More than 3,000 indigents in Ijebuland benefited from the third edition of the Free Medical Outreach, sponsored by a group of childhood friends known as the Ijebu Boys Association (IJ-Boys).
The three-day medical outreach started on Thursday 9th June and was rounded off at the Millennium Hall inside the Ijebu Ode Local Government secretariat, Itooro Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.
Several traditional rulers, including the Gbegande of Ososa, Oba (Dr) Adetoye Alatishe; the Oru of Imoru Ijebu, Oba Adeposi Bashorun, and former Second Republic lawmaker, Prof. Bankole Okuwa graced the opening ceremony.
The dignitaries prayed for the 58 members of IJ-Boys and urged corporate bodies, non-governmental organisations, and eminent sons and daughters of Ijebuland to emulate the group’s great deeds.
Oba Alatishe, a medical practitioner and former Chairman of Ijebu Ode Local Government, asked the beneficiaries of the outreach to pray for the IJ-Boys. He appealed to the state government and the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr) Sikiru Adetona to recognise and honour the contributions of the group to the people of Ijebuland and beyond.
He further said: “This is the third edition of this capital-intensive medical outreach and I have personally witnessed two editions. Health is wealth, and healthy citizens are those that can bring about a healthy nation. We must appreciate the invaluable contributions of this middle-aged men who preferred calling themselves ‘boys’.
“This is not the only service Ijebu Boys Association are rendering to Ijebu people. I remember during COVID-19 pandemic when there was no movement, IJ-Boys gave out massive palliatives in the form of food items. They did this twice during the long pandemic. They shared this across towns and villages in Ijebuland. My people in Ososa received from the goodies.
“They have other things they are still doing. I heard they even painted the hall they are using for this medical outreach. Let’s join hands to pray that God continues to prosper and protect them and their families”.
On his part, Oba Bashorun was emotionally touched and offered royal blessings unto members of the association. He participated in the vital checks, and was happy that his blood pressure was in perfect order. The traditional ruled donated substantially to the group.
In his goodwill message, Prof. Okuwa asked all beneficiaries of the IJ-Boys Medical Outreach from inception to continue to pray for the members of the association. He said his own son is a member of the group.
He disclosed that the project was self-sponsored by the association and emphasised that it is non-political, and no politician nor government contributed to IJ Boys’ projects. He however stated that, in case any of the members chose to go into politics, the people of Ijebuland should give the required support, saying “this are the kind of people you should vote for in case they choose to go into politics; not all these ones currently parading themselves, representing their pockets not you, the people. If Ijebu Boys could be spending their hard-earned resources to be taking care of you without any political ambition, imagine what they would provide for you if they represent you in the government”.
The association’s President, Mr Olagbuyi Oduniyi thanked the special guests and his fellow members in Nigeria and in the Diaspora for adopting and sponsoring the annual medical outreach as a give-back to the community that gave birth to them.
Recalling how the association came into being, its Publicity Director, Omooba Adetola Odusote said: “IJ-Boys came into being in 2017 after the death of some of our prominent childhood friends in 2016, among whom were Bolaji Osinowo and T-Bello. Few of us came together to form a platform through which we could be checking on one another. We adopted the motto, ‘Idagbasoke Gbogbo Akile Ijebu’, (the progress of Ijebuland). We had as our mission statement: ‘to cater for the well-being of our members and drive socio-economic development of Ijebuland’.
“Membership is by your root to Ijebuland, or as a friend who grew up together with us and who had primary or secondary education in Ijebu in the ’70s and ’80s. We have liberalised conditions for membership by reducing the age limit to 45. It can also be by marriage to an Ijebu daughter or by residence in Ijebuland. But you must know at least three members who can attest to your character and commitment to IJ-Boys’ cause”.
This year’s edition had more than 40 volunteer medical service providers. They included medical doctors from various public and private institutions, including the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu; General Hospital, Ijebu Ode.
Partnering organisations included Dishol Medical Specialist Centre, Ijebu Ode; Catholic Optical Outreaches, Ijebu Ode; the Institute of Human Virology Ijebu Ode; Bishop Sanusi Catholic Medical Centre, Ijebu Ode; Ijebu Ode Local Government and Super FM Ijebu Ode.
Sicknesses and other medical conditions treated were: tooth and eye problems; hepatitis B and C; malaria parasite tests and treatment; HIV/AIDS tests and treatment; diabetes plus blood sugar tests and treatment; toxicology tests and treatment; and vital signs checks, among others.
A standby ambulance, medical laboratory and dentistry were provided along with optical tests facility. Five new wheelchairs and about 20 walking aids were given out to patients that required them. Over N5 million worth of medical drugs, working aids and eyeglasses were given out.
The beneficiaries came from far and near including Ijebu Igbo, Epe, Agbowa, Ikorodu, Sagamu, Idowa, Ososa, Ijebu Imusin, Ijebu Ife, Owu Ikija and Ago Iwoye, and were fed with sumptuous meal every day.