At ALS foundation launch, Olubadan, others canvass support for community development
It was an afternoon of hope, joy and a call to give back to an ailing society plagued by a growing number of the indigent. This was the mood at the official launch of the Adenrele Lekan-Salami Foundation in Ibadan on Saturday, when dignitaries led by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, expressed delight at the humanitarian efforts of the foundation.
In her welcome address, co-founder of the foundation, Mrs Deborah
Lekan-Salami, commended those who had come for the event, saying that although the foundation started about five years ago, its official launch became important so as to canvass support. “All of you have been brought here because of your commitment to the development of children, youths and the larger society. We have been building lives for over four years and we are happy for this,” she stated.
While commending the foundation, the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, represented by his Senior Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals, Kunle Yusuf, called for more support of such initiative. According to him, “The sustainable development goals have a 2030 agenda. The whole world has been working to ensure that nobody is left behind. Government alone cannot do this. This is why all other non-governmental organisations have a lot to do. We are happy at what Adenrele Lekan-Salami is doing today. When you see an NGO doing this, we must partner with them. The Oyo State Sustainable Development Goals will be partnering with you. Giving back to society is prioritizing development. This is good and should be encouraged.”
Founder of the foundation, Adenrele Lekan-Salami, told the guests at the event that the burden to make the society a better place should not only be supported but should be seen as beyond the capacity of government. The foundation, he stated, “is a non-profit organization working to promote the wellbeing of children, young people and widows across Nigeria by offering humanitarian services through education, whole food donations and youth empowerment programmes. Giving back to society should be the focus of all.
“Our areas of focus are education, youth empowerment programmes, food and nutrition. We can’t always rely on the government. We have been doing this since about five years ago. There are so many things that can be done. We want to offer tuition scholarships. We want to raise N30 million. We want to remodel libraries and laboratories and also provide learning materials to selected primary and secondary schools.
We want to provide skill acquisition to youths. About 90 per cent of our workers are volunteers so that we can reduce overhead cost.”
Speaking on the importance of education in economic growth and development, the Rector of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Professor Kareem Adebiyi, argued that “education is pivotal to any development.
Knowledge is dynamic. This could be an avenue to remind you of what we have done before. The situation in Nigeria calls for such a foundation.
“Education drives economic development and growth. It is the most powerful tool for reducing poverty and inequality. It gives broad social benefits to people. Education and economic growth are interdependent. The economic benefit of education is to increase growth rate.
“I commend the Oyo State government for its commitment in building the education sector of the state. We are witnesses of this today. But it is also important to say that we must support government in all ways that we can so that we can have the society that we desire,” the rector said.
Sharing similar bent, Agba-Akin Olubadan of Ibadan, Oloye Lekan Alabi, commended the foundation on its outreach, stressing the benefits of community development. For him, “charity begins at home. Many people would have felt that Adenrele was doing this for politics. But he said that was not his driving ambition. We must support him. We as individuals should visit the schools that we attended and see ways in which we can help those who need us. Let us help those whom we know need our help. This is important. The essence and benefits of community development cannot be over-emphasised. We must all push to ensure that we build our communities by empowering those who need it so that we can have better, more live-able societies.”