How I Empowered 400 Constituents Despite Lockdown – Hon Oluga

How I Empowered 400 Constituents Despite Lockdown – Hon Oluga

Hon. Oluga Olukemi Taiwo represents Ayedaade/Irewole/Isokan Federal Constituency of Osun state in the House of Representatives. She is a first timer. In this interview with Abdul Lateef Bamgobse, she revealed how she empowered over 400 people in her constituency across political parties

As a first timer in the House, coming out of the ashes of the lockdown, you embarked on an empowerment programme in your constituency, what is the source of the empowerment?

We thank God for the privilege he has given us to serve. It is a privilege to serve. Like I said earlier, I was not the most qualified in my Constituency, this is not the first empowerment programme, we have been doing. This one became massive because the media was involved. We have been doing series of empowerment, women in cluster, clothes cluster, we have been doing that, but this one, I thank God and I thank my leaders for believing in me because I am a first timer. And I think since they reposed their confidence in me, gave me their votes, they trusted me, I think it is just the right thing to do. Apart from moving quite a number of motions, pushing bills in their favour we can do physical or whatever we may call it for the immediate benefit of  the people and  that we got it achieved.

We have some capital project in the budget, we have some that I have to deny myself of some personal things just to give my constituents some succor because the level of poverty in the Country not only in my Constituency is so high  and the right thing to do is to join hand with the President Muhammad Buahri’s led Government policy and the leadership of the APC to address the poverty in the country through series of interventions  that have been going on and I feel tackling it from the grassroots will help us a great deal to eradicate the poverty  from our communities and that really gave me the push that we should join hands .by the time you do your little, I do my little, she does her little we put everything together so that the whole nation can benefit from it.

You have been doing series of empowerment why was this last one massive?

The last one was massive based on the reactions from the people, through calls, text messages , they told me, even though I felt it was normal , because I still have more to reach out to, it was done across board, I am an APC member, but by virtue of my office, I represents the entire Constituency, so irrespective of political party’s affiliation and leanings I ensured everybody benefitted one way or the other, it is not a political affairs some them voted for me even though they are not members of APC, so in giving out the dividend of democracy they should benefit too. Though there will be little criticisms that why do you have to reach out to the other parties, but that should be expected , but achieve the target we did it through the various associations, like the Hairdressers associations, because in that type of associations it is a combinations of different political card carrying members , association of fashion designers , Tailoring , Market women, , the Market group I gave them N500,000 each in each of the Local Government, as a revolving loans to help themselves , some were given N20,000, N30,000 to buy vegetable, fuel to retail  to eke a living , feed their families, feed their Children, pay school fees and o on. We thank God for the success of that.

Apart from the revolving loans and grant what are the other empowerment programme?

We are involved in skill acquisitions and training of the indigents. We sponsored their training and gave them what we call starter pack after the training to practice the skill they must have acquired. It cuts across fishery, fabrications and other skills. I think we have done a lot in this area, about 200 have benefitted in my constituency through this programme and they are now on their own.

The last batch is been handle by the company called Oceanographic company in Lagos, they have come over and over and are already on ground for the training of the last batch.

For example, there is this lady called Victoria, she can into the training of people that make locust beans; how you can make cream. I engaged her so far she has trained about 200 beneficiaries and we gave them some grants to start something on their own. On her own part I think I am really impressed with what she is doing. We have some raw materials in my Constituency that my constituents didn’t know until she came and she trained them that this bunch of Banana, after removing the banana, the bunch itself, there is a way they extract it and make cocoa pads, she trained them and they are doing well.

The testimonies keep coming even from some graduates who have been on street who have now discovered their bearing because of this training and some them are already getting married from what was hitherto regarded as waste in the community, so it is not all about giving them money but train them to be on their own. We have done cluster of women into red oil, cluster of women into making of locust beans because that is a big business in my community, they are into packaging, I have given them two additional machines because we only have one in my Local Government and before this time they have to queue when they take the raw material there to separate them.

How do ensure that it is not only APC members that benefit?

It is channel through the traditional ruler in my Community, he handed over these items to them to show that it is not all about party, it is about eradicating poverty from our constituency and see how everyone can be engaged doing one thing and the other, that has really gave me joy and that is why I said it is a service, it has been stressful, you have to think, you have to plan.

On the whole how many beneficiaries have you empowered so far?

The last one we did on Sunday 80 Motorcycles were given to 80 beneficiaries, each of this Motorcycles is between N300, 000 to N320,000, we have deep Freezers for the women , about 45 of them with market value of N150,000 each,  we bought sowing Machines, Grinding engines , hairdressing equipment and other accessories , it is not about the quantities but the response , I am overwhelmed with joys for having the opportunity to touch lives.

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