Mary Ekah and Godbless Eduviere
Over 10,000 Widows were recently empowered with cash and material gifts during the annual Widows empowerment programme of the Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) held in Ode-Omu, Osun State.
The women which were made up of widows from Ode-Omu, Modakeke, Oshogbo and Ikire towns were given cash at the spot and also clothing materials at an event which marked the eleventh edition of widows empowerment programme.
An initiative of Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo, Founder KICC, the event is held annually at the premises of Kings University, Ode-Omu, Osun State. This year’s edition saw dignitaries and royal fathers from various Yoruba towns such as Kabiyesi Olasule of Lasule land; Owa Ajero of Ijero Kingdom, HRM, Oba Joseph Adebayo; the Alara of Ara, Oba Adedara Emmanuel JP; Onikan of Temidire, Oba M.O Fabusoye; Oluroye of Iroko Ekiti, Oba Sunday Ekundayo JP amongst others who graced the occasion.
Ashimolowo recognized the presence of the royal fathers and other dignitaries and appreciated them for honoring the occasion. “This widow’s event started with a vision God gave me for the widows of my father’s hometown, Ode Omu, and this is the eleventh edition.
When we started it was microcosm of 300 widows. Next, we advanced to 860 widows, and then to 1000, and 1500 widows in the fourth year and it kept going on and on. Five years ago, another town called Modakeke joined the programme. I think they must have gone out to the adjoining towns so that last year; we had some widows from Ikire, Ibadan. However, there are over 10, 000 widows who will be benefiting from this empowerment this year. We have 3, 000 from Modakeke, and 2,500 from the host town, Ode-Omu, 1000 from Ikire, 1500 from Ife, and 2000 from Oshogbo. We tried as much as possible to put a system in the gate and verified that the women are not just taking advantage of the widow’s name, but truly widows.”
Speaking further, Ashimolowo said, “The Nigerian system doesn’t have a social security system for anybody and in the scale of suffering the widows are probably more bastardized and the Bible says that ‘a true religion is to bless the orphans and the widows.“
The clergyman explained further that the widows’ empowerment programme is entirely his vision and no Government is part of it, adding, “The funds are not entirely from KICC as a church but we have supports from friends and families who have contributed immensely towards its success. We appreciated them so much for the great support and may God bless them.”
He said that in the past, he had introduced something where he also gave more than 40 University scholarships to students who came from the town, adding “When we started ours, we directed it into Kings University, so in the first year of Kings University, the 86 students were all on scholarships. Sixty per cent was paid for by KICC, and my wife and I paid for forty per cent. “
78-year old widow from Ode-Omu, Chief Mrs. Abigail Modupeola Olayanami expressed her appreciation, saying, “Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo is doing a lot for the people of Ode-Omu, and even Osun State as a whole. I was here last year and I was given Ankara cloth, food and drinks as well, but I must say this year is great. He was with us last night and he gave us a cow, especially for widows who are too old to come out. We all ate. He has tried because he has helped those people that cannot eat and God will continue to bless him and his family.”
The resident pastor, Saint David’s Anglican Church, Ode-Omu, Osun State, Ven. Isaac Idowu, explained how the empowerment of widows has reduced the suffering of the people and also made them move nearer to God as they appreciate God when they are given such gifts. “I was a here last year and as I can see, today’s graph is higher than that of last year. I commend KICC and I appreciate our brother for initiating this, and I pray God bless him and his families. “
The Founder, Dig Time Foundation, Mr. Diran Olajoyegbe stressed that the event is bigger than his imagination, adding, “It’s my first time here but I see a very bright future that I can’t describe for this event. The idea of giving people hope in such a remote part of the country means that we can actually look forward to something bigger”. He advised that others should take a clue from Ashimolowo’s generosity.