By Kehinde Aderemi
The date was the United Nations’ World International Widows’ Day. And expectedly, the widows came in their numbers from the different zones across the state. Their main aim, they told the reporter, was to pray for the nation.
Many of the widows had their hopes dashed after the death of their husbands. But the Goldcrest Family Centre (GCFC), a non-governmental organisation, with headquarters in Ketu, Lagos, has since come to their rescue. The organisation has, in the last 13 years, continuously been giving them hope and turning their lives around through its various empowerment programmes.
For this year’s edition of the World International Widows’ Day, they gathered at the National Theatre Hall, Iganmu, Lagos, to deliberate on issues of importance as well as offer prayers for Nigeria.
President of GCFC, Reverend Mrs. Agatha Chukwura, at the event, spoke on the need for government to put up polices that would enhance the living standard of the widows, adding that the gathering was to praise God who has been taken good care of the women who had been left to cater for their families alone after the demise of their husbands.
She charged Nigerian leaders to emulate the developed world by providing for widows and the elderly in the society.
“Thirteen years ago when we started the initiative to cater to the needs of widows, I got a clear message and it was a message of hope and deliverance for the forgotten widows. These people had been abandoned to their plight. I took up the challenge with the support of our board of directors and the management team, especially, our sponsors, both individuals and corporate organisations. These are the people and groups that sponsor all our programmes and give us gifts and other valuables. These are the people God has been using to wipe away the tears of the widows who daily throng our offices for assistance,” she noted.
She said also that Nigerians should continually pray to God for mercy. She noted: “We have to pray for the country and seek forgiveness from all our sins as a nation. We are a blessed nation, yet we suffer as a people. Our widows are abandoned; nobody is ready to take up their cases. But I am happy now that things are changing. Some of our religious institutions are doing all they could do to assist the widows.”
Pastor Oladapo Hambolu from Ibadan spoke about the present situation in the country. He explained that Nigerians should have a strong desire to see the country’s breakthrough from all its problems. He noted further that Nigerians must change their attitude as a people, adding: “We are a reflection of our attitudes.”
He asked the audience: “Do you love Nigeria? Do you really want change? Then we must change our thinking and our perspectives. What do you see in Nigeria? Whatever you see in Nigeria is what we will experience as a nation. This is very important. It is our perspective that will eventually materialise.”
While quoting Bible passages to buttress his points, Pastor Hambolu urged Nigerians to desist from saying bad things about the nation and its leaders.
Mrs. Elesin, a philanthropist and volunteer, said she was delighted by the courage of the President of GCFC, saying she had impacted positively in the lives of the widows.
“Mummy Chukwura’ s life has been a blessing to these widows. They trust her and confide in her. I hope governments at all levels would support this initiative because that will eventually go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the widows,” she said.
At different times of the programme, widows from Agbelekale and Ajegunle zones entertained the guests and performed to the delight of audience.The GCFC President later distributed various gifts items to all the widows present at the event and they all went home happily.