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•Clears N22m accumulated electricity bill, gives widows lifeline
From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Joy swept through Ifetedo, a town in Ife South Local Government Area of Osun State, recently.
The community, which had been in total darkness for two years over its N22 million accumulated electricity bill, had electricity restored.
A group, comprising some indigenes of the town, raised the money and cleared the debt. Subsequently, the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDEC),, which disconnected the town from the grid, has restored power to the town.
In Ifetedo, the major occupation of the people is farming. Besides the farmers, there are hundreds of artisans who engage in tailoring and fashion designing, hairdressing, shoemaking, bead making, barbing and medium and small-scale businesses to eke out a living. They rely on electricity to carry out their business activities.
Naturally, things got awry when the entire community was in darkness. But now, the people are singing a new song, as economic activities are booming in the town.
Recently, a non-governmental organization, Let There be Light Group, led by an indigene of the community resident in the United Kingdom, Mallam Najeem Oyewumi, brought more succour to many people in the community. Other members of the Let There be Light Group are Abideen Ojuade, Mustapha Adegbite, Tajudeen Jimoh and Adebanke Felicia.
These individuals, in collaboration with the Special Support Initiative, another welfare group led by High Chief Akin Akinrera, the Balogun of Ifetedoland, and Chief Kayode Akinboola, another philanthropist, raised the funds with which they cleared the accumulated electricity bills in the town.
At the recent annual Ifetedo Day, thousands of guests, including political leaders and traditional rulers, trooped to the community to celebrate with the indigenes.
Among those in attendance was Ademola Adeleke, the Senator representing Osun West, and former Deputy Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Niyi Owolade.
The highpoint of the celebration was the empowerment of five underprivileged widows by the Let There be Light Group. Each of them was given a sum of N25,000 as a grant for petting trading to make ends meet.
The convener of the group, Oyewumi, told Daily Sun that giving them money for daily meals would make them remain paupers, but the N25,000 grant for petty trading could help them become self-dependent.
The beneficiaries were Mrs. Abibat Sunmola, Mrs. Rianat Azeez, Mrs. Elusakin Kehinde, Mrs. Comfort Adebiyi and Mrs. Abimbade Idowu.
Mrs. Sunmola, who expressed appreciation to the group on behalf of the beneficiaries, said: “Things have been very difficult for us because we didn’t have a dime to start any business to cater for ourselves and we didn’t want to beg. But we thank God that our children from Let There be Light group have come to our aid. We promise to use the money to start selling something until we can rent shops and by the grace of God, we will survive.”
On what fired the group’s passion for the widows, Oyewunmi, said: “We discovered that the widows are helpless and need rehabilitation to be able to earn a living. We chose to empower them so that they could cater for the education of their children because they don’t have husbands to cater for them.
“Some of them are artisans, but don’t have the money to buy equipment to operate. We asked them how much they needed to start something and they said between N15,000 and N20,000. That was why we gave them N25,000 each and they are satisfied with our gesture and I can see that they are now very happy.”
Oyewumi assured that the Let There be Light group would increase the number of the beneficiaries to 10 and make the money N50,000 next year in continuation of the empowerment programme.
Executive Secretary of Ife South Local Government Area, Aderemi Adewale, said: “The Let There be Light group has done a tremendous job by first of all ensuring restoration of light to Ifetedo community after about two years of power outage without waiting for government to do that for us. They have also made the community proud by empowering some of our widows to alleviate poverty and supporting Ifetedo students in their educational programmes. I am proud of them.”
The Chairman of the Ifetedo Day Organising Committee, Alhaji Abdul Azeez Aleshinloye, said the occasion also helped the community to raise funds for its projects.
The monarch of the town, the Olobosin Of Ifetedo, Oba Isaac Olowosoke, also lauded the Let There be Light group for masterminding the restoration of power to the town and for empowering widows.
Oba Olowosoke urged the philanthropists to keep the fire of the good work burning among them and prayed that their labour shall not be in vain.
Members of the Let There be Light group and supporters prostrated to the monarch to receive royal blessings. They promised never to rest on their oars in supporting the community in its development efforts.