#Lawmaker #advises #youths #acquire #PVC #future #elections
Raymond Mordi, Deputy Political Editor
THE lawmaker representing Kosofe Federal Constituency, Prince Rotimi Agunsoye said the best way restive youths across the country can make their impact on governance is by participating in the political process. Agunsoye made the remark in Lagos recently at an entrepreneurial training and empowerment programme he organized for the youth and women in the three local governments that make up the area.
Speaking to reporters at the event, the lawmaker said the recent #EndSARS protest was a positive development that was later hijacked by unscrupulous elements. He enjoined the youth to utilize the opportunity that would be provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) early next year for those eligible to acquire their permanent voter’s card (PVC).
He said: “The amount of energy they channel towards making their voices heard on the social media should be diverted to actively participating in the electoral process. I believe in them; they are not lazy. If you look at the role youths played in the recent United States’ presidential election, you would understand what I am saying.”
Agunsoye said the empowerment programme is a fulfilment of one of the promises he made when he was campaigning for his re-election last year. He said: “I can say with every sense of gratitude to God and you, my constituents and pillars of my support that we have made appreciable progress in the face of the daunting challenges confronting the nation since the inception of the current political dispensation.”
The lawmaker said the empowerment and skill acquisition training is in line with the cardinal programmes of the manifesto of his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and that it is also in keeping with his guiding principle in life, “which is the Chinese proverb that says, give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and feed him for life”.
He said: “That informs the priority I place on skills acquisition programmes. Five years on as your legislator, the choice I made between the fish of white-collar job and the lesson of skills acquisition has proven to be a wise decision made on behalf of my constituents. The most publicized Kosofe Federal Constituency employment and wealth creation programme in which over 200 graduates were trained and equipped in different areas of speciality was a solid foundation on which subsequent ones have since been built.
“From 2015 till date, I have had the privilege of embarking on programmes where handy tools like block-moulding machines, embroidery machines, sewing machines, grinding machines, winding machines, popcorn-making machines, hairdryers, generators, vulcanizing machines, barbing kits and many more were distributed to beneficiaries in colourful graduation ceremonies upon completion of their training.”
Agunsoye said the empowerment programmes have become a lifeline in this period of a devastating pandemic and global economic recession. He advised the 500 beneficiaries of the current training programme to take the opportunity seriously. He said: “We’ve seen a situation where some people started a business with just N10,000 or N20,000 and succeeded because of the seriousness they put into it. I can assure you that if you take this opportunity seriously; your tomorrow will be better than your today.”
He said the participants would each receive their N50,000 “seed money” at the end of the training to start the businesses they have been trained to embark on. He said the last empowerment programme organised in March, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown came in handy for the beneficiaries in their communities because it helped many of them to start soap-making ventures, which has since become their source of livelihood. He said during that empowerment programme, over 250 constituents benefitted from that effort where they also received a start-up capital of N50,000 each to finance their businesses.
Agunsoye said: “I can tell you categorically that I have been able to empower over 2,500 persons since I started my empowerment programmes. These are real empowerment, not just giving one form of assistance or the other. As a legislator, my primary responsibility is to make laws, but I have realized what poverty can do to vulnerable groups in society, particularly the youth and the womenfolk. To help in alleviating poverty, therefore, there is need to empower the people and to encourage them to help themselves.”
The lawmaker listed some of the federal projects he has succeeded in attracting to the constituency through his influence. These, he added, are at different stages of completion. The projects include Information, Communication Technology (ICT) centre at Ayegbere-Ajibola High School; ICT centre at Ojota Senior Secondary School; ICT centre at Education District II, Mende, Maryland; ICT centre at Agboyi town; two blocks of classrooms at Agidi, Ketu-Alapere; 45,000-litre capacity borehole water system at Perishable Foodstuff Market, Mile 12; 4,000-litre capacity borehole water system at Shikura Yam Market, Mile 12; 45,000-litre capacity borehole at Birnikobi Market; 4,000-litre borehole water system at Aladura, Anthony Village; two 4,000-litre capacity borehole water systems at Ojota; and another water system project at Omojowa Estate, Kosofe.
He said he was able to attract the above projects through collaboration with groups like the Human Rights Commission, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
On the issue of insecurity, he said the situation at the moment has beyond the capacity of Service Chiefs. He added: “That was why we at the House of Representatives invited President Muhammadu Buhari to address us on the way forward. People say we summoned, we never summoned the President; if you look at the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the National Assembly can invite whosoever is in a position to serve Nigerians. That was exactly what we did. This is because we need to work together with the President to proffer solution to the problem.
“Since I got into the House in 2015, I have sponsored motions upon motions to address the issue of community policing, state policing and all that. The fact is that there is too much power in the centre. There is a need to restructure, to achieve true federalism. If we must move forward as a people, this country must be restructured. There is no need to postpone the doomsday for our children and the generations to come; otherwise, posterity would not be kind to us for our negligence. Secondly, with this state of affairs, we would not be able to sleep with our two eyes closed.”
The Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada poured encomiums on Agunsoye for alleviating poverty, particularly among women and the youth population. He said the objective of the training is in line with the mandate of the ministry, which is zero tolerance for poverty among women and the youth.
The commissioner who was represented by Mrs Itunu Babarinde said poverty can only be alleviated through the kind of skill acquisition training that the lawmaker has been organizing for his constituents. She said: “I would like to enjoin the participants to take advantage of the training programme because this is a laudable scheme.”
A beneficiary of one of the past training programme, Mrs Tosin Afuye said Agunsoye has been there for everybody, irrespective of religious, ethnic or regional affiliation. She said: “This is not the first time or the second time Hon. Agunsoye would be embarking on such empowerment programmes. I was one of those that benefitted from one of these programmes in March before the COVID-19 lockdown. We were asked to choose the particular area we desired to specialize in and were empowered to start our business at the end of the training. I was one of those who learnt soap-making.”
Lawmaker advises youths to acquire PVC for future elections