•‘Blind man we gave a motorcycle years ago has registered a transport firm’
By Sam Eyoboka
For over 12 years, to mark the anniversary of the Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank Limited, immediate past President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, and his wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Helen Oritsejafor, have the tradition of empowering the poor. They offer scholarships to indigent students.
Since 2012, the Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank Limited, in partnership with the Word of Life Bible Church, has also doled out a total of 32 brand new cars to be used as taxis in the Warri environment, 56 tricycles and 550 grinding machines to men and women in the area.
On this year’s Boxing Day, to mark this year’s edition of the philanthropic gesture, the couple gathered a mammoth crowd where they again expressed the love of Jesus Christ as they empowered over 1,000 with 19 mini-buses, five tricycles, 50 grinding machines and 1,000 mini bags of rice.
After the event, the man fondly called Papa Ayo and his wife spoke to Sunday Vanguard on how they feel at such occasions and why they love to give.
First to speak was Papa Ayo:
Some people have asked me and I said if I say I’m happy it’s understatement. If I say joy, it’s understatement. So I don’t have the English word. It is just that I’m overwhelmed when people are saying ’I have been brought out of poverty.’ When l hear such words, I’m overwhelmed and I thank God for the privilege we have to participate. It is a privilege that God allows us and we do not take it for granted. I’m grateful to God.
Seeing that many Nigerians are living below poverty line, what do you say to fellow wealthy Nigerians?
That churches should do this. Organisations should do same. And government should do this. There’s nothing more important than empowering human beings. I don’t care what you build; build the people first before any other thing. That’s what we are experiencing here. Some lives here will be changed and transformed forever. You are aware of a blind man who has now registered a transport company from one motorcycle he got from similar programme some years back. That is what God can do when you empower human beings. So I’m grateful to God. I pray that others listening or reading or following this will do likewise because some of them have the capacity to do much more. They should do it and they will never regret it.
As we go into the New Year, what do you say to Nigerians, especially as we prepare for fresh elections?
Nigeria need to develop to the point of developing ideologies, not just parties. When you have parties without ideologies, it’s like a car that has missed its way. We need ideologies. What do we stand for? Nigerians should ask questions. Nigerians should demand more. Nigerians should know more about the people they are voting for. I think it’s necessary so that by so doing, they will know what to expect and their expectations will not be cut short because they have tested some of these people.
Do you foresee a better nation next year?
I leave next year to God. I will not make any comment. May God help Nigeria.
Mama Helen Oritsejafor:
How do you feel today seeing women rolling down here for as little as a grinding machine?
It’s a mixed feeling. The first one that came to my mind is ‘Oh my God, if we can make this happen for these people, what is happening to us as a nation?’ It’s very painful. At a point I think I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. At the same time I was also very elated. I was happy knowing that someone’s destiny is completely transformed and changed forever. It gives a lot of joy and excitement in our hearts.
What therefore will you say to people of means in this nation?
A lot of people always think they need the whole world to be a blessing but actually this thing comes from your heart. If it’s in you to develop a better heart towards human beings, to wanting to help transform their lives, to wanting to give someone a lift, I can only appeal to their hearts that they will look at somebody very near them who is suffering or going through one problem or the other; give out something to that person who can use it for a better future to the GLORY of God. We know that this country has come a long way but we can‘t leave everything to government alone. As individuals, we can actually go out there and begin to touch lives.
What has happened here is a clear evidence that there is so much poverty in this country…
I agree with you! I heard a story which is still hard for me to believe; that a woman had a pot of soup on the stove and she went in to pick something and before came back, someone had stolen the pot of soup. She almost lost her mind because that was about all she had. With stories like that, it cannot but hurt you to see a nation that is so endowed with everything and yet ravishing in poverty because we have not been able to make the right kind of decisions for our country. Some people say there are a lot of problems, how will you be able to solve them at once? And I say no! Just pick one thing. Just focus on one thing and say ‘this is what I’m going to do for this country, for this state and for this local government’. And before you know it, if we keep having that mindset and fulfilling whatever it is we need to do for the period of our service, there will be total transformation concerning this country that we all will be proud of. We will all be able to see gradually poverty taking flight literally in this country in Jesus name. I want to see that happen, I can’t wait to see that happen.
For those who didn’t win, we are giving them rice so that they can go home and enjoy something. We need to do something. God will help us as a nation to do something. And also the good people of this country should also rise up to do something to empower their communities and their wards.
What’s your advice for Nigerian women as we enter into a New Year?
Nigerian women listen: For every woman, whether married or not, you carry a nation in your womb and because you have that, there’s always a bowel of mercy. God has endowed women to have the ability to feel. This is the time for us to begin to ask for change. This is a time for us to begin to look out to our neighbourhood and see all these children who have become absolute miscreants and see how we can touch them so that they can also touch their wards. We must not neglect our children, we must not sell them out to the politicians and cause them to become miscreants, using them as political thugs, we must not do that for desperation.
We must not sell our girls. A young lady was with me two days ago and she was sharing her plight with me. She said as a teenager going to school, her parents had started making demands on her for money. So she was explaining why some of these girls end up on the streets hawking, begging, sleeping with men and becoming harlots. That this was what she experienced and she could count many of her friends who went through the same thing as well, who for whatever reasons their parents started making demands on them while they were still in school. Some of them dropped out at the end of the day because their parents couldn’t pay their school fees and yet they were making demands on them for money.
I want to plead with our Nigerian women to be patient with our children. Let us do whatever it takes. They are our future. We must try giving them what they want today so that they can actually represent us tomorrow.