For decades, humanity has continued to grapple with a large amount of social problems, ranging from poor health condition, hunger, deprivation of basic amenities of life, and even in the case where these are available; it is grossly inadequate and in short supply. Meanwhile, international organizations and other human right institutions keep churning out frightening figures of people experiencing one form of pain or the other, with the slimmest chance of breaking even.
While some of the aforesaid can be attributed to natural occurrences beyond the power and control of man, others happened, owing to man’s inhumanity towards his fellow man across the world. Daily, the media is awash with stories mostly in the sub-Saharan Africa, even as Nigeria is ranked among countries with poor human development index, as well as unfavourable living condition.
These unfortunate situations have disadvantaged countless number of people as a host of others struggle without result for survival in the phase of an uncertain, bleak and despair future. This underscores why the well to do in the society that nature smiled and is still smiling on should, by the benevolence of God, ensure they replicate same and other vulnerable groups in the society.
No doubt, governments across all levels have been carrying out her responsibility to her citizen but it is quite unfortunate that these efforts have fallen short of addressing the many social ills plaguing the human race. It is instructive to establish that government alone cannot meet these needs. This is why privileged individuals, corporate and non Governmental organizations, and more importantly, religious bodies must form and sustain a formidable team, with the view to checkmating this age long problem.
The Holy Bible enjoined us to care for the poor and the less privileged in the society, as this is the essence of Christianity. For example, James 1:27 says “pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world”. This is of immense importance because most often than not, the vicissitudes of life have no regard for gender, religion, social and educational status, creed or race.
Here is a clarion call to fortunate families and personalities that can set up foundations in honour of the needy and victims of circumstances. If this is done with the view to alleviating the plight of the downtrodden, meaningful changes would be visible. This is also why foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, and other humanitarian agencies, committed to fighting malaria and other diseases in Africa, should be encouraged to do more. The impact of the Kanu Heart Foundation, where thousands of people, most especially, children suffering from heart problems are taken abroad for treatment can also not be overemphasized; this also can be imbibed by others.
Recently, worried by increasing neglect of orphans and the destitute, especially babies and kids, the Late Most Supreme AP. Matthew Omodayo Owotuga Foundation, donated an orphanage to Nigeria’s first hospital – Sacred Heart Hospital, Abeokuta, owned and operated by the Catholic Church. This facility will house and offer cares for such stratum of people in the society. The foundation was established in 2009 to cater for orphans and the indigent children, whose parents could not pay tuition fees and take adequate care of them.
Before now, the Omodayo-Owotuga Foundation had been extending charities and gifts to orphanages in Lagos, Ondo and Ogun states, as part of efforts to remember the departed soul, but changed the system this year by partnering with the famous Catholic hospital, established in 1895 and located in the heart beat of Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, to deepen investment in the lives of the “have nots”, such as the orphans, indigent students and the destitute.
Speaking at the commissioning and hand-over ceremony of Omodayo Owotuga Orphanage to Sacred Heart Hospital in Abeokuta, Most Reverend, Peter Odetoyinbo, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta, appealed to the rich and influential to emulate this humanity gesture, which he described as a way of reaching out and thanking God for His mercies.
Also speaking, Chairman, Omodayo-Owotuga Foundation, Jonathan Samuel, said the foundation is purely for charity to the people in need, where tuition, WAEC, GCE and JAMB fees of indigent students are also being taken care of, since its existence in 2009.
Also, the first child and daughter of late Omodayo Owotuga, Agnes Mobolaji Ehinmowo, said they grew up knowing their father as a free giver and the attributes of kindness, friendly and generosity was inherited from him, thus the creation of the foundation in 2009, in memorial of their late father.
Africa’s richest man and business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote likewise, recently donated a 250 bed capacity hospital to the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, emulating late chief MKO Abiola, who, in the 90s, gave all the higher institutions in Nigeria, one million naira each for the development and ultimate benefit of the disadvantaged.
It is also quite germane to remind the world that God Almighty aligns strongly with the needy, poor and less- privilege and He’s committed to their prayers and heart cries. In view of this, humanity should understand that good done the downtrodden is by extension, done to their creator. (He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. Proverbs 19:17).
One thing that is however sacrosanct is that, life goes on and this is why the humanitarian and benevolent traits in individuals must be stirred in order to arrest and cushion the effect on people and at least, guarantee them a meaningful lifestyle that will engender a virile society and relieve the less privileged and other vulnerable groups, of a turbulent life.
Furthermore, multinational companies and other large scale business owners must channel their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities towards meeting the needs of the downtrodden and others that natural occurrences and unpredictable phase of life have deprived the joy of living.
In conclusion, people who have dedicated their lives to the emancipation of the poor should please increase the tempo, even as new ones are expected to come on board because whether they know it or not, they are feeding, clothing and meeting the need of God himself because the Holy Bible again says in Mathew 25: 35-40, that as people lend helping hands to the poor, they earn themselves unquantifiable eternal reward.
Richard, a public affairs analyst, wrote in from Abeokuta, the Ogun state Capital.