…As Abraham’s foundations bring succour for youths, indigent folks
By Kehinde Aderemi
It was a boisterous affair for the students and their minders. Otun Ireti School for the Handicapped, Ikare Akoko, Ondo State wore an animated mien as Mr. Olusegun Abraham, founder of Abraham Foundation and Trinity Foundation, came calling with his team. It was a visit that brought smiles to the faces of the students. In his address, Abraham encouraged the students to overcome their disabilities by distinguishing themselves, insisting that disability had never meant inability. He told them that they could aspire to whatever positions they desired in life, just like other human beings. After the speech, Abraham handed the sum of N1 million to the school. The Head Girl, Esther Gabriel and Head Boy, Master Ayodele Ademiyegun, received the money on behalf of the school. Abraham, who is also founder of Seg. Mahsen & Co. Nigeria Ltd, said on the occasion: “The money is not much. But the fact that I am here to identify with these special students means a lot. This is because identifying with these special students will give them a sense of belonging. It will show them that they are not forgotten; neither are they rejected. And that alone gives me fulfilment and joy. “So, I came to identify with you. I came to give you a little support. I came to tell you that in spite of your challenges, you can realise your dream. I came to assure you that you are not alone. God, who created Heaven and Earth, is always with you. He will stand by you all the time.” In their response, the school authorities said the gesture was quite significant, even as they lauded Mr. Abraham for his philanthropic activities across Ondo State and in the country. Head girl Earlier, the businessman had also donated N5 million to St. Catherine’s Catholic Hospital and Maternity at Iwaro-Oka, Oka-Akoko. It was a token that excited the parishioners and the clergy. But those were not the first time that the Akoko-born philanthropist would be bringing smiles to the faces of the people. Through his two foundations, the businessman has endeared himself to many, putting succour to the lives of indigent people across his state and beyond. At an encounter, he informed that his philanthropic nature was inspired by his parents, who he said were quite religious and brought up their kids in the way of God. He and his siblings were also trained to be hardworking, disciplined and decorous, he asserted. Said he: “My parents consciously lived their lives to serve God and humanity. At 5:00 a.m. daily, we would compulsorily gather for devotions. The daily morning devotion indeed moulded my life. My humble background too shaped my perception about the world. I would never have been anything if not for God’s infinite mercy. Today, I am a living testimony of God’s compassion.” Besides the regular donations to schools and educational institutions, Abraham has, in his personal capacity and through his two ’s foundations, devoted a lot of resources to championing the cause of the less privileged at the grassroots across Ondo State. “Through these foundations, Abraham has rescued thousands of people. Many students have been saved from being sent packing from school over the non-payment of school fees, he has supported businesses of thousands of rural women, hundreds of youths have been given a new lease of life. He has provided scholarships to many students across different tertiary institutions in the country, and even physically challenged men and women at the grassroots have also benefitted from his kind-heartedness,” a teacher at the Otun-Ireti School informed. But some have said Abraham’s reasons for founding the non-governmental organisations might not be totally altruistic. Such persons assert that the reasons might be more political, especially as he’s one of those desiring to contest the governorship election in Ondo State in November. But the mechanical engineer says no. In his words, the foundations were started as a springboard to launch his social intervention programmes. He noted: “I am indeed fulfilled when I take part in social works that redefine people’s fortunes. It gives me so much satisfaction. I will not like to bring the foundations into politics. They are not about politics, but about the compassion I have for the socially disadvantaged people. When I see joy in the faces of people who cannot pay me, it gives me so much joy. “The foundations have reached out to many people I cannot precisely number. Some have conflicted with me because they believe the money from the foundation, which I am giving to poor people, should have been given to one important person or be donated to one important group to spend. But, giving it to the poor has given me so much joy. “Some people see their NGOs as tools for them to be popular and publicise themselves. I do not really attend the programmes of my foundations most times because I do not want to be praised. In Christianity, when your right hand does something, the left hand must not know. That is why I have immense support from the grassroots. “It is not about giving alone, but it has made others to see that you can serve your God through the poor around you. That is why many people in Ondo State love me so much. I think I will like to encourage more people to participate in NGOs, and effective ones at that, because the satisfaction comes in three ways – yourself, the people and your God.” He said political issues should be separated from humanitarian issues, explaining that he wouldn’t want to talk on his governorship aspirations. But he noted that most of those seeking to govern the state on the platform of the All progressives Congress were now fully behind him. “No aspirant is a threat to my own ambition. First and foremost, power belongs to God. It is only God who gives and who owns the power. What we need is someone who will do the will of God. The other aspirants see me as their colleague. So I see my ambition as a mission of God. I see it as a sacrifice and as a service of extending love to my people,” Abraham explained. Besides his foundations, he said he would set up what he termed Government Demand Industry (GDI) and People Demand Industry (PDI). The former, he said, would support the government policies and programmes, adding that through it, as many as 500,000 new jobs would be generated in four years. The PDI, he noted, would be structured to build small-scale industries under the public-private partnership programme (PPP).