At about 8.27 am, the bus ferrying them from different designated spots in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital pulled to a stop.

The bus stop was the Pelican Valley Estate, Laderin Area of the gateway city.

After few seconds, women of different ages, mainly widows across the state started disembarking into the warmth hands of the chief promoter of the Oko Opo Foundation, Ambassador (Dr) Babatunde Adeyemo among other personalities.

For Adeyemo, Chief Executive Officer of Pelican Valley Nigeria Limited, a foremost Nigerian real estate firm, the occassion was a long time dream realised!.

He had for several years nursed the ambition of having and launching a foundation mainly for the widows.

Aside Pelican Valley Estate, Adeyemo also calls the shots at Pelican’s Brief Estate, Pelican Ecostay Apartments and Pelican’s Greenish Acre Farm Estate, all located at the Kobape – Masa corridor of Ogun State.

The event coincided with the Boxing Day, December 26, 2023 with over 100 widows across different Ogun communities pioneering the laudable Oko Opo Foundation with food items and cash distributed to them

The donations were to cushion the effects of widowhood and the current economic hardship in the country.

After settling down, the widows, young and old, lettered and unlettered who were visiting the estate for the first time were excited with the programme as they introduced themselves.

Thereafter, a health awareness and sensitization talk from experts on age related health conditions were rendered to the delights of the widows.

An octogenarian widow and the mother of the chief promoter of Oko Opo Foundation, Alhaja Sidikat Adeyemo, also took her turn to share her long time experience as a widow spanning decades.

Alhaja Adeyemo, who urged them to be closer to God and fight off boredom and despair, also appealed to them to engage in productive ventures and be people oriented.

While urging them to be nice to the families of their late husbands, Mama Adeyemo appealed to widows not to lose hope saying with prayers, what they have lost in their husbands could be achieved in their respective children.

A seasoned broadcast journalist, Chief Eddy Aina urged the widows to pay more attention to their health, age and diets among other conditions.

This he said was necessary to prolong their lifespan. With many of them attaining age of 40 years and above, Aina cautioned against eating beef, gari, yam, salt and other sugary products because of their high sugar contents. Instead, he canvassed more vegetables, fruits, fish, unripe plantain, crayfish among others.

Aina, who disclosed that there is an estimated 15 million widows in Nigeria, lamented the inhuman conditions some of them were being subjected.

In particular, he noted the abuse of widows and widowhood in parts of the South East geo-political zone of the country.

He appealed to governments and wealthy Nigerians to emulate Ambassador (Dr.) Babatunde Adeyemo, by joining hands with him to alleviate the suffering of Nigerian widows.

Mr. Lekan Jaji, a philanthropist, who spoke on “Acceptability”, a way of empowering the widows, urged them to accept the reality that their departed loved husbands had gone and would not physically return anymore.

According to him, realising this fact early after the passage of their benefactors would help them to move on with life and forge a new frontier instead of dwelling on illusion that leads to frustration and incapacitation.

Dr. Adeyemo who remains highly impressed with widows' turnout disclosed that the foundation is a covenant between him and God.

Since the idea was conceived about 10 years ago, Adeyemo disclosed that he had expended almost N150 million on the project.

This include donation of acres of land towards providing housing in the future to the most vulnerable widows.

“The motivation is simply the passion to make things happen in this country and to also change the narratives. I came from a very humble beginning, a very humble background where we suffered a lot.

"My father was a philanthropist, he was a senior civil servant, he spent almost 27 years in service but my dad didn’t build a house of his own. He was busy using all his money to empower people.

"From my home town he empowered them, sent them to school.Unfortunately, he was retired suddenly and we moved from there into uncompleted building. We stayed in an unknown persons uncompleted building without electricity, doors and windows for about a decade.

“So, I was privileged to see a bush, a thick forest turning into a town. So, any thick forest that I see now, I don’t actually see the forest in there, I see the town in there. So, that actually motivated me towards establishing Pelican Valley Nigeria Limited. And something I learnt from my father as well is that there is no amount of money you have that can secure your future or secure the future of your children.

"The only way you can secure your future is to invest in institution, invest in people. Those are the things that will stand the test of time. And here I’m today, I’m not a multi billionaire but I’m contented with what I have and I see reason for me to touch the heart of people positively.

“We still have people that have billions but could not do what we are doing. It is in the blood. It is hereditary. For example, most of my staff, apart from paying them their salaries, I give them daily stipends because I can’t afford to work with somebody that is hungry. So, the same integrity we have brought into real estate.

"We are one of the best in Ogun State right now. We are the "Omoluabi" in the real estate business. We have been into this business for almost 14 years without a single court case and I have four lawyers under my retainership. We have 100% positive reviews and we are still pushing on on this.

“So, I want to bring those integrity and goodwill to help the widows and I’m doing this to live by example. I have committed over N150million of hard earned funds into this project. This building that is called "The Podium" where the programme is being formally unveiled today was purposely built for the foundation.

"We spent almost N150million to put this place together. It was long term project, I conceptualised this project in the last 10 years and I have been systematically working to achieve it.

“We are just using this opportunity and avenue to call on people of like minds to join us, to join this crusade. This is not about somebody looking for what to eat. Like the Pelican bird, the spirit of Pelican is, ‘ working together to empower ourselves.

"We are building this to work together to empower the less privileged in the society. This is not a short time affairs. In the long time projection, I have donated about two acres of land that we are going to use to build houses, one bedroom short let apartment for the most vulnerable widows who don’t have roof over their heads among other plans we have for the widows", he stated.

The event was preceded by a 45-minute long Live Executive Media chat with executive members of the foundation – Dr. Babatunde Adeyemo, Mr Adeyemo Ibrahim; Secretary of the foundation and Mrs. Titilayo Babs Adeyemo, Director and Mr Olukayode Olasehinde, the Brand Ambassador of Oko Opo Foundation.

The media chat was anchored by three of Chief Eddy Aina, Public Relations expert; Mr Tope Adaramola and Ernest Nwokolo of The Nation newspaper.