By Elizabeth Uwandu
IT was indeed a happy Yuletide celebration for hundreds of widows whose children were given scholarship to further their education courtesy of a non-governmental organisation, the Emmanuel Umohinyang Foundation, which chose December 23, 2018 to mark its 10th anniversary.
The widows who could not hide their joy and excitement, were not the only beneficiaries of the Foundation’s life-transforming philanthropic gesture. Other less-privileged Nigerians who thronged the event venue in the Maryland area of Lagos, specifically within the Adebayo Dejonwo Estate neighbourhood which witnessed significant vehicular traffic on D-Day, also benefited.
It was a well-attended event which also attracted many high profile visitors from outside Lagos, including a representative of the First Lady Aisha Buhari, who came to identify with Umohinyang who at the same time used the occasion to celebrate his birthday. For most of those present, especially the beneficiaries, it was a Sunday to remember and cherish.
Apart from the invited guests, many were there out of curiosity, drawn to the scene by the unusual cavalcade of vehicles conveying guests to the venue of the event and the attendant festive air with Christmas two days away. And their was rewarded as they also received surprise packages to spice their Yuletide celebrations.
Among these uninvited guests were several women who did not allow the opportunity of staking their claim in a free-flowing manna to pass them by. And who will blame them? Not with the gift items very much evidence, prominently displayed at the event ground. The items included about 2,000 bags of rice and 20 cows which had been slaughtered for distribution for the Christmas celebration.
Apart from the food items, the goodies on offer also included different kinds of musical equipment, chairs, air conditioning units and millions of 60 leaves exercise books and higher education notes promoting the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and supporting the police.
The musical equipment and chairs were subsequently shared among different church groups, including the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, Christ Embassy and the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, who were all pleasantly surprised at the unexpected philanthropic gesture.
Although there were about 400 officially documented beneficiaries at the event, there was indication that several other individuals who were not invited did not go home empty handed. They all had something to show for being there.
Speaking on the significance of the occasion, especially what it means to him, Umohinyang, a lawyer and avowed supporter of President Buhari, said: “In my place, a man cannot be said to be serving God without serving people around him”.
Usman Alilu who is a younger brother to the First Lady and represented her at the event, lauded the Foundation for providing for the less- privileged in the society and used the opportunity to call on other well-to-do Nigerians to spare a thought for the underprivileged by practising acts of kindness towards them.
He said: “The First Lady is always happy sharing with the less-privileged and this is what Barrister Umohiyang is emulating. The First Lady is happy with what he is doing and wishes him well.”
Just before the announcement for the cutting of the birthday cake, a visibly elated visually impaired man, Mr. Olusola Ofoyetan, had seized the moment to appreciate and pray for the man whose generosity had brought all and sundry together.
According to him: “Today, all of us are rejoicing with Barrister Emmanuel, we are happy that he is putting smiles on our faces again at this time. We are happy to see you sir and we are happy to be here.” He prayed that the Foundation would enjoy many years of success.