Home Opinion In Defence Of Hon Olajide Stanley’s ‘Demeaning’ Empowerment | Morufu Smith

In Defence Of Hon Olajide Stanley’s ‘Demeaning’ Empowerment | Morufu Smith

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Last weekend, social media were awash with pictures of the venue of the empowerment programme organized by Hon Olajide Stanley (Odidi Omo), a member, House of Representatives, representing Ibadan North West/South West federal constituency, where the Honourable was seen empowering some members of his constituency, mostly middle aged and old women with goats of varied sizes and colours. The uncommon items of empowerment gifted to the constituents by Hon Olajide Stanley attracted condemnations from members of the opposition who opined that empowering people with goats was an height of ridicule for the people. Since the pictures had gone viral, Hon Olajide Stanley has been variously called unprintable names, one of which is the corruption of his nickname, Odidi-Eran!

In the south west, this is the first time a representative of the people at the National Assembly would gift out items considered demeaning and ridiculous to empower. In other regions, especially north west, there was a senator who empowered his constituents with transistors. One senator also from the north gave out wheelbarrows as items of empowerment to his people. In the south east also, there was a governor who empowered his people with kerosene. Nigerians expressed dismay at this tokenism in the name of empowerment from representatives to their people.

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But when, last weekend, Hon Olajide Stanley also gifted out goats to empower some people in his constituency, people expressed disappointment that such tokenism was allowed in a region prided as being educated and exposed. References were made to commendable empowerment programmes earlier done by Hon Akeem Adeyemi, Skimeh, also a member of the House of Representatives, during which over 100 laptops were gifted to some youths in his constituency to empowerment. People expected that Hon Olajide Stanley ought to have shared such technological items or more valuable items as Hon Akeem Adeyemi had done since the present and the future belong to technology.

It’s important to state here that while youths need empowerment, middle aged and elderly men and women in local communities also deserve to be empowered. And, if they must be empowered, what’s relevant to empower them with? During past empowerment programmes, items such as freezers, grinding machines and vulcanising machines were given out to these elderly men and women. In every community today, what elderly women sell most are sachets of pure water and beverages such that the business is no longer as viable as it used to be. There are operators of grinding machines scattered all over the places and in this era when people have resorted to using blenders to grind peppers, business has been dull for operators of grinding machines.

This is where I see what Hon Olajide Stanley has done, sharing goats as empowerment items, as novel and innovative. Rearing of domestic animals is common to these elderly folks such that goats, dogs and hens are ubiquitous in local communities. Anybody that understands the economy of rearing of local livestock will appreciate what Hon Olajide Stanley did. When these goats are reared and multiplied, they bring in steady revenues to the local folks while this tends to reduce the scarcity and exorbitant cost of goats in the formal markets. It’s not a bad idea if we have in our communities, clusters of livestock rearing by these elderly folks!

Beyond politics and partisanship, I commend Hon Olajide Stanley for thinking innovatively on how to solidly empower the old folks with goats since those local people are not strangers to rearing of goats in their backyards. This is one of the ways our political office holders can stimulate local economies. Hon Olajide Stanley has moved away from doing same thing the same way and the result this time is sure to be astounding. Some constituents given freezers, bikes, grinding machines and vulcanising machines in the past had sold off the items and closed shops when the businesses weren’t fruitful.

There’s nothing demeaning and ridiculous about empowering local constituents with goats. It’s a novel way of empowering the old folks. A visit to goat markets at Bodija and Oranyan in Ibadan will reveal the viability of livestock rearing which I am sure is the idea behind giving out goats as empowerment items by the honourable.

NB: This piece represents my personal opinion. It has nothing to do with my membership of APC. Partisanship shouldn’t prevent us from recognising and speaking in favour of worthy efforts.

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