The serene Ode-Omu, Osun State, came alive when hundreds of Widows converged on the town to be beneficiaries of the empowerment initiative of the United Kingdom-based cleric and founder of the Kingsway International Christian Centre, (KICC), Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo.
The 13th edition, which was a leap from precious editions, hosted 12,000 widows and dignitaries from all walks of life at the cleric’s tertiary institution, King’s University.
The gesture was a relief to the widows that attended this year’s event. Each received a piece of Ankara fabric, N1,000, pack of food with drinks. There was song ministration by a popular gospel minister, Evangelist Dunni Olanrewaju, popularly known as Opelope Anointing.
The annual Widows’ Outreach, which was supported by the wife of the convener, Pastor (Mrs) Yemisi Ashimolowo, catered for 12, 000 widows from Modakeke community, Ode-Omu and its environs.
Notable clerics and traditional rulers including, the visionary of the Christ Livingspring Apostolic Ministry (CLAM), Pastor Wole Oladiyun; his wife, Bukola; Bishop Taiwo Adelakun of the Victory International Church; his wife, Dolapo; Prophet Funso Akande; Owa Ajero of Ijero, Oba Joseph Adetayo Adewole and the Asole of Olasole in Ayedaade Local Government area, Osun, Oba Dairo Jacob Olutayo, attended the event.
However, the event was also a wakeup call to the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to take a cue from Ashimolowo’s gesture in giving back to the society, especially widows and the needy in rural areas.
The Board Director of the King’s University, Pastor Oladiyun, said the outreach was laudable and a demonstration of the act of God, as well as a signal that the church is taking the responsibility of the government.
“Care giving is the best channel to win souls. Catering for livid widows is an act of kindness and mercy. This is a better way to reach out to humanity. The succour given to widows over the years is not only the gesture of Ashimolowo to humanity. Half of the students here are on full scholarship.
The world may have an erosion impression about the church, in reality many religious leaders and churches are doing what the government should do. The gesture of Pastor Ashimolowo and members of his family and the church is laudable. I urge others to emulate him so that we can take Nigeria to height,” he said.
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Adelakun, who expressed his delight over the event, noted that the outreach was an indication that there was hope for aged widows in the country, while he charged the government to provide basic things of life for the masses.
He said: “This is a good sign for beneficiaries of the gesture as it is happening in the beginning of the year. It is an indication that there is hope for them in 2019. I want to encourage other religious leaders in the country to give back to the society, so that Nigerians, especially the needy will have a sense of belonging.”
A widow from Ipetumodu, Mrs Toojare Helen said she had benefited from the outreach three times, just as she noted that more well-to-do-Nigerians should come to the aid of widows.
Also speaking, Mrs Oluwaremilekun Apeke Ayansola, from Modakeke, noted that the programme had no political motive whatsoever, while describing the Ashimolowos as angels that met the widows at the point of their needs.
Mrs Rafatu Sulaimon and Mrs Sakiratu Raji from Ire town, was full of prayers on the convener over the gesture.
In his remarks, Ashimolowo said he and his wife had the desire to bless about 18,000 people this year, but the challenge of managing a huge crowd restricted the number to 12,000.
“This is just a tip of the iceberg to the vision of I have for charity. I thank God for the success of this programme and I sincerely appreciate everyone that contributed to the success of the outreach. I got support from some pastor friends and a Muslim friend too, Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim, who believed in this vision. The gesture is not restricted to Christians alone. In fact, about 70 per cent of the women we cater for are Muslims,” he added.
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