The Agbaakin of Gbongan, High Chief Belau Owolabi, was one of about 200 glaucoma patients who recently benefited from a free eye surgery carried out in a specialized hospital in Ijebu-Mushin, Ogun State.
Powered by Favour, Kindness and Grace Foundation, the exercise was the baby of Omoba Dotun Babayemi, an All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, who said government should not be left alone with public health care.
Owolabi was filled with joy soon after he left the theatre, praising and praying for Babayemi and his foundation for rescuing him from blindness.
Touched by the excitement, Babayemi said the exercise was his contribution to the welfare of the people of his Osun West Senatorial District, adding that another set of patients would return to the hospital in July.
Recalling memories of his maternal grandmother, who died at 107, Babayemi also said the centenarian lost her sight in the twilight of her years and was unable to read her Bible as she used to do, hence his determination to do his best in saving the sight of his people in Osun West Senatorial District.
He insisted that his passion for good health had nothing to do with politics.
“The welfare of our people comes first before any other thing, because good health naturally translates to a healthy population.
“On this health issue, politics is secondary and that is the truth. I am not denying that I am a member of the APC in Osun State, but the issue at hand now is beyond politics because the patients were not screened according to the political parties they belonged to or the parties that they have sympathy for.
“We should not reduce everything to politics, in order to encourage well-intentioned, genuine Nigerians to also offer humanitarian services to the underprivileged of the society. I am, therefore, saying it categorically that what we are doing here is not politically-motivated,” he said.
Babayemi urged those who could not make it to the exercise because of the large number of patients screened by the medical team to be steadfast, with the assurance that it would be their turn to also benefit from the scheme soon.
He expressed appreciation to the traditional rulers in his senatorial district for the understanding shown in the use of their palaces as screening centres for the patients. The royal fathers, he recalled, encouraged their subjects to participate in the exercise.
“I cannot overemphasise the role our royal fathers played in ensuring mass participation at the screening stage. My experience in that is that our people still need a lot of education because some of the patients were sceptical and indeed frightened to come out for the screening,” he said.