Birthdays are momentous occasions celebrated for sundry reasons. But Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, believes an occasion of one’s birthday should be used to rethink life and purpose of existence as well as to share genuine love and bond with the people, especially the vulnerable and less-privileged.
Abiodun, who celebrated his 61st birthday on May 29, 2021, holds firmly to this guiding principle and despite his very busy schedule and high-pressure work environment, he never detracts from using such special time to serve the cause of humanity. He did again last Saturday when he spent time at an orphanage where he donated food items to its children in celebration of his birthday.
The governor’s birthday, which coincides with the second year anniversary of his administration, is significant in many ways and family members, friends, political associates and well-wishers were determined to roll out the drums. However, the celebrant in his charismatic leadership and thoughtfulness chose to devote his day to bring succour to the needy.
Recall that last year when he clocked 60 at a time the Covid-19 pandemic was prevalent, Abiodun adopted a low-key approach to mark the twin celebrations of Diamond birthday and first anniversary in power. Then, he announced the opening of two designated bank accounts for friends and well-wishers to channel resources meant for gifts, kind gestures and projects for onward delivery to the less-privileged.
This year, on the occasion of his 61st birthday, an excited Abiodun visited the Stella Obasanjo Children’s Home, Abeokuta where he presented various foodstuffs, beverages, toiletries and other essential things and also inaugurated the computer section of the orphanage. It was an auspicious moment to give hope to the younger ones and inspire them for a brighter future.
The governor was accompanied to the orphanage by some members of the State Executive Council and senior government functionaries.
In his remarks, Abiodun admonished the children not to be discouraged by their circumstances and current conditions but rather brace up to pursue their respective aspirations. He urged them not to settle for anything less in the course of pursuing their dreams.
According to him, what matters most is for the children to improve themselves towards achieving their set goals and never mind their beginning.
He said: “It is not important how you started; whether you are in Stella Obasanjo’s Home or whether you are in juvenile correctional centre. What is more important is for you to determine that you are going to improve yourselves.
“Because of that, I have brought you computers for your computer library for you to begin to learn. Let me assure you that all of you will be very great. But you must be determined to be good children. Listen to the counsel of all your aunties and make sure that you do what they tell you to do. I want to thank you for allowing me to come and spend my birthday with you.”
In further demonstration of his love for the children, Abiodun promised that, henceforth, each of them would be presented with befitting gifts to mark their respective birthdays.
His words: “I have been in office for the past 731 days in Ogun State. Despite the pandemic and all that has happened, God has preserved our lives. I was determined to come and spend a great part of the day with you. I am so happy and I feel very fulfilled to have come here.
“I had wanted to come here on different occasions but I could not because of all the pressures of office. But I thought there would be no better opportunity to come here than today.
“Before I came, I had consulted with the Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development on what your needs are. I will instruct the Commissioner to send the birthdays of all of you. So, on each of your birthdays, I’m committing that I will now ensure that I send a birthday present to each of you on every birthday of yours.
“I may not be able to come here in person but I will endeavour to ensure that I send a birthday present to encourage you and I will continue to monitor your progress. Every now and then, I will come and check on you.”
The governor, who restated the commitment of his administration to improving the welfare of children of the Stella Obasanjo’s Home, also announced the donation of a brand new bus to the orphanage. “I’m sure that between now and sometimes next week, that bus will be painted in the colour you want and it will be delivered to you,” he declared to the admiration of his audience.
The governor also used the opportunity to express deep appreciation to all that have showed love and solidarity towards him. He pledged to continue to deliver on his electoral promises, run inclusive administration and be prudent in management of state resources.
Amidst cheers and solidarity songs, Abiodun commissioned the computer section of the orphanage for the use of the children. The new facility was well equipped with internet-enabled desktop computers, monitors and other accessories.
Earlier in her welcome address, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Funmi Efuwape had thanked the governor for his kind gestures and positive disposition to the welfare of orphanages and juvenile institutions in the state. She also acknowledged his support for the activities of the ministry and prayed God to continue to strengthen him.