Dateline: January 25, 2013 at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Abeokuta in Ogun State. The main auditorium hall of the Centre was filled to the capacity with more than 1,000 needy, aged men and women drawn from various backgrounds across the 20 local government areas in the state.
As early as 7am, these senior citizens had made their way to the centre to partake in the free medical screening and referral services, ranging from diabetes test and dental screening.
The senior citizens were brought together under the programme called UPLIFTing the Aged, an initiative of the Wife of the Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun. Many analysts have described the initiative as one of the most important steps in Ogun State to give the elderly people a sense of belonging and make them happier. With the increasing number of the needy senior citizens in Ogun State, a regular forum like, this many believed, would afford the less privileged but almost helpless people who in their prime had contributed to the development of the society.
Knowing how dear the elderly are to her husband, Mrs. Amosun invited more than 1,000 senior citizens across the 20 local government areas of Ogun State to join Governor Ibikunle Amosun (FCA) in celebrating his 55th birthday anniversary. As expected, the governor is usually overjoyed to see the elders. This year’s programme was more colourful than that of last year.
As many of these senior citizens recounted their wonderful experiences, the Wife of the Governor of Ogun State walked into the hall, and went round to exchange handshake and identify with the aged, assuring them that they are not forgotten.
According to her, “Every one has the desire to grow older. Ageing is a gift from God and our elderly persons deserve to be taken care of. Our desire is to fill in the gap of fulfilling the social needs of vulnerable elderly people who are lonely, who lose touch with their environment, who struggle hard in their daily activities, who are down-hearted and who need daily basic health care.”
Mrs. Amosun explained that ageing is not a big issue, but “we should make it a point of duty to take care of the vulnerable older persons, this informed our decision to embark on this initiative called UPLIFTing the Aged.”
Indeed, this is one area the Wife of the Governor of Ogun State has recorded a major feat by offering a helping hand to the elderly people to lift them up and make them happier. Thus, she advocated for better welfare package for the elderly people in our society, describing the aged as very important people that should be catered for.
“The aged people in our midst deserve to be revered and taken care of to ensure their longevity. We have responsibility as younger generation to take care of our aged who have contributed their quotas to the development of our society,” she said.
The Governor of Ogun State, who also doubled as the ‘birthday boy,’ used the occasion to reiterate his support to boost the standard of living of the citizenry by providing modern infrastructure facilities that would cut across all the three senatorial districts in the state.
He noted that the achievements recorded in the state were due to the benevolent of the Almighty God and the support of the people of Ogun State who have been patient and cooperative with his government.
According to him, “There could not have been any better gift for my birthday than the support l got from the good people of Ogun State, the one given me during the commissioning of the Ibara/Sokori overhead bridge. By the help of God and patience of our people we would continue to touch every facet of our economy.”
The governor added that his government would continue to restore hope to the people of the state by vigorously pursuing its five-cardinal point agenda, which include urban renewal, affordable health care delivery, qualitative education, good infrastructure among others.
Last year, the UPLIFTing the Aged programme gave the senior citizens items like blankets, rice, cash and among other. This year, the Wife of the Governor, stepped up her campaign for the better life for the elderly people by giving them items like mattresses, pillows, garri, rice, groundnut oil and token cash gift.
Shortly after the maiden edition in 2012, Mrs. Amosun identified 100 needy aged citizens and put them on a monthly package in which they get some essential commodities and a stipend of N5,000 on a monthly basis, delivered to them, to assist them in their daily lives. On January 25, 2013, the Wife of the Governor adopted another set of 200 aged people who were initially beneficiaries of the Feed the Elderly Foundation in Ijebu-Ode.
Memories of this event will linger in the minds of the aged in Ogun State as Mrs. Amosun assured them of more welfare package in the future. Many of the senior citizens who spoke at the event expressed their joy and happiness over the kind gesture of the Wife of the Governor. They prayed for the first family in Ogun State for God’s continuous guidance and protection.