This New Year, the Founder, Kingsway International Christian Centre, Matthew Ashimolowo in line with his annual tradition in the past 13 years, empowered 12,000 widows drawn from three communities in Osun State. Mary Nnah reports
Surely, it was a glimmer of hope for over 12,000 widows at the just concluded annually empowerment programme held every year by Founder, Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC). Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo and his wife Yemisi. The widows, who were all beneficiaries of the yearly event, had their gifts jealously clasped in their arms – brand new Ankara fabrics, some thousands of naira notes and packs of food, given out to each of them at the premises of the Kings University, Ode Omu Osun State.
These and many other benefits have been the lot of widows from Ire, Ipetodomu, Modakeke and Ode Omu towns in Osun in the last 13 years as the Ashimolowo’s widows programme holds annually.
This particular edition was the 13th and was carried out in a more tasteful manner and beneficiaries had a lot of testimonies to tell.
Deborah Falore, a widow from Modakeke was extremely happy about her new cloth. “I have been coming for this programme for four years now. I am a widow with four children. I can’t express enough the joy I feel. I pray for pastor always. God will make him succeed. He will be blessed, protected and continue to put a smile on our faces. He is a good man for remembering widows like us today”, she noted with so much joy.
Yet another widow, Mrs. Folake Oyebanji, could not stop singing and dancing with a broad smile on her face. She explained that it was her third time of being at the programme and she had never been disappointed.
“I come here every year and I don’t regret it. Ashimolowo has been generous and kind to us. We don’t stress ourselves at all. And we get cloth to go sew, money and food. God will bless him,” she exclaimed.
According to the host and convener, Matthew Ashimolowo, 18,000 widows were attended to in 2018. This year, however, while over 4000 of them came from Ode Omu, about 8000 were from Modakeke town. He explained further why the programme, which catered for 18,000 widows from different towns last year, was, however, reduced to 12,000 this year.
“We told some towns not to come not because there is no desire to bless them, but it’s quite a challenge managing 18,000 women who want to cause a stampede.”
Indeed, for the clergyman, it is a great honour to serve those women. “Some of them have been coming for the past13 years. In fact, one woman said ‘Now, I have 13 clothes that I wear to different occasions”.
Charge to Government
Reacting to the endless queue of widows and the need for government to intervene, Ashimolowo said sadly that he felt hurt. “There is probably 70 to 80million unemployed people in Nigeria.”
Continuing he said, “In my very own opinion with all due respect to our government, a lot of our state governors are not in touch with the people, not sensitive to the people. The reason some of them are widows was that their husbands died of malaria – a health challenge that can be cured with N500. So, you see the N1000 given to each of these women is like the first them they held N1000 in their life time. So, it hurts when you see this. However, I am proud to be a Nigeria.”
Reminiscing on his voyage to eight African countries last year, the convener explained, “I was in eight African countries last year, Botswana, Namibia, Republic of Congo, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria of course. When you go round these nations you will appreciate Nigeria”.
Vision for the Future
Having seen the plight of the people, Ashimolowo has a big vision that he hope will metamorphose. “2018 was our last widow’s event. We wanted to start something that was all embracing. I am one who likes to do things excellently. You can see everything is in place and order”.
He revealed his future plans for the indigents. “We want to hold a meeting called Christ Compassion with the rural people. We will go to rural areas with food for 50,000; clothes for 50,000 and medicine for 50,000. We hope that it will happen this year”.
Ashimolowo and his wife, Yemisi, have got more people bearing this cross with them.
“Nowadays, we have friends who lovingly do things. Seven cows were slaughtered. Bishop Adejunwo from Akure sent one. Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo from Coza sent some money among many others. An Alhaji, Awa Ibrahim – a golfer – like me supported with a thousand of the Ankara,” he said.
He was however quick to point out the diversity of the recipients. According to him, “about 70 per cent of the women we are serving here are Muslims. Although we run it as a Christian event, we don’t see religion. We see humanity not divinity”.
Even the traditional rulers and their chiefs were not left out as they sat and witnessed the widows happily going back home to enjoy the New Year.
Photo caption: Ashimolowo with one of the beneficiaries