No fewer than 1,500 widows in Akure South Local Government area of Ondo state went home with relief package containing edible items as the wife of the Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu flagged off the distribution of palliatives in commemoration of 2020 International Widow’s day.
The exercise, which has Akure South as the piloting local government, is the aftermath of the OndoWidows’ Care initiative launched by the wife of the governor two months ago, through which over 8,000 widows registered on the website @ OndoWidows’.com.
Declaring the exercise opened at the Akure South Local government Secretariat, Arabinrin Akeredolu who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Gender, Research and Documentation, Mrs. Tope Daniyan, described widows as the strongest of the womenfolk, being the ones solely responsible for the children, and assured of the readiness of Akeredolu-led government to empower them.
She shared in the pain of the widows about how tough their situations would be during this COVID-19 lockdown, saying, “we are here not just to celebrate you but to assure you that we will stand and support you”.
Encouraging the widows that they were not forgotten, Mrs. Akeredolu said, ” It is in a bid to ensure that you become visible for support that the Ondo State Government, through the office of the First Lady and the State Ministry of Women Affairs launched the Ondo Widows’ Care website.
“Through the website, we have been able to seamlessly collate the database of over 8000 widows in Ondo State. With the database, it becomes easy for the State Government to plan for her widows”.
The wife of the Governor, who noted that though it would be difficult to take care of them like their late spouses would have done, said , “we want to assure you that we will go an extra mile to ensure enabling environment for you in the society and ensure you are not deprived of your rights and privileges. Your inheritance must be protected, your pension must be prioritized”.
According to the SSA on Gender, Research and Documentation, who later spoke in an interview, the programme would capture all the registered widows across the 18 Local government areas of the state.
She disclosed that aside the food items, the bank account details of the widows would be retrieve from the website and be credited.
Some of the widows who spoke in separate interviews couldn’t hide their joy, as they commended the gesture and urged other First Ladies to emulate the founder of Ondowidows’ care initiative.
On her part, Mrs. Agnes Adegbulu lauded the state government for remembering the widows and rescue them from hunger, and prayed for the reelection of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
Also speaking, Mrs Bola Ibukun prayed for the progress of Akeredolu-led government, while Mrs. Morili Ebun prayed that the initiator would not experience hunger in life, saying, “I’m solidly behind Aketi for second time”.
Mrs. Abdulmalik Folake said, “If all the first Ladies in Nigeria can emulate this gesture, it is such a good development, may God bless our First Lady”.
Mrs. Tessy Akinlosotu also described the gesture as encouraging and good development for remembering the widows in time like this.