Giving succour to vulnerable citizens in Olanipekun’s way
Foremost lawyer and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun’s (SAN) love for the needy and the less privileged members of the society, through various interventions in the areas of access to justice, quality healthcare, provision of scholarships for students, as well as, his support for the youths and women development is legendary.
The mission to provide succour and ameliorate the plight of the underprivileged, led the senior lawyer to instituting a wide range of interventionist programmes, including the scholarships to indigent students which dated back to 1996. Established under the auspices of the Wole Olanipekun Foundation (WOF), as a privately funded not- for- profit philanthropic organization, Olanipekun has balanced the odds by putting smiles on the faces of hitherto despondent and hopeless Nigerians. Some of the beneficiaries of this benevolence are now Pharmacists, Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, among others.
The former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Ibadan and Ajayi Crowther University, recently puts smiles on the faces of the widows/aged women, as well as empowered the youths with grants to enable them become small entrepreneurs. Under the second edition of Youth Empowerment & Aged/Widows Support Progrramme, a total of 100 aged/widows were given N30, 000 each, while the youths numbering about 100 also smiled home with N50, 000 each to support their businesses.
The second edition of the programme, which would be a yearly event is coming few months after the first edition, which ought to have been held in 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, took place in April this year.
Speaking during the presentation of the cash grants held in Ekiti, Olanipekun urged the government at all levels and the elite to help the underprivileged out of extreme poverty and want, especially because of the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the poor and vulnerable citizens across the country.
The legal icon who described the COVID-19 pandemic as the most ravaging global economic recession in decades, said it has aggravated the poor economic situations of the unemployed youth, aged and widows in the country.
The senior lawyer who was represented at the occasion, by the General Manager of the Ikere based NewcruizeFM 92.7, Mr. Jide Ogunluyi, said, he is doggedly committed to youth empowerment and support for aged/ widow, beginning from his community in Ikere Ekiti.
Underscoring why the governments should urgently help the vulnerable Nigerians as the last year’s lockdown had further done colossal damage to their lives, Olanipekun said: “According to the world bank, both the long and near term outlook for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the damage it has dealt to prospects for growth of world economies are damning.
“The baseline forecast envisions 5.2 percent contraction in global GDP in 2020, using market exchange rate weights- the deepest global recession in decades, despite the extraordinary efforts of the government to counter the downturn with fiscal and monetary policies.
“The recession is expected to leave lasting scars through lower investments, erosion of human capital through job losses, schooling as well as fragmentation of global trade and supply linkages.”
He advised the Ikere community to stand united in the face of its many challenges , saying “we must remain as one. We must remain united and give Ikere Ekiti a good name.
My vision with this programme is to provide succour and ameliorate the sufferings of the poor masses. “Targeting enterprising youth is part of the best ways to build a virile economy. and each of the beneficiaries must be focused and use the money wisely,” he added.
Cataloguing areas where Olanipekun had contributed to the town’s development, the monarch, Ogoga of Ikere, Oba Adejimi Adu, represented by High Chief Sapetu, Prof. Babatola Olufemi, said the lawyer donated a sum of N12 million to the fund for the take off of the Bamidele Olumilua University of Science and Technology, Ikere Ekiti.
Oba Adu added that the Olanipekun had also donated medical facilities, paid medical bills of the poor , empowering youth, aged, widows and established the NewsCruise FM , the first Private radio station in the community, among other interventions.
The Chairman of the Wole Olanipekun Foundation, Mr. Seyi Ogoji, charged the beneficiaries to keep to the founder’s vision, which was to provide succour and ameliorate the sufferings of the poor masses. “This foundation is targeting enterprising youth and supporting those considered to be weak for help. You must go out and multiply and contribute to the economy of this town and our country. The objective is to make you grow as employers of labour.
“We know you are vibrant and have energy. I know that our youth are hardworking and productive; you are not lazy, especially Ikere youth. Begin to conceptualize competitive business ideas that can propel your visions.
“According to information from the National Bureau of Statistics, 31 percent of Nigerian youth lack access to bank loans. Even the stringent conditions can’t allow you access to it, if available.
“But Wole Olanipekun is giving this grant free to our youth without conditions, the only condition we expect is you applying the money well to build yourself , your town, state and country,” he said.
At the occasion, a total of 100 youths, 100 aged and widows were presented with cash grants ranging from N30, 000 to 50, 000 who are residents of Ikere Ekiti, the country home of Olanipekun.