• Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

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In her bid to support the federal Government to  reduce the rate of unemployment in Nigeria and alleviate the sufferings of the youths and the less privileged citizens , One of Nigeria’s most Influential Personalities, Philanthropist and Chief Executive officer of Silicon Valley, Lekki, Chief [Mrs.] Temitope Ajayi also known as ‘Mama Diaspora’ organised a one-day Citizens Empowerment and Social intervention programme for the residents  of Lekki in Eti-Osa local government area of Lagos State. The event was held Sunday 8th November,  2020.

During an interview session with Citizen NewsNG, Ajayi said she travelled to Nigeria from the United States for one month vacation but due to coronavirus pandemic lockdown and travel restriction, she couldn’t return to the states. She further stated that during her stay in the country, she discovered that the menace of unemployment and poverty in the country called for prompt intervention . “It was this that inspired me to assist the less privileged and youths in my community”, she emphasised.

Speaking further,  she said “Our Silicon Valley Ibeju Lekki Cooperative Multipurpose Society Limited and International Business Associates such as Ms Denise Ajayi Williams, President and Chief Executive officer of Silicon Valley Nigeria Economic Development [SV-NED] Incorporated and an official member at Forbes Business Council partnered with the President of SVLinks in Silicon Valley, California Miguel Castillas,  United States and Dr. Lilian Ajayi-Ore, Founder/President of Global Connection for Women Foundations[GC4W] and official member at Forbes Non-profit Council
came up with the idea of helping  the Women, youths in capacity building and self development and Actualization to address youth unrest and disturbance as a result of geometric increase in unemployment and poverty in Nigeria.

Ajayi said : “The protests against police brutality tagged ‘EndSARS’ and the agitation  for good governance and better standard of living caught my attention, initially, I disagreed  with the Protesters  but I later thought about it and reasoned along with them. The Leaders should listen to the children”. She however frowned at the hijack of the peaceful protest by hoodlums and destruction of Public Infrastructures and Private properties and Businesses across the country.

“After studying the situation critically, I called some of them to enquire what their grievances were, I now realised that all they needed was love and attention, some of them are graduates  and skilled professionals but there are no jobs available for them to do”. Ajayi noted. She sited an example of a Masters degree holder who could not secure an employment but resorted to Fish Smoking Trade. “As an International Business Consultant, I had to offer useful business tips to the young man on how he can grow his business through improved packaging and export to maximize Profit”,  she explained.

Ajayi told Citizen NewsNG Reporter that For proper documentation and accountability, she encouraged the residents to open bank accounts and enrolled them into her cooperative society for proper and legal business transactions.

“This Programme is designed into three batches,  Today’s event is the second phase targeted at youths and middle-aged citizens in Lekki and its environments”, Ajayi said.

At the ceremony, One hundred and fifty low income residents and youths were presented with interest free credit facility and other empowerment items to support the growth of their small and medium scale businesses.

Ajayi and Partners also donated a Motorised Wheel Chair worth N2million to a Physically challenged youth, Mr. Lanre Sanni after emerging as the overall best Candidate at the second Immersion Information Technology  Training Programme for Nigerian youths in Lagos and Abuja. She  recounted how she was moved to tears  when she came across Sanni moving around with the aid of his butt and bare  hands to support himself.

When asked by Citizen NewsNG how he felt after being presented with the motorised wheel chair, In an emotion laden voice, Sanni said “I am very happy at the moment, so happy, I pray for mummy(Ajayi) and the Donors; that God will always make them happy”. “In the past, I had difficulty moving around, an issue which dwarfed my dreams and aspirations in life”, he said. He also recalled how his disability limited and restricted his business transactions. Sanni appreciated the kind gesture of the Donors of the motorised wheel chair which he described as a long awaited  precious gift.

The Beneficiaries of the empowerment programme lauded Ajayi and Partners’ socio-economic intervention. Speaking on behalf of others, a youth simply identified as Adeyemo said “Our  longtime dreams of being entrepreneurs have been fulfilled, “We are Bosses  of my Businesses and we promise the organisers not to disappoint them but build my investment stronger”.

A Partner in the Diaspora and Chief Executive officer of Master Plan Finance Asset Management, Mr. Barry Baruwa urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the interest free loan and other empowerment  items so that they can get more funds and supports to grow their businesses. He  also hinted that a computer knowledge based training programme will be held later in December. He said “for those of you that are graduates, we are going to train and empower, and take you to the next level, something that is mind-blowing to change your lives beyond your expectations”.

Ajayi urged President Muhammadu Buhari to also invite Parents and Guidance to a meeting aim at addressing the issue of youth unemployment and unrest  across the country as the children yield more to instructions and words of their Fathers and mothers. “We know how to talk to and relate with our children so that they tell us the reasons why they are destroying public utilities and properties that our forefathers built” she said.

She appreciated the support offered by Mrs. Adenike Fakayode who facilitated the supply of one of the empowerment items at factory price , instant nodles from Honeywell Flour  Mills limited of which thousands of Packs and other Diary Products were distributed to some of the youths to start fast food Business.

According to Ajayi, During the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, she was appointed her to head a committee charged with the sole responsibility to build one million houses for Nigerians in Diaspora in partnership with the federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria but unfortunately, the project was politicized as such could not see the light of the day. “But nevertheless, “I have been able to help some Nigerians in Diaspora to build affordable homes regardless of their incomes, some of them would have moved into their houses but the delay was caused by the coronavirus pandemic  raving the world”, she explained.

The ceremony was attended by the Immersion programme partners and Executive Members of Computer and Allied Dealers Association, ‘Computer Village’, Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria. The Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ademola Olaifa,   General Secretary, Mr. Jerry Mba and the Treasurer of the Association, Mrs. Adebukola Idayat Atunrase.

Olaifa eulogised Ajayi and Baruwa  Philanthropic gestures, he said ” We use this medium to appreciate your giant strides in the Diaspora and Nigeria, “God will continue to bless you and your generation. “We are looking up to you to change Nigeria for  better”, he concluded.

While reacting to the donation of motorised wheel chair to Sanni, the General Secretary of Computer and Allied Dealers Association, ‘Computer Village’, Ikeja, Mr. Jerry Mba said “It is a kind gesture, we are very happy about this, it will go a long way to empower Engr. Lanre Sanni, it will help him to achieve his dreams and aspirations because he has a lot of technical skills and we pray that God Almighty will bless Chief[Mrs] Temitope Ajayi and Partners”. He however urged the Donors to extend same gesture to other physically challenged persons in the country.

While responding to question asked by Citizen NewsNG, The Treasurer of the Association, Mrs. Adebukola Idayat Atunrase praised Ajayi’s social intervention scheme. She said “we appreciate her efforts towards the less privileged in the Society”. Atunrase recalled how Silicon Valley, Lekki partnered with the Computer and Allied Dealers Association to organise a Computer and Information Technology Training Programme for young computer Engineers in the largest information and Technology Hub in Africa, the ‘Computer Village’, Ikeja.

She further stated that at the end of the training exercise, some of the youths were issued startup funds, Computer and mobile phone accessories to set up their small and medium scale businesses while a young man, Lanre Sanni who emerged as the overall best Candidate was presented with a Motorised Wheel Chair and interest free credit facility.

By Olabode Adeyeri  © Citizen NewsNG


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