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Day foundation put smiles on faces of journalists’ widows

Okonkwo lost his life in a ghastly motor accident in Osun State, on his way back home. His death was shocking to members of the…

Okonkwo lost his life in a ghastly motor accident in Osun State, on his way back home. His death was shocking to members of the NUJ.
His untimely death has since thrown a spanner in the progress of his immediate family. Life has not been the same for his wife, Anthonia Okonkwo, and his children.
A little over four years ago, he was among the journalists that he were kidnapped in Abia State on their way back to Lagos from Akwa-Ibom, where they attended NUJ meeting.
They spent over two weeks in the den of kidnappers before they could breath the air of freedom.
For Ogundeji, would have been lynched by illegal train passengers on September 13, 2012, at Ikeja train station, Lagos if not for the intervention of law enforcement agents nearby. His undoing was looking for pictures that could tell the story.  
However, few months after the attack, due to poor and irregular payment of salary and the need to take adequate care of his family, Ogundeji moved to Newswatch Daily newspapers, owned by businessman and publisher of National Mirror. But he passed on Sunday, September22, this year at his Sango-Ota residence in Ogun State, leaving behind a son and a wife.
Ogundeji was the former Photo Editor of Compass Newspaper owned by ex-governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. He started his career with the defunct Daily Times in the 1980s.
Earlier in the week, families of the two departed journalists were given financial support by Richard Akinnola Foundation for Journalists Widows at the office of NUJ located on Iyalla Street.
The president of the foundation, Mr Richard Akinnola, a former journalist at Vanguard Newspaper donated the sum of N100,000 each to the wife of Tunde Ogundeji and wife of Adolphus Okonkwo. He explained that the Foundation was established in April 2010 to give succour to the widows of journalists.
According to him, experiences had shown that as soon as a journalist died, even those in corridors of power who make use of their services while alive would look for another available journalist to use, adding, “They just move to the next available person to be used, not even sparing a thought for the family and dependants left behind by the departed journalist,” he said.
In an interview with Sunday Trust shortly after the donation, wife of Ogundeji, Mrs Olutoyin, disclosed that the family had been abandoned by her husband’s friends and family members.  She explained that life had been tough for her and her only child, Adeyemi Ogundeji.
In her words, “It’s not been easy, if I must tell you the truth. About 40 days after my husband died, our landlord evicted us from the building. We had nowhere to go, no family members to look up to. The landlord said my husband was owing one year rent as at the time he died. He wanted me to pay the rent arrears immediately or I pack out. The landlord kept on mounting pressure on me to pay the debt and since I didn’t have the required money, , we packed out of the building and we now are living in a church. ”
On the N100,000 gift, she said:  “I am grateful for this money. I will start a small scale business with it.”  
In her own explanation, Mrs Okonkwo gave glory to God that her family had survived. She said life of a widow was what she never thought of in her life, but noted that God would be her family’s provider and protector. She said the vacuum created by the demise of her husband is too big for her to shoulder all alone.

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