A golden uplift and a celebration
Her willpower and focus to bring out the best in any context has distinguished her from the rest. She pays attention to details with a primal vision of setting new standards and raising the bar in her humanitarian quests to uplift mankind. She regularly devotes a considerable part of her time, energy and resources to advance the cause of the less privileged and champion initiatives that support the needy in our society. Her dream is aimed at empowering and uplifting the disadvantaged people regardless of their age, education status, religious and political affiliations.
Fifty years ago today, little Olufunso, now Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, the wife of the Governor of Ogun State started life’s journey. She is today gracefully joining the elegant circle of Golden Jubilee club.
Working with Mrs. Amosun since January 2012 as one of her close aides has given me the vista of opportunities to know her better and appreciate her genuine passion to assist, support and empower the less privileged and the needy in our society. Beyond her care for the good people of Ogun State, Mrs. Amosun has become a mother figure to many in the government circle in the state, touching lives with so much compassion outside their official duties.
Personal experiences should suffice here. Sometime in February 2013, I was somehow agitated and disturbed over a domestic matter and I couldn’t sleep. In my state of restlessness, I picked up my phone around 2a.m. and began to fiddle with it: played music, changed my BB Display Picture amongst others. Suddenly, Mrs. Amosun sent a message to my phone. A reply got her asking why I was not sleeping at that time of the day. Dissatisfied with my response of trying to get some things sorted out, she probed further: are you sure? I didn’t really want to bother her about my personal challenge.
Another touching encounter was on May 30, 2013. I got a call from Lagos that my wife was in labour and had just been rushed to the hospital. I asked the caller about the condition of my wife but he was not audible enough. I called my wife many times – no response. A call to my mother-in-law offered no respite. I became worried. I was glued to my phone moving from one section to another to check who else I could call. Then I stumbled on the number of our family doctor; called him but he didn’t pick too. My worries increased. So I resigned to fate, hoping for the best. I went to my DP and I wrote: “It’s Well – I Believe, It Will End in Praise.” Immediately, the governor’s wife asked me: “What’s the problem?” Of course, I had no option than to open up that my wife was in labour. She offered some prayers and encouraged me to be calm. My takeaway: as a caring mother, Mrs. Amosun often feels strongly concerned about the welfare of people around her as much as she has successfully extended same gesture to the good people of Ogun State.
Mrs. Amosun’s compassionate disposition to help others is second to none. I was lost momentarily the very first day the governor’s wife said she would be climbing the Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania for the sole aim of raising funds for the victims of the insurgency in the North-east who are scattered across various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Nigeria. While I was still struggling to come to terms over her decisions, it dawned on me that indeed Mrs. Amosun has a strong-willed spirit to always support the less privileged.
No wonder she has been using every single opportunity to call on individuals, corporate bodies and any other interested parties to join her in lending a helping hand to the less privileged. This, she often expresses with a Yoruba song: Eni k’eni ti iwo ba ni ipa, l’ati se iranlowo fun ooo, Oun na l’eni keji re, Toju re – literally translated thus: Endeavour to help the needy you can afford to assist, for such person is your brother or your sister.
Her ‘communal spirit’ of lending a helping hand to the less privileged made Mrs. Amosun to initiate different programmes to massively complement the efforts of her husband, Senator Ibikunle Amosun in the governor’s overall Mission to Rebuild Ogun State. Through her foundation, UPLIFT Development Foundation, the governor’s wife has been focusing on poverty alleviation, using UPLIFT as an acronym for ‘Understanding People’s Limiting and Inhibiting Factors Today.’ The foundation provides intervening programmes to empower the vulnerable and the needy, with basic facilities to achieve the ultimate goal of making them self-sufficient.
The UPLIFT vision centres on poverty alleviation through the provision of economic empowerment, skill acquisition programmes and access marketable items and loans. Her target groups include the physically challenged, those living with HIV/AIDS, vulnerable aged, unemployed graduates, vulnerable orphans and disadvantaged women and children in general.
Some of her programmes include: UPLIFTing the Aged; Free Eye Camp; UPLIFTing Women; UPLIFTing Widows; UPLIFTing Unemployed Graduates; Uplift Cancer Awareness Campaign; UPLIFTing the Physically Challenged; UPLIFTing SS3 Students; UPLIFTing Youths through Beatification; UPLIFTing Traders; UPLIFTing the Environment International Conference and Workshop; UPLIFT Aged Welfare Card; UPLIFT Food Outreach; Launch of Green Education for the Youths, Waste to Wealth Initiative; UPLIFT Under-15 Grassroot Football Camp; MITROS Micro Credit Scheme; and De-worming Exercise for School Children.
Others are: UPLIFTing Women Living with HIV/AIDS; UPLIFT Artificial Limb Camp; UPLIFT Safe Motherhood Initiative; UPLIFTing Rainstorm Victims; UPLIFTing Rural Dwellers; UPLIFTing Orphans and Vulnerable Children; Community Empowerment Programme; 1st National Green Essay Competition; 1st Ogun State National Women Conference in 2014; UPLIFTing Schools; Free Breast Lump Excision Surgery; Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for IDPs; amongst others.
Through her various initiatives, Olufunso Amosun has built a strong tie with the vulnerable citizens across the length and breadth of Ogun State. She has undeniably touched many lives. The reality today is that Mrs. Amosun is 50 and to this I say happy 50th birthday to a mother, a mentor and a confidant!
•Sowunmi, Media Aide to the Wife of the Governor of Ogun State, can be reached via: email@example.com