The people of Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency in Oyo state would not forget in a hurry the day their representative in the lower legislative chamber in the National Assembly doled out money to assist indigent women and youths in the area. BAYO AGBOOLA writes.
It was payback time in the form of democracy dividends for hundreds of women and the entire people of Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency in Oyo state on Wednesday July 31, 2019 when one of their elected political leaders, Honourable Akin Alabi, who represents the constituency in the House of Representatives, stormed the G4 Event Centre located at Isebo area of Egbeda local government area of the state to give back to his people in what was referred to as the beginning of his N250million empowerment scheme for women and youths in the constituency.
Although the event was billed to take off by 11am that day, as at 9.30am, the event centre was filled to capacity with the All Progressives Congress (APC) members as well as others seated while awaiting the take-off of the empowerment scheme which was described as the first of its kind in the constituency especially by most of the people at the event centre particularly the 250 beneficiaries.
The arrival of the law maker, Honourable Alabi, who is the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs into the centre was, greeted with loud ovation amidst singing and dancing by his supporters together with APC leaders from across the constituency particularly Egbeda local government area.
The arrival and the warm reception accorded him on arrival left no one in doubt that the law maker is indeed a grass root politician, a man of his people and lover of his constituency and its people going by the way he was relating and blending with his supporters, party men and leaders as well as the beneficiaries that thronged the event centre to witness the empowerment programme.
Empowerment is a legislative duty – Hon Alabi
Addressing hundreds of his supporters, beneficiaries and others on that day, Honourable Alabi minced no words in declaring that it would not be a big deal for him to dole out N250 million for the empowerment of women in his constituency having related with them, identified parts of their needs and more so determined to impact positively into their lives in his own little way through the endowment scheme.
As the event continued, the venue of the empowerment scheme became charged with wild jubilation when the law maker announced publicly that the money to be given to the beneficiaries would be non-refundable. He said, “Whatever I will be giving to you here is for you and is non-refundable; if anyone comes to you and tells you otherwise, don’t listen to them. The money is for you the beneficiaries and I am not collecting it back from you.
“I am doing this not for any reasons, but during the campaign, I met a lot of women and youths as we moved about. They came out and casted their votes for me. I see what we are doing today as one of the ways to assist them. I don’t want to wait for the government; this is why I am doing it now. It is basically from my pocket,” he said.
He added further that, “A total of 250 people are benefiting from the empowerment scheme today. Today alone, we are kicking off the programme. We are continuing tomorrow. We are starting today with 250 women; that is just today, the programme is a N250 million empowerment scheme.”
Honourable Alabi pointed out that the number of beneficiaries is not pegged saying, “Much as we can, we don’t have a definite number. As much as our resources can accommodate, we are going to take care of them. For some people, it would not be on monetary basis, for some, it is to assist them on their hospital bills while some are going to be trained on this scheme for free.
“I am doing it for different reasons and during the campaign, I met a lot of women who came out and voted for me. I see this as one of the ways to assist them. I don’t want to wait for the government, that is why I am doing it now. It is basically from my own pocket.
“I have special interest for the youth; some are looking for jobs, some need training, so we are going to do all our possible best to assist them. We are going to have different solutions to different people. We are doing this in order to formalise it. I believed spending N250 million on the people is not a big thing for me as the law maker representing you.”
Beneficiaries laud move
As far as many of the beneficiaries were concerned, having the likes of Honourable Alabi as a politician and representatives of the people especially the masses is what the country needs to tackle the growing poverty in the land as well as other menaces.
According to one of the beneficiaries who simply identified himself as Alhaja, the effort of the law maker in terms of empowering women in his constituency despite being the first of its kind in the area would go a long way in solving part of the economic problems in the constituency and even beyond as most of the women who are already into petty trading would now be in a better position to boost their business with the largesse from the law maker.
“You should realise that if you empower a woman, you are indirectly empowering the entire household and by extension many people. What Honourable Akin Alabi is doing today is not strange to most of us who know him and his records very well. Even before he was being elected into the House of Representatives, he has always been there for the masses. I know he will still do more, that is the kind of person he is. We thank him and appreciate his kind gestures at all times.