In just six (6) months, a dossier of data detailing the progress of beneficiaries from the “Ejekaseyi” empowerment programme shows that over 50 percent among them now run thriving businesses, making up to ₦60,000 every month. But the most striking part is the fact that these beneficiaries are set to re-empower other unemployed youths in their respective communities.
In the month of December, 2018, 100 unemployed youths across the eight (8) communities of AFIJIO local government in Oyo State were enrolled into this empowerment program that was ran by the 7Eleven Foundation, and the singular aim was to not only give them a source of income, but to start a chain-reaction of job creation in the zone.
The impactful outcome of this empowerment programme as stated above, has caused statewide buzz, such that it is being widely touted as a readied template to be deployed by other facilitators in other zones in the state and across the country.
Buoyed by the need to do things differently and achieve an unusual result, the facilitator of the empowerment programme, one-named Seyi Adisa, a politician who at the time was the All Progressives Congress House of Assembly candidate for Afijio, was quoted saying that the idea of the Ejekaseyi Jobs was birthed from his team’s mantra of running a campaign of substance as against a campaign of merely-mouthed political promises.
He explained, “When you look round Afijio at that time we started, what you’d observe, just like you will in some other parts of the country, is a pool of youths not getting productive with their time and energy mostly because of the lack of opportunities to thrive. We saw a situation of youth unemployment tethered to the lack of opportunities.
“But then, we also noticed that this situation has been persistent despite supposed empowerment programmes that have been brought to these youths. At that point, we were tasked with the question – What could be missing? Why are these pools of youths unproductive and unemployed despite a handful of opportunities they’ve been exposed to by successive empowerment programmes in the past?”
“Well, we discovered three major gaps which were – a lack of financial and business management skills, a lack of mentoring and also a lack of supervision. And, these are the components we decided to add to our style of empowerment, much more like wholesome human capital development”.
“Our team accepted the fact that it will take more than arming these youths with vocational skills to make them gainfully empowered first, and also so well enough to re-empower others. Tasking as it looked, still, it wasn’t rocket science”.
Seyi Adisa’s team partnered with the 7eleven Foundation, a non-profit known for empowering entrepreneurs with life skills right from incubation to activation, to train these 100 selected youths in 5 different crafts namely catering, tie and dye, paint making and painting, shoe-making, and fish and snail farming.
A week-long intensive training of this lot involved masterclass from different professionals who took the beneficiaries through practical layers of financial and business management. Together with the tools given to each of them after this training in form of their take-off support, they have been undergoing continued mentoring and supervision in these 6 months, a process which will go on for another 6 months.
These successes recorded so far with the EJEKASEYI JOBS isn’t unconnected to this unusual process of empowerment detailed above. It is clearly a story of pure desire to get youths off the streets, which then gave birth to a thorough and exemplary solution that seems to last.
In Afijio today, the graduands from that programme are not only gainfully employed, but are indeed creating employment themselves. They are the success stories of this unusual incubation-to-activation style of empowerment.
There is the story of Olabiyi Tolulope and Akano Mary, who are beneficiaries from Ilora town of Afijio Local Government Area, have grown productively with the skill they learnt during the one week intensive vocational training. They both learnt catering and had in the last six months made several moves among which are: supplying snacks to private schools, doing home and office deliveries, as well as rendering catering customized services to grow their business.
The story of Oladejo Veronica is a single mother from Fiditi town is particularly more intriguing. She also learnt the craft of catering and in the last six months, she hasn’t only established a living, she has also been able to scale up the business with the purchase of an additional 6kg Gas cylinder. That’s how successful the knowledge they were impacted with, works. According to her books, she makes an average of N2100 daily profit from the business, from which she’s been able to enroll her child into school, as well as greatly improve her standard of living.
If this data coming from the Afijio 100 is to be believed, beneficiaries who trained in the tie and dye craft are now “busy merchants”, as they are now the go-to people for both day-to-day and ceremonial clothes in the entire Oyo area, at the famous central Iware market, and as far as Ibadan, the state capital.
For Oguntokun Samson, Ojediran Remi and Salisu Ali, they have successfully given “birth”. These trio benefited from the vocational training, learning shoe making, tie and dye, and paint production respectively. In the last six months, Oguntokun, Ojediran and Salisu have been able to court one (1) apprentice each under their wings, channeling the training into them and setting another three (3) erstwhile unemployed individuals on their way to become gainfully empowered too.
Exploring the rave behind these testimonies of Ejekaseyi jobs is just very timely, as it will not be untrue to now admit that, if it works in Afijio and for Afijio youths, it will definitely work anywhere else where there is a lingering situation of unemployment amongst our energetic youths.
Furthermore, it is quite clear that this veritable and mentor-friendly empowerment idea behind Ejekaseyi jobs is steadily proving to be a potent antibiotic against the infection of unemployment, as far as the youth is concerned, and you wouldn’t be wrong if you’re unable to resist the temptation to give deserved kudos to Seyi Adisa and his team.
Garlands For Senator Abiola Ajimobi At 70 | By Bolaji Tunji
In a few hours, precisely December 16, the immediate past governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi will celebrate his 70th birthday. There’s no doubt that this is a major, significant milestone in the life of any individual and worthy of celebration. No one knows this better than my boss, the celebrant who never fails to inform friends and associates that attaining age 70 is significant for him and to some of us, another broken jinx as most of the male members in his family never achieved that 70 years age feat.
That is not the only reason that makes this enviable age significant. In the Holy Bible, the figure 70 is used on 56 different occasions. The number seven represents perfection while the ten represents completeness and God’s law, symbolizing perfect spiritual order. In Numbers 11:16, Moses, shortly after receiving and reading the Covenant that God gave to him for the Israelites, appointed 70 elders who he took up to Mount Sinai to have a special meal with God (Exodus 24: 9-11). Also, the Israelites spent a total number of 70 years in captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 29: 10) before freedom came. 70 years is that year when shackles are broken. For an individual at 70 years, you look back and count the number of your years for a fulfilling three scores and ten and expressing appreciation to the Almighty.
Indeed, for my boss, one would his has been a fulfilled and complete life. He has achieved many things that one could ever desire in life. He is blessed with children to be proud of. He climbed to the highest level of corporate ladder by becoming the Managing Director and Chief Executive of a multinational oil company, National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company before his foray into politics where he also earned an unprecedented two terms as Governor of Oyo State. Significantly at age 70, Senator Ajimobi who has earned the sobriquet, Koseleri (unprecedented) is still going strong, most people would evince surprise that he is 70 years old, because he does not look that age. He still has the vigour and the look of someone much younger and he’s still very active in the affairs of Oyo State and the nation. The term over-the-hill does not apply here. Like other world leaders before him, he is still an active participant in writing the history of the state and the country. He has thus joined the pantheon of other world leaders who continued going strong at age 70. Benjamin Franklin, was one of the founding fathers of the United States of America and he helped draft the US constitution at 70. Winston Churchill was also 70 years old when he led the United Kingdom to victory in World War II, Gold Meir became the Prime Minister of Israel at 70 while actress Helen Hayes won a second Oscar awards at age 70 years. Writer Mark Twain sums up the significance of the 70th year when he said, ‘the seventieth birthday. It is the time of life when you arrive at a new and awful dignity; when you may throw aside the decent reserves which have oppressed you for a generation and stand unafraid and unabashed upon your seven-terraced summit and look down and teach—unrebuked’. Clearly, the later part of Mark Twain statement sums up the person of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, he has always stood unafraid, if there is anything said about him, it is his boldness and the unpopular (in our society) way of saying it the way it is, age 70 now further confers on him that characteristics of saying it the way it is, unrebuked. He has earned it.
To most of us that served with him in the administration, he was not only a boss, he was also a father figure who never missed any opportunity to teach one or two things about life to people around him. He would jokingly say, ‘although I do not have a Ph.D in academics, I have a Ph.D about life’s experiences’. He would prefer to say it the way it is believing it is better to get it off your chest and give yourself a catharsis rather than keep what you have in you bottled up, he says it is also one of the secrets of his youthful look.
As governor of Oyo State, from 2011-2019, Senator Ajimobi made a great impact during his stewardship, even his critics are quick to acknowledge that fact. He has been able to set a standard that other administration will find difficult to match in years to come. His unprecedented achievement stems from his preparedness for governance and for that matter, anything he sets his mind to do. One thing I learnt early enough in my association with him is his global view of issues and a firm grasp and understanding of human nature. Thus, you must be adequately prepared before you make any presentation to him. He expects you to be painstaking. This probably stemmed from his highly successful adventure in the private sector. As governor, he laid a solid foundation for peace and security of life in the State. The brigandage and arson that earned Oyo State, the unsavoury sobriquet of ‘wild, wild west’ became history. He believed that the provision of peace and security would create an atmosphere for the State’s economy to thrive. This manifested during his administration. The hospitality industry grew by 147 percent with hotels and event centres springing up across the State. There was a renaissance of the nighttime economy. For eight years, there was no known case of bank robbery, which before his tenure, was a major issue. Giants Strides were created in infrastructural development, the administration constructed and rehabilitated the highest number of roads in the history of modern Oyo state. In primary health care, the Ajimobi made a major impact. Oyo state became the first to introduce free health care for its citizenry in the country. With less than N1000 per month, you are covered for health benefits. The greatest impact of that administration was more felt in the area of education with the introduction of the School Governing Board (SGB) policy which attracted various stakeholders to participate in running the affairs of their schools. This attracted over N2.8billion into the school system for upgrading of facilities and renovation. The policy was then adopted for understudy by other Southwest States. There was also the cancellation of automatic promotion which earned Oyo State the best WAEC result in 18 years. The establishment of the First Technical University in the Country, having realized that skilled labour was becoming a thing of the past in the country.
People have described him as a brilliant man, no one knows this better than those who have worked closely with him, with his attention to details, he takes in everything presented to him. You cannot present a figure today and you come back with a different figure on the same issue on the following day, thinking he never noticed, he would ask you why it changed, this in spite of the numerous files and memos that have passed across his table. Do I need to state his love for speaking directly to the people without going through laborious and elaborate speeches that could make you go to sleep and that had been written by his team. Once he is at a function, he captures everything within that environment and that becomes the subject of his speech which he delivers effortlessly as if he had had days to write.
Also worthy of emulation is his sartorial elegance, whether he’s spotting his trade mark Agbada which has created a brand that is uniquely his, in corporate attire or in casuals, those clothes look as if tailored specially for him. And if you work closely with him, you are also either a tulip of fashion or you try your best to match up, else…you may go home to change.
And as he clocks this enviable milestone of 70 years, one can only wish him more robust health which he enjoys presently.
Punch Editorial : Another testimony to press freedom in Nigeria by Presidency – Adesina
A newspaper says it will henceforth address President Muhammadu Buhari by his military rank of Major General. Nothing untoward in it. It is a rank the President attained by dint of hard work before he retired from the Nigerian Army. And today, constitutionally, he’s also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
All over the world, just as in our country, a large number of retired military officers are now democrats. It does not make those who didn’t pass through military service better democrats than them.
Rather than being pejorative, addressing President Buhari by his military rank is another testimony to free speech and freedom of the press, which this administration (or regime, if anyone prefers: it’s a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
OPINION: Makinde And The Return Of Political Pessimism In Oyo State | By Martins Sijuwade
In the International Court of Justice Report of 1992 at page 93, The Honourable Judge Bola Ajibola KBE of the International Court of Justice made the following remarks: “Again I ask myself what is justice in a case of this nature? Justice is to maintain international peace and security, to take effective measures to prevent and remove all threats to peace; to suppress all threats of aggression or any form of breaches of peace in any part of the world. To me, justice requires prompt action to prevent deterioration of peaceful co- existence… No man goes to sleep when the house is burning”. Without donning the garb of preposterousness, the security rooftop of Oyo state is burning seriously and uncontrollably.
All over the world the importance attached to security of lives and properties is nulli secondus. Larger attention is given to it for security is the bedrock of human existence. Dead men don’t negotiate business and they don’t contribute their quota to national and state development. It is now so unfortunate that a key man to the Governor of Oyo State and the Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Surveys was attacked by unknown gunmen in his house killing his driver and his orderly heavily wounded. The cypher hereinafter posited is that if the life of a serving Commissioner and the henchman of the Governor is not safe, whose life and property is? Nothing can be further from the truth other than saying that security under the watch of Governor Seyi Makinde is at its lowest ebb. Seyi Makinde’s government is taking us back to the Hobbesian era when life was solitary, nasty, brutish and short.
Like W. B. Yeats said in his classic poem The Second Coming, “things have fallen apart and the centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” For emphasis sake W. B. Yeats stated in his poem as follows”:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Things fall apart the entre cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
The world has not fallen apart. Oyo state is.
In disparaging the roles of bad governance it is quite instructive to remark that one of the factors holding back our democratic process is that some office holders are not prepared for the jobs they were voted to perform. The greatest threat to governance is to elect leaders who find themselves overwhelmed by the challenges of office because they were never prepared in the first place. Ever since the emergence of Governor Seyi Makinde as the governor of Oyo state, his became the tale of a man who was never prepared for governance. From a rubber stamp State House of Assembly headed by a young man who was not also prepared for the seat of Speakership, and down to charlatans who left various political parties to find retirement benefits for themselves within the corridors of Seyi Makinde’s government, the recent comatose state of Oyo is and can be largely attributed to unpreparedness of Seyi Makinde and his arrays of political office holders.
Or how best can one describe an attack on a serving Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Surveys of Oyo state right within the comfort of his house by unknown gunmen? The government of Seyi Makinde is condescending into failure; failure is staring at the face of the leaders who unfortunately met themselves unprepared for the major task of governance. Mockery of the system it is for a government that has no answer for the insecurity in the land. It is a colossal mockery for a government to pay lip service to the populace assuring them of a secure and safe state when on the contrary the high and mighty and the middle classed civil servants and citizens are scampering to safety with no hope in sight.
Governor Seyi Makinde in a bid to show off and over-impress the people embarked grossly on misplaced priorities and is always all out to disparage the antecedents of the immediate past APC led government. Makinde via his lacklustre attitude to governance has tremendously proven that Oyo is being taken like 10 years backward: the popular pre-Ajimobi era. Before the election of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, pre-Ajimobi Oyo state was always a war zone.
Ranging from the criminality perpetrated along the Molete axis, down to the notoriety of street urchins at Bere/Oja-Oba down to Oje, Iwo Road and the unrest always recorded at Foko and Oke-Ado, Ajimobi came to power minding the fact that governance without adequate security is a failure – colossal one for that matter. As the Chief Security Officer of the state, Ajimobi brought the Oyo State Security Trust Fund (OYSSTF) to limelight to provide for the wherewithal of fighting insecurity. He brought the Operation Burst and Joint Task Force which really worked like a magic wand in nipping criminality in the bud. Like a Cyclop, Ajimobi restored sanity, sanctity and order to Oyo state. The facts can be verified: no Commissioner or public officer was attacked under the nose of Senator Abiola Ajimobi when he was in government.
As it stands now, it is audible to the deaf and visible to the blind that Governor Seyi Makinde does not have a clear-cut blueprint on how to handle the matter of security. It is therefore not surprising that instead of building institutional countercheck to insecurity, Governor Makinde is busy lavishing borrowed funds on misplaced projects and flying all over the world. What is the problem? The problem is the successive cohorts of opportunist politicians and their ever available collaborators who are continuously using public offices, politics and power for themselves for self enrichments with the mass of the people getting steadily poorer by the day.
The procurement of some patrol vehicles was made public on 20th November 2019 and in the evening of the same day, unknown gunmen attacked a serving Commissioner under the watch of the Governor at his home claiming his driver’s life. Seyi Makinde should know as a governor that outcome policies based on consensual, participatory, and transparent processes are more easily sustained than lone, solitary-minded, eccentrically dogmatic viewpoints. By implication, institutions of good governance that embody such processes are critical for development and should encompass partnerships among all elements of civil society representing different shades of opinion and ideology.
Before this can materialize, it is fundamental that a solid foundation of effective organizations and enabling institutions is a necessary precondition. Once a governor fails to take initiative and is always fond of putting his eggs in one basket, then it frequently results to underperformance. And the most paramount performance index rests solely on the issue of security.
The present ruling party in Oyo state and its drivers have no direction. It’s a tale of confused drivers looking for confused passengers. They have degenerated to political miscalculations that have fallen below the expectations of the people. In a scenario similar to Seyi Makinde’s government, the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Russia Nikita Khrushchev in his book titled Krushchev Remembers, reported that “after the Nineteenth Party Congress, Stalin created among the new Presidium members some wide-ranging commissions to look into various matters. In practice, these commissions turned out to be completely ineffectual because everyone was left to his own devices. There was no guidance. There was nothing assigned for these commissions to look into, so they made up their own assignments. Everyone in the orchestra was playing on his own instrument anytime he felt like it, and there was no direction from the conductor”.
Those appointed by governor Seyi Makinde in various capacities cannot boast of having achieved anything spectacular other than media noises, television misdemeanors and radio cacophonies. This best summarises the infamous and inglorious roles currently being played by the charlatans under Seyi Makinde’s administration. His appointees practise what we can best refer to as political shenanigans. Their orchestra lacks a conductor: always embarking on aimless adventures. The founding fathers of Oyo may not be that happy in the heavens with Governor Seyi Makinde paying mere lip service to governance.
Clarion call is hereby made to the Commissioner for Lands of Oyo state who was attacked and who escaped death by thin air and indeed the entire cabinet members of Seyi Makinde’s government to immediately resign from Governor Seyi Makinde’s cabinet as the recent attack shows that cabinet members’ lives are not secure. A government that cannot adequately secure its cabinet members will definitely fail to secure the lives of the ordinary citizens.
Seyi Makinde should know that security is serious business no one can play politics with. He seems not to have a firm grasp of the issues surrounding the state’s security and terrain. This is a Governor who spends more time outside Oyo state than inside. He prides in coasting all over the world and abandoning his primary responsibility of governance and security stability. Seyi cannot be blamed: he lives most of his adult life in the South-Southern part of the country. He barely knows the Oyo terrain and landscape and those who are meant to be his eyes can’t really see farther beyond their nose. It’s a tale of the one-eyed man leading the blind. The Ibadan people with their witty sagacity had long posited that in the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is King. He leads his cabinet and they follow him sheepishly.
Governor Seyi Makinde should borrow leaf from the technocracy of the immediate past Governor of Oyo State Senator Abiola Ajimobi. He should not be too arrogant to approach the elder statesman at his Yemoja Street residence in Oluyole Estate, Ibadan. After all Seyi Makinde had confessed to the Oyo public that most of Senator Abiola Ajimobi’s policies are valuable and priceless. Government should be in continuum and pride and party politics should not step in place of good governance. If Governor Seyi Makinde is not prepared for the office, at least he can seek the way from those who have gone ahead of him in the journey.
Seyi Makinde has failed the people and he should face it. He should look at consulting the experienced to salvage Oyo’s dwindling glory.
Martins Olamiji Sijuwade, a legal practitioner and the President of Global Social Thinkers’ Institute, an organization concerned with good governance, accountability and public transparency writes
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