Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has commended one of the nation’s telcos, Airtel, for bringing relief to the helpless and less privileged in the society through its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative (CSR), Airtel Touching Lives.
At the premiere of Airtel Touching Lives Season 6, on Friday at Ebony Place, Victoria Island, Lagos, Sam Egube, commissioner for Budget and Planning, who represented Governor Sanwo-Olu, thanked Airtel Nigeria for truly showcasing love for humanity by supporting and building a better society for the poor.
He explained that what the telecom operator was doing impacts positively on the overall well-being of Lagos State.
“Lagos cannot be Lagos without its people like Airtel.” He said it was people like Airtel Nigeria and other corporate bodies that made Lagos what is today.
The commissioner encouraged individuals who were present at the event to start doing what Airtel is doing in their tiny spaces.
“Sometimes, it appears that philanthropy is for only wealthy people and that’s not true. No matter how little we have as individuals, there is more we can do.”
As an example, he explained that diaspora remittances in Nigeria were all aggregates of small tokens from millions of people but not large sums of money from a few wealthy people.
“Remittances are from millions of Nigerians who are helping to intervene in their homes and in their communities. These acts change people’s lives and make society a better place.”
Continuing, “during Covid-19, it was reported that Lagos State did extremely well, but the truth is that “Lagos is not Lagos without its people.”
He revealed that it wasn’t just the Lagos government but the private sector that contributed their quota during the period. “It was the combined effects of those actions that raised the implication of what was done. It’s the people of Lagos that made it happen.”
“We have seen Airtel behave truly like a Lagosian, other people can see and be encouraged to act in their various small spaces. Sometimes, you don’t really need too much money to touch people’s lives.”
The commissioner gave an account of how he intervened in the lives of widows who trade agricultural products in a certain rural community.
“At the end of everything, it was only N500,000 I needed to help those 25 widows in form of a cooperative and I am sure many of us can do it,” he said.
In a goodwill message delivered at the event, Bamidele Abiodun, wife of Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Ogun State commended Airtel for the bold steps it has taken over the years to help build the society.
“What Airtel Nigeria is doing is exemplary, this is showing love to humanity.”
She urged stakeholders to demonstrate kindness and express value for humanity while making society better.
“I encourage you to share these inspiring stories with the world. To me, this is not boasting rather it’s about setting an example for others to follow. Airtel cannot do it alone, they need partners and collaborations.”
The first lady revealed what her office and Ajose Foundation were doing to relate with many people from the grassroots and the communities.
Ajose Foundation was founded by Mrs. Abiodun to work in partnership with the Ogun State Government, civil society, and other organizations in making life better for the people of Ogun State while championing programs and initiatives toward meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
She suggested that the mobile operator expands the Touching Lives program.
“Expanding it will make it more far-reaching and further make the society a better place. I am also looking forward to partnering with Airtel through my foundation.”
In his opening remarks, C. Surendran, chief executive officer, Airtel Nigeria said the initiative focuses on giving succor and comfort to the poor and needy in the society.
Explaining the philosophy behind the initiative, the CEO said it’s all about inspiring the strong and the wealthy to support the vulnerable and the poor.
“Airtel believes that if you are committed to giving and making efforts to collaborate, we can solve the problems faced by the society in some parts of the country.”
Surendran highlighted some of the previous editions of the CSR initiatives had recorded milestone achievements, some of them include building schools, and boreholes, providing facilities for learning, refurbished cancer centers, setting up ICT facilities for underprivileged kids, giving scholarships, supporting individuals to fulfill their dreams, building hospitals and other things.
He revealed that Airtel was also partnering with UNICEF to provide Schools in rural areas to have access to education and digital learning. “We are providing 10 schools in Lagos State, and 10 schools in Kano State.