SPEECH BY OLOYE TESLIM KOLAWOLE FOLARIN (OFR), AT HIS MEGA EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME
All Protocols Observed…
All glory and adoration to Almighty Allah for making today possible, even though it is being held in the absence of our leader and benefactor, His Excellency Sen. Isiaq Abiola Akanji Ajimobi, the immediate past governor and architect of the Modern Oyo State; and until his demise, the Acting National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
I wish our Shehu was here to witness this august occasion. However, who are we to question the decision of Allah? May Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him a place in Al-Jannah. Today’s Mega Empowerment Programme is one of Ajimobi’s legacies. Therefore, we console ourselves in the belief that Ajimobi lives On.
I am a firm believer in the supremacy of the party. I recognise the fact that without the platform given to me by our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), I may not have returned to the National Assembly as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. At this juncture, despite the earlier observance of protocols, I must recognise the efforts and sacrifices of the party leadership at the National level, ably led by His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni, the National Caretaker Chairman of our great party the APC; His Excellency Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala-led Oyo State APC Elders Advisory Council; Chief Akin Oke-led Oyo State APC Caretaker Committee; Oyo APC Senatorial Chairmen; Local and Ward executives; stakeholders and thousands of party faithfuls spread across the 33 Local Government Areas of Oyo State. I wish to openly appreciate my distinguished brother and colleague, whom I enjoy a tight working and personal relatiohip with in the Senate, – Senator (Dr.) Abdulfatai Buhari (Oyo North); APC Federal House of Representatives members; Oyo State House of Assembly members as well as all political appointees at the Federal level, who have all played active roles in ensuring that today is a success.
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Similarly, I want to applaud the qualitative leadership of the President of 9th Nigerian Senate, His Excellency, Sen. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, along with his deputy, His Excellency Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, other principal officers and my distinguished colleagues from the National Assembly, who took time out to honour me and members of my constituents, at this event. Your support and purposeful collaborations have been enormous. I thank you. May Allah continue to guard and guide us in the discharge of our duties and in bringing dividends of democracy to our people.
It is worth noting that this mega empowerment programme ought to have held in December 2020 but for the unfortunate invasion of my private residence in Oluyole estate and the looting of over N250m worth of empowerment materials by hoodlums, sheltering under the ENDSARS protests. Nonetheless, I am very pleased that we are all here to bear witness today. Alhamdulilahi.
Youths form a sizeable portion of Nigeria’s population. Despite their significant numbers, they are constrained by lack of business capital, entrepreneurship experience and relevant skills to grow and in some cases, survive. Yet, they are fundamental to the nation’s socio- economic growth. For this reasons, I do commend President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes, which are tailored towards combating the aforesaid challenges.
The socio-economic empowerment of women, youth and persons with disabilities is one of my key agenda as a federal lawmaker. This is to ensure self-employment and economically empower citizens.
As a responsible and responsive elected representative, I reaffirm my commitment towards ensuring that more constituents have access to government funding in order to enable them realise their full potential and make meaningful contribution towards the country’s economic growth.
Since the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly on 11th June 2019, I have focused my energy towards delivering qualitative representation. Not just to my constituency of Oyo Central Senatorial District, but Oyo State at large. It’s on record that I have moved important motions sponsored people-oriented Bills, helped secure jobs for hundreds of unemployed youths, facilitated ICT Centres into several local governments, facilitated the construction of modern blocks of classrooms, organised trainings programmes in skills acquisition and modern agricultural techniques, facilitated solar-panel streetlights to vulnerable areas, helped secure FG loans for hundreds of constituents, provided (and continuing to provide) COVID-19 reliefs for the most vulnerable constituents, facilitated industrial solar-powered boreholes, assisted widows and people with disability with business start-up cash, disbursed bursaries for students, held mentoring sessions with undergraduates, supported traditional rulers, religious leaders, groups, and many others. These achievements (pg3-7) were made possible by the overwhelming support I received from Federal Govt ministries, agencies and departments.
Today’s mega empowerment programme seeks to empower 1200 constituents in various categories. The empowerment items to be distributed include cars, motorcycles, sewing machines, grinding machines, vulcanising machines, deep freezers, power generating sets, agrochemical sprayers, gas cylinders, iPads, bursaries for students, cash support for widows, capital for small businesses and among others.
All beneficiaries of this year’s empowerment programme are enjoined to shun the temptation to sell the items. Rather, I urge you to utilise them productively and establish yourself as entrepreneurs in your respective communities. In the same vain, I wish to appeal to those who are yet to benefit, to remain assured that their dividends of democracy is not far off. It is impossible to benefit everyone at the same time. May Allah spare our lives to witness more mega empowerment programmes.
Permit me to mention some of our ongoing projects: These include a state-of-the-art 100-bed hospital in Ona-Ara LGA, which is going to be affiliated to the University College Hospital Ibadan; a modern Vocational Training Centre in the University of Ibadan (@ Ajibode in Akinyele LG); the construction of of 22 Solar Powered Boreholes in LGs across Oyo Central and Oyo South Senatorial Districts. We have also commenced the process of bringing a Power Sub-station to the complement the three that currently serves the city of Ibadan. When installed, this will greatly improve the epileptic power supply into the city of Ibadan.
Moving on, I wish to seize the opportunity to call on all APC party stakeholders at state, local and ward levels to mobilise extensively once the party’s membership registration and revalidation exercise commences nationwide The exercise is an essential step towards a landslide victory at the 2023 general elections.
While I reiterate my absolute commitment to qualitative representation and facilitation of meaningful dividends of democracy to Oyo Central Senatorial District and Oyo State at large, I seek for continued prayers, understanding, cooperation and supports of my constituents and party faithfuls.
Let me conclude by thanking the invited guests, the security agencies here present, members of the fourth realm, the beneficiaries and everyone for coming. My special thanks goes to the Mega Empowerment Programme’s Planning Committee and all members of my political family. You have done wonderfully well. Finally, my special gratitude goes to my brother, Mogaji Dotun Sanusi who is the Chairman/CEO of Ilaji Hotels and Resort. Thank you for hosting this event, the hospitality and support. May your investment in our dear State continue to grow exponentially.
Thank you all for your rapt attention. Wishing you safe trips back to your various destinations.
Long live the All Progressives Congress (APC)
Long live Oyo State
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Senator Teslim Kolawole Folarin, OFR
Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content