“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.”
-Proverbs 19 verse 17
His true-life tale reads like some action-packed, page-turning, best-selling work of fiction; full of thrills and frills, twists and turns. But ultimately, he emerges as the hero having the last laugh, against the antics of Fate. Imagine yourself as one agile Nigerian, leaving the country some nine years ago full of brilliant dreams and with high hopes, only to return this time around with the left leg gone along with some fingers from your right hand! But that is only part of an intriguing, tear-jerking and heart-rending story.
That is, of someone who felt feverish but was left waiting in agony in an Accident and Emergency(A and E) department of a hospital in London for six hours without anyone taking blood samples. He eventually walked out, thinking he needed no further treatment. Imagine the victim not knowing that he had contracted flesh-eating necrotising fasciitis in his pelvis and had to have the amputations due to septic shock. Imagine surviving series of 55 surgeries! Imagine one’s organs totally shutting down, with numbing heart failure twice. Imagine surviving the ordeal to wake up from coma after 14 weeks! That was in Kings College Hospital, London. And dumb founded, the awe-struck doctors attending to him were compelled to confess that no patient in living memory has cheated death in such inexplicable manner?
That, my dear reader is the life trajectory of an enigmatic Nigerian who, as the publisher of Ebony Magazine would say has survived against all odds! He goes by the name of Mr. Ibiyinla Macaulay. The surname rings a loud and clear in our political firmament, doesn’t it? Yes, the father-of-three belongs to the fourth generation of Herbert Macaulay and married to Yinka. We are talking about the famous political icon and one of the leading lights of the founding fathers who struggled for Nigeria’s political independence from the British colonialists.
Even as we identify with his travails, one profound feature of it all is that he, unlike some other survivors of life’s many tragedies has learnt a lesson from his experiences. It is exciting to note that he has heeded God’s call for him to give back to the needy members of the society. That inspired the coming into being of the Ibiyinka Macaulay Foundation(IBMAC) as a philanthropic platform to actualize his vision. Such kind gesture aligns with the words of Mother Teresa, the late legendary giver who lived for others, that: “Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same”
In Macaulay’s words, “God brought me back for a reason. It took me a long time for me to recover and I am still going through the process of recovery. I am very grateful to God for giving me a Second Chance. The reason I set up this Foundation is to help humanity and give back to the society, because I know I did not bring anything to the world and I won’t take anything back. So, I am ready to help everybody”. This is inspiring, no doubt. But seeing is believing.
Incidentally, yours truly was amongst Nigerians who witnessed the history-making direct giving of impact-making goods, facilities, structures and even raw cash to those who need them most. The series of events which was kicked off with a press conference at Surulere, Lagos took three days, from Saturday, May 18, 2019 through Monday to Tuesday, May 21, 2019.At Modupe Cole Child Care and Treatment Home, Akoka it was the donation of several bags of raw food items, some 25 cartons of indomie noodle, clothing and bedding materials.
Meeting with victims of celebral palsy, all in pampers with the wonderful care-givers giving them food and attending to their health needs was most sobering. Seeing a 64-year old victim who has been there for 50 years and lost his sight grieves the heart. What about the young girl whose parents dumped at the gate of the centre and named Modupe Cole? Meeting others with lesser levels of deformity but have spent their valuable time engaged in bead and hat making was indeed an unforgettable motivation. So, why should others without deformity sit down doing nothing but complain about what they think they lack?
It was a similar scenario at the Lagos Cheshire Home, in Mushin Lagos. IBMAC gave out similar items of food, clothes and wheelchairs on the same day. And on Monday, Macaulay and his able team defied the rain as he commissioned boreholes, 36 refurbished toilets and also donated generating sets and television sets to three schools along Iyun Street, beginning with Salvation Army School his Alma Mater in Surulere. There also, as well as on Tuesday morning at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital,LUTH victims of blood poisoning from undischarged faeces were handed colostromy bags directly.
Furthermore, as many as 2,000 packs of cooked food and several crates of soft drinks were doled out with cash at the Destitutes Home in Ebute-Meta. Coming in the evening when most of them were breaking their fast, it was a welcome package and they savoured it all.
In fact, in all these places it was commendations galore from the recipients, be they the nurses, teachers and caregivers. As Steve Maraboli rightly stated, “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”
Mandy Hale, adds that “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.”
Macaulay’s uncommon milk of human kindness should spur other Nigerians who are well to do, to do the needful. As stated in Duetoronomy Chapter 15 verse 11, the ppor will always be amongst us. We should therefore, stretch out out hands wide open to lift many victims from the oignoble pit of poverty. This has become more imperative given Nigeria’s situation that has become the world capital of extreme poverty, with high unemployment arte, job losses spinning off waves of crimes and criminality.
To you, the lucky ones reading this piece: What are you still doing with excess food and the left-overs you throw away every day into the dustbins instead of giving that to the hungry beggars by the street? How useful to you are the empty rooms of mansions that lay waste in the cities and back home? Of what use are the fanciful clothes that clog your cupboards when some go about virtually naked? You don’t need all those exotic cars in your garage. It is all vanity.
Macaulay has seen the vanity in all these and he urges us to give. When we do we are protected from our enemies. So states Psalm 41 verses 1 and 2. Do not entertain any iota of fear because “No one has ever become poor by giving.” So says Anne Frank. And according to Charles Dickens: “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another”.
Considered from all perspectives, many of us who are hale and hearty are hardly grateful to God our Almighty creator, instead we complain of what we lack. Macaulay has shown us the way forward. In the words of John Holmes: “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”