 2023 around the commemoration of the 100 days of the administration of her husband, Governor biodun Abayomi Oyebanji was attended by relevant stakeholders in the state.

The 100 days of Oyebanji’s administration was marked on Friday 27th, January.

Various stakeholders showered encomium on what they described as humane initiative of the governor’s wife. They all pledged supports at various capacities to the success of the programme for human benefits.

The programme came up at the office of the first lady, Adunni Olayinka Women centre in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state capital.

The inauguration of WAOH project had a one day training for data collators charged with the responsibility of moving around communities in the 16 local government areas of the state to capture the data of all widows and orphans in the state for necessary considerations.

Steering committee was set up for proper coordination of the data capturing.

Wife of the Governor Dr Oyebanji said the WAOH project was borne out of a deep-seated desire to make meaningful impacts, in the lives of widows and orphans across the length and breadth of the state regardless of political affiliation, status or creed.

“WAOH Project is the first in the implementation plan of my Poverty Alleviation through Socio-Economic Transformation Programs (PASET)

“The Project is designed to contribute to the overall advancement of widows and orphans, assist them to achieve self reliance, poverty reduction sustain livelihood, promote gender equality, and strengthen the socio-economic indices in the communities they live.

“This project seeks to empower and support widows and orphans by providing them with the resources they need to bring them out of poverty and live fulfilling lives. I believe that through education, knowledge sharing ,training ,job creation, skill acquisition and access to loans and grants for small and micro businesses, we can give these individuals the tools they need to build a better future and provide the basic necessities of life “

The governor’s wife stressed the commitment of her husband’s administration to the SDG Goals
which recognize that poverty and other deprivations must be tackled by strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth.

Mrs Oyebanji added that the training and capacity building focal persons will play a crucial role in the success of the WAOH Project.

“It is a data collection activity for the baseline assessment of the socioeconomic status of widows and orphans in the communities”

Mrs Oyebanji spoke in Ado-Ekiti at the opening ceremony of a one day training she organised for the data collators.

A member of the steering committee for the WAOH project, Dr. Abayomi oshatimi who gave the overview of the initiative said the governor’s wife has heartfelt understanding of what the life of orphans and widows be.

“she steered a love in her heart that this is a project that must be carried to fruition , a project that must succeed , and then we the members of the steering committee ,starting from Mrs. Toyosi Omope,, Dr. Mrs. Folakemi Olomojobi, Pharmacist Arogundade, Dr. Mrs. Sola Aladeluyi
, Dr Jimlas Ogunsakin and others set to work, put the document together and the document made us realize that the first thing we need to do for this project is to gather data, the data will speak on the needs of the thematic areas , the data will tell us and how we can plan and pilot the implementation of this project.

“We realize we need to create an instrument for data collation, so the one day training will train people, equip them and teach them how to use the data, collate the information which will be used to drive the policy, the most important aspect is data collection”

Former senior special assistant on public health in the immediate past administration of governor Kayode Fayemi, who is also a member of the steering committee, Dr. Jimlas Ogunshakin said Dr. Oyebanji initiated the WAOH project to enable her reach out to the vulnerable.

“The project will increase the capacity of widow and eradicate poverty in them

“Widows and orphans go through difficult life. In her humanitarian act of providing succor to the vulnerable for them to have access to soft loan and look after themselves, the wife of the governor called us and shared her vision about the project. She wants to use her office to improve the livelihood of the vulnerable.”

The Imam of Ekiti State government House, Abdul Fatai Olorunkemi who commended the vision and initiation of Mrs. Oyebanji considering the adverse effect of hunger in the society which he said has led some youths into crime stated:
“This step will alleviate poverty, reduce problems of our youths, it will make the orphans and widows to be self reliant. Some commit evils in the society because of lack of basic needs.

“I want to assure the support of the mosque on this project, we want society to be rid of evil and many youths who perpetrate the evils do not have parents”

The Deputy Governor, Mrs. Monisade Afuye in her remarks commended the first lady on the vision.

“She is a mother, taking care of orphans, widows is like paying tithe to the church, the reward is in heaven, educating a widow is giving her power.

“After the death of the husband, widows face challenges, they discriminate against them. You are elevating our people.

“Widow faces many challenges. Experience varies across the state, depending on environment and culture. This initiative will change many things in the life of our widows. This is part of the programme and focus of this government”.

On her own part, the Secretary to the state government SSG, Dr. Habibat Adubiaro described Mrs Oyebanji as a mother per excellence:

“A woman who can sit down, think about widow and she knows the way she can touch their lives, she has really done great, you have started on a good note, God will reward you”.

Speaking on behalf of the body of the Permanent Secretaries, PS the permanent secretary ministry of education, Dr Mrs Folake Olomojobi appreciated God on the project.

“We have a very cerebral woman, as a strong educationist, this is a well thought programme .

“There is large number of widows in the society, you find them in schools, hospitals… I pledge the commitment of the body of PS, we will use our different offices to enable the success of the program”.

The Onimesi of Imesi Ekiti ,Oba Tunji Olajide who represented the chairman of Ekiti council of traditional rulers , Onisan of Isan Ekiti Oba Gabriel Adejuwon expressed delight that the vision came within 100 days in the office of governor Biodun Oyebanji’s administration.

The monarch said:
‘Traditional rulers are the base. Perhaps because of her scholarly background, she commenced the programme with collation of data and also training the data collators, that is the significance of the project, data base/data collator will make a credible planning, we appreciate her for the vision, the means and personnel to achieve the vision.”

The state chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) represented by Hon. Shina Ogunleye promised adequate support to the first lady on the project.

“ALGON as a major stakeholder in the grassroot, we commend you and the government, happy that both the governor and the wife are ready and prepare to work for Ekiti, within 100 days, they have performed wonderfully. All these programs belong to local government, the first lady is assisting us, we are ready to take full charge, we will support financially and morally.

The state Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) – Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Adeyinka Aribasoye at the event stated that the family of the governor already prepared for the assignment (governance)

“Its not by accident, when I met her at her office, I told her about the burden of the widow, she smiled, later she gave me the overview of what she has in mind.

“When I met the governor, he said, he’s aware that our people are hungry and that he had pledged to God that he will feed the indigents.

“Giving something to somebody without expecting any return, I trust God, this is not going to be the first and the last,God will release heavenly resource to carry out the project” .

In her response, Mrs. Mary Oso Omotosho, the senior special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Community Communication said:

“We are not surprised this is happening, some of us who work within during electioneering will testify that the governor and the wife mentioned they will serve Ekiti.

“This is within 100 days in the office, transformation everywhere, someone said its like a year, we are coming with more projects in the grassroots. Authentic data collation is crucial in this regard.”
Dr. oyebanji noted that the WAOH volunteers would be responsible for collecting vital data that would enable the efforts to lift people and communities out of poverty added the role of the collators is crucial in ensuring that the voices of the most affected by poverty are heard and considered
“as we work to create sustainable solutions”
The Ekiti first Lady tasked the volunteers to handle the assignment with utmost professionalism and commitment

“Ensuring that every individual in this cluster is fairly treated without recourse to their political affiliation’

Dr. Oyebanji stressed her commitment to the initiative with a promise “to work tirelessly and make the WAOH project a success with a view to changing the lives of many for the better”.

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