BY Femi Makinde,
First Saturday of every year is always a time to look forward to by the people especially the widows, of Ode Omu and Modakeke areas of Osun State. Why? The Senior Pastor of the Kingsway International Christian Centre, Matthew Ashimolowo, a native of Ode Omu, always comes around to celebrate with them and this year was not different despite the financial crisis across hit the nation.
Ashimolowo, assisted by his wife, Yemisi, put a smile on the faces of the widows who numbered well over 5,000.
The widows started arriving at the campus of the King’s University where the ceremony was held as early as 8 am and before long, the premises was filled with people who were eager to receive what has become their yearly ‘entitlement’ from the man of God.
The amount given to each of the widows was not much but considering the number of persons involved, the widows commended the pastor. Some of them urged other wealthy Nigerians to emulate the man of God.
Each of the widows after dinning with influential persons in the society like the Deputy Governor of Osun State, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mrs. Kalafite Adeyemi, was paid N1,000 transport fare and went home with six yards of either Ankara fabrics of different colours or lace materials. Owa Ajero of Ijeroland, Oba Joseph Adewole, was also in attendance.
The New Year party which entered the 10th edition this year seemed to have come to stay finally and the scope is expanding every year. The feast used to be for widows from Ode Omu and Modakeke, but this year, about 80 widows came from Ikire and sources at the ceremony said it would keep expanding in scope until the whole state is covered.
Out of the multitude present at the banquet, a secondary school pupil, who came for the ceremony caught the attention of the man of God when he asked him where he got the pass from.
Every widow invited for the programme was given a pass and the permit was different from town to town. The boy said he got the pass from his late mum. The boy became an orphan less than a month after his mum got the invitation to attend the programme. The boy while telling the pastor that he picked his mum’s pass after her death, burst into tears and this moved the man of God, who ensured that he did not leave the place the way others left’ he increased the money given to the boy substantially.
Ashimolowo said he decided to start the celebration with the widows in obedience to the commandment of Jesus Christ on taking care of the needy, especially widows.
He urged wealthy Nigerians to inculcate the habit of assisting those who were in need, saying the reason God blessed them was to be a blessing to other people.
According to the cleric, assisting less privileged persons was a commandment from God, saying everybody should do it, most especially Christians to fulfill the commandment of Jesus Christ.
He also took time to advise President Muhammadu Buhari on how to move the nation forward, saying he should not dissipate all his time hunting for those who had plundered the nation. He said that would slow him down and distract him from achieving his goals.
He said the Federal Government should dedicate 20 per cent of its resources to going after perceived looters, while 80 per cent should be given to creating an enabling environment for Nigerians.
He said, “President Buhari is a man of great integrity, who wants the best for the country. But if he spends all his time pursuing looters, the majority of us who did not steal will suffer. “Therefore, he must use the Parento’s Principle to approach governance. If you have your eyes permanently on the rear view mirror, you cannot drive fast. The past deserves just 20 per cent attention.”
“The President should not use more than 20 per cent of his time to pursue corrupt persons. He should spend the remaining 80 per cent to think about the way forward in the interest of majority of the people of the state.
Osun State deputy governor, who commended the gesture of the cleric urged other Nigerians with means to emulate the act of kindness to make Nigeria a better place for everyone, whether the haves or have-nots.
She said the state had a scheme similar to Ashimolowo’s gesture for widows in the state and the elderly ones. She said that taking care of the underprivileged persons was one of the cardinal points of the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
A monarch, Owa Ajero, who said the 2016 celebration was not the first time he would be present at the programme, was also full of praise for Ashimolowo. He said the gesture would make many of the widows to know that someone still cares for them.
One of the widows, Rafatu Alabi, while speaking with journalists, commended their benefactor for recognising and celebrating with them. She said they all appreciated the cleric’s yearly gesture.
“We thank God for the life of our man of God. He is genuinely interested in the plight of widows and we pray God will continue to bless and keep him from every danger,” she said.
culled from punch