Pomp as women group donates science lab, borehole to school
Under a very convivial atmosphere, the Busy Bee Society of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Lagos, recently handed over a N40 million project comprising a library, a science laboratory and borehole to Ebenezer Baptist Academy in Oshorun, Ibeshe, Lagos State.
The reason for the excitement witnessed at the event was not far-fetched – the project was conceived 10 years ago by 15 women who believe that developing the society is a duty for everyone, not necessarily the exclusive preserve of those in government or positions of leadership.
“Everyone can contribute to society’s progress via different outlets and in different spheres of life including the religious institution. That is the dominant lesson in the story of a rare feat by members of the Busy Bee Society of Ebenezer Baptist Church Lagos, who set out on an odyssey and in the end handed over a N40 million project, comprising a library, laboratory and borehole,” said Elder (Mrs) Comfort Oluranti Adepoju, the fourth President of the Society.
Adepoju, who at the time was working in Warri, Delta State, as Head of Public Affairs at the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of the NNPC, had sold her vision to the other 14 members of the Society and they bought into it and embarked on the project, which started from scratch.
She explained that Busy Bee, which is an organisation within the Methodist Church, generally works to advance the progress of the Church and the society at large.
According to her, the branch at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Lagos, was determined to live up to its duties to the church and society hence the project.
She added that the inspiration for their choice of project was derived from the feat by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, himself a member of the Baptist Church, who about the time the project was envisioned, launched the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta.
Unfortunately for the organisation, it did not have the kind of connection that Obasanjo had, which ensured that the crème-de-la-cream of the society supported him with generous donations. Thus, when members of the organisation launched their project on December 4, 2011, the response was disappointing to say the least even though they invited important personalities and eminent philanthropists within the church and society.
“What the flamboyant project launch yielded was a far cry from the required N40 million. Members of the Society were so demoralised by the outcome such that some of them mooted the idea of jettisoning the proposed project.
“But we shored up our faith and resolved to continue with the project. To raise funds, we resorted to taxing ourselves, and also our patrons, advisers, including those occupying the position of Father Bee, Mother Bee and Queen Bee. That way, we were able to augment the donations from the project launch. And on May 29, 2012, the Rev. Adebowale Adegunwa conducted the turning of the sod ceremony.”
When told that the society could have chosen a less expensive project given the number of years it took them to accomplish it, Adepoju explained that, “the science laboratory was included because of my wonderful experience as a student of a Catholic school, Our Lady’s High School, where I benefited from quality education and qualitative science laboratory making me what I am today.”
The Guardian learnt that executing the project was so challenging due to insufficient fund to the extent that some members of the Society suggested that the uncompleted project should be handed over to the Church to complete it. However, others members led by Adepoju insisted on completing it and soldiered on. The result was that not every member of the Society got to the finishing line on October 7, 2021, when it was dedicated. Of the original 15 members who started the project, only nine completed it.
Rev. Adegunwa, who performed the turning of sod ceremony, and stood by the women to complete the project, performed the dedication ceremony, during which he encouraged them with prayers and word of God.
Members of the community, who trooped out in their numbers to witness the dedication ceremony, thanked the women for the outstanding feat, which has no equivalence by a male group in the church.