The empowerment of 5,000 tea sellers in Kano, by the state Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has left euphoria in the atmosphere and caused interpretations by people from all walks of life. BASHIR MOHAMMED reports
Empowerment, being Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s cardinal thrust, in fulfilment of his electioneering campaign promises had recently been made to bear fruits , as the governor empowered over 5,000 tea sellers to stand on their own as part of the governor’s initiative in making the youths, as well as men and women to become self- reliant.
The epoch-making occasion which was held at the open theatre, Kano Government House, had witnessed the attendance of crème de la crème of Kano from all walks of life, comprising members of the National Assembly, representing Kano State, Sole administrators of all the 44 local government councils in the state, notable scholars from the academia and host of others.
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, used the occasion to express his unalloyed commitment to supporting the crusade for self- reliance by his government coming at a time when other states in the country employed measures to support youths to attain the most basic skills of self- reliance in an ideal democratic setting.
According to the governor, his administration had committed a whooping sum of N208m for the purchase of ingredients needed in preparing sumptuous tea to be patronized by customers frequenting popular tea selling spots, adding the that the tea sellers who were drawn from all the 44 local government councils in the state were purposefully empowered to feel the impact of democracy dividends under his leadership.
He said the tea sellers were carefully selected based on a feasibility study conducted to determine the extent of their commitment to the business, affirming that the business of tea selling is never a menial job in view of its growing expansion in all the nook and cranny of the state in addition to attaining some balance of sophistication nowadays.
It was however the contention of the governor that the issue of personal hygiene must not be compromised considering the fact that neatness is an integral part of making the business acceptable to all and that the tea sellers were very much expected to abide by the rules and regulations of maintaining a good standard in personal hygiene
He however stated that there was a compelling need for any responsive and responsible government to come up with viable self-reliance initiatives to support the army of unemployed youths in the absence of white collar jobs pointing out that no amount of resources was too much in supporting the self-reliance crusade.
He equally stressed that the empowered tea sellers were at an ample liberty to employ others using the empowerment materials they have acquired positing that by employing others, they have also contributed their quota in fighting the scourge of unemployment in the state.
Speaking in the same vein, a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Bayero University Kano, Professor Habu Mohammed Fagge said empowering the tea sellers by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, had proven to everyone that his government had appreciably embraced the present democratic dispensation with vigour and utmost seriousness, adding that the amount spent on boosting the business was enough to convince everyone that the administration really meant business.
He said initiating empowerment schemes and the acquisition of various vocational skills by youths had been the vogue all over the globe affirming that failure to provide self-employment opportunities to the teaming unemployed youths was a big minus to any responsible leader calling the shots in a democratic rule.
He points out that the Ganduje administration is one that can be taken seriously, taking into cognizance, myriad of programmes conceived to accord a discernible human face to the self- employment mantra bandied about by the Buhari administration positing that what politics entailed is service to humanity by political office holders calling the shots.
He said the craze for white collar jobs by youths graduating from the universities and other tertiary institutions would perpetually remain unrealistic in as much as the issue of empowerment is relegated to the background, stressing that even in times of recession, palliatives were introduced to inject succour into the minds of unemployed youths.
He however stated that it had also become utterly imperative for youths in the state to rise to the challenge of embracing vocational skills at a time when they were expected to be the bred winners of their respective families positing that acquiring such skills was meant to fight the disturbing spate of poverty taken a disastrous toll on the lives of youths.
He further revealed that the Bayero University had introduced a special course on youths entrepreneurship as a way of making headway in that direction stressing however that with the introduction of the course the stage was set for liberating unemployed university graduates from the bondage of idleness and the absence of the means to earn a living.
It was however the contention of many tea sellers in Kano that the empowerment support given to them by the governor, had been a litmus test of his administration’s resolve to ensure that citizens of the state were exposed to the dividends of democracy stressing that only a responsive and responsible government can listen to the clarion call to support their business to thrive and flourish effectively.
In the words of a vetran tea seller in Kano, Malam Rabilu Maishayi Fagge, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, had proven himself as a leader worth his salt considering the stunning pace with which he initiated various empowerment schemes to the advantage of the owners of small and medium scale enterprises.
According to him, he had been in the business of tea selling for more than two decades and that he had never gotten the empowerment support of successive administrations in the state pointing out that he had every justifiable premise to be grateful to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje administration.
He said” tea selling, is a business worth cherishing by any person who knows its worth, is poised to reap a huge profit , looking at the annual turnover one realized from the business. if an empowerment support of this kind is given to owners of small and medium enterprises like us, the future would be quite rosy for tea sellers”.
Tea selling rewarding
“People are only criticizing the government for no just cause. as far as we are concerned, we are supported by the governor to stand on our feet. What is expected of us is to reciprocate the good gesture by using the materials given to us judiciously in addition to maintaining an exceptional standard in personal hygiene. He added.
Speaking in the same vein, another tea seller who had spent over four decades in the business, Malam Shehu Mai Shayi Gwammmaja, said to him, tea selling had been the most rewarding business in his life, since he was able to own houses and plots of land with the proceeds of his business adding that the empowerment support given to him by the governor was an additional impetus for him to forge ahead.
He said” at the time I started the business, just few months I came to Kano from Niger Republic, I was living in a single rented room with my family. With the business growing with each passing day, I was able to buy a piece of land and started developing it. As I am talking to you now, I am owning three houses besides the one I am currently in. to me tea selling is the most profitable business”.
He commended Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for initiating the empowerment scheme at the most austere time stressing that the empowerment couldn’t have come at a better time like this.
The overriding opinion among observes in the state is the fact that no administration in the state had ever come up with empowerment scheme like the Ganduje administration has done in spite of the prevailing financial downturn of the nation’s economy that has affected in huge measures the IGRs and Federal Allocations inflows to states, Kano government has continued to send a lifeline to the ordinary tea sellers to earn a living.