By – Abdulfatai Tomori
Charitable behaviour is, indeed, a gift that keeps giving back to the giver. Those who give back are believed to be, more peaceful and focused. In this regard, the wife of the Kwara State Governor, Her Excellency Dr (Mrs) Olufolake AbdulRazaq stands tall as she is not leaving any stone unturned when it comes to impacting lives. She is passionate about the total well-being of all Kwarans.
Although, the office of the First Lady is neither legal nor constitutional in Nigeria, the way Her Excellency, Dr Olufolake AbdulRahman is using her position as the wife of Kwara State Governor to give Kwarans, particularly, the children and womenfolk a sense of belonging has shown how passionate she is about Kwarans.
In February this year, for instance, there was an incident of a family that gave birth to triplets. These were in addition to the two children the family already had. Mr and Mrs Abdulazeez Taiye, the parents of the triplets, battled for survival following the birth of their triplets.
As a kind-hearted woman she is, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq, under her pet project, Ajike People Support Centre, came to their aid with the donation of food items and cash.
Another instance was her donation of food items to over 200 vulnerable households in the State to cushion the effect of COVID-19 stay-at-home policy. Dr Olufolake AbdulRahman has also, in the past, led women on a walk against gender-based violence and sexual abuse in the State, calling for mass support against the scourge. She has also supported Kwara Ladies Football Club with cash gift.
Dr (Mrs) AbdulRazaq had also made donations of personal protective equipment and disinfectants to health workers in the State. The First Lady understands the need for health workers to be well protected in this time of the outbreak of coronavirus and is, therefore, donating her widow’s mite to the cause.
Among the benefited hospitals are: General hospital Ilorin, Infectious Disease Treatment Centre at Sobi Specialist Hospital, Offa General Hospital, Omu-Aran General Hospital, Kaiama General Hospital and Patigi General Hospital. The Kwara State T B control Committee also benefited from the distribution of safety materials from the Dr (Mrs) AbdulRazaq.
In the same vein, the First Lady had also presented token sums to 66 groups. She also gives food items to the Kwara State Children Reception Home and Olorunda Psychiatric Home where a donation of blankets was made, in addition to the food items meant to alleviate possible challenges of the stay at home order. She also donated food items to some traditional and religious institutions in order for them to share with their people to cushion the effect of the lockdown occasioned by the pandemic.
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In July 2020, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq empowered over 40 youths on the acquisition of skills. These youths, selected from the three senatorial districts of Kwara state had earlier undergone a one-month intensive training in fashion designing after which they were presented with sewing machines and certificates during their graduation ceremony.
Mrs AbdulRazaq has also extended her support to one Miss Toyin Atoyebi, a young female mechanic who, as a result of hardship, ought to take over her father’s motorcycles and power generator workshop for a living. Young Toyin lost her father, who owned the workshop, in 2019, and since then, things are very hard for her, her siblings and her only grandmother.
Not only that, Mrs AbdulRazaq also presented cash gift to one Abdulqudus Idowu Bello, a burn victim, to support his treatment and healing process. Abdulqudus, 27, was allegedly bathed with hot vegetable oil by hoodlums in Agaka where he makes puff-puff as a means of livelihood.
Besides, we all read the story of Risikat Azeez, a blue-eyed-woman. Risikat and her daughters were allegedly abandoned by her husband as a result of their blue-eyed condition. But God in His infinity mercies has given her and her family succour in Dr Olufolake AbdulRazaq who, after meeting with her and her husband, Abdulwasiu Omodada, assured them of her support.
The first lady has fulfilled some of her promises. She has secured a befitting accommodation for them in their chosen area. Mrs AbdulRazaq has also opened a store for Risikat. The process of obtaining a licence for Risikat to operate a patent medicine store has also commenced in earnest. Risikat had earlier said she learnt the trade of medicine after she was unable to sit for the senior school certificate examination due to financial constraints.
Mrs AbdulRazaq equally promised to look into the possibility of engaging Risikat’s husband as a maintenance officer in her office. This will allow him to function well as the head of the family. She has also promised to secure a scholarship for their beautiful daughters.
When we think of African women, we think of strength, resilience, courage and sisterhood, of making the impossible possible as they spearhead change across the continent. Mrs AbdulRazaq’s love for the less-privileged is second to none. Her trait of exhibiting a high sense of social responsibility might have been inherited from her late father, Mr Hezekiah Olufela Davies. We read how H. O. Davies, her father, was said to have always spoken in support of the poor in the Church. As a Wesleyan, Pa Davies was said to have actively engaged in ministries involving the poor, to effect a positive change.
In Kwara, many are celebrating the uniqueness of Olufolake AbdulRazaq, given how she has attained recognition by striving to improve the lives of people. The causes she has championed speaks volume about her disposition. At 52, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq still radiates the beauty and warmth that made Gov. AbdulRazaq fall in love with her decades ago.
However, beneath that beautiful structure lies motherly care, intelligence and dogged determination not only to pursue what she believes in but also the burning desire to achieve her goal; factors that have distinguished her from other Nigerian First Ladies. She is very far from being just a pretty face or someone’s handbag.
Olufolake AbdulRazaq took her motherly feelings and outlooks along to the office of the First Lady of Kwara State. Like her husband, HE Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Madam Olufolake is a good listener, thinker and a mother who is always thinking about how to bring about positive changes to the society. One American philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson was right when he said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well”.
Aristotle also wrote that finding happiness and fulfilment is achieved “by loving rather than in being loved”. This is how far Dr Olufolake AbdulRahman, Kwara First Lady had carried out her humanitarian assistance since the emergence of her husband as the 7th democratically elected governor of Kwara State in May 2019.
Looking at the way Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq is carrying out her charity activities, it gives one the picture of a beautiful woman and a dutiful mother and wife who spreads an umbrella of love and protection over families particularly, the needy within the society. She is thus the mother hen who spread her wings and feather of protection over the family.
Hence, Dr (Mrs) Olufolake AbdulRahman can easily be described as a modern-day Mother Theresa, a woman with a (big) heart of Gold.
Abdulfatai, independent researcher, writer and editor can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org
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