From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa The Ijaw Youth Council [IYC] has rejected the planned take-off of Operation Crocodile SmileII in the Niger Delta region scheduled to commence Saturday. Lately, the waterways in the Niger Delta region especially in Bayelsa State had been gripped by criminal activities culminating in the attack and killing of soldiers and other security…
a non-government organisation, Ayo Ekiti Foundation (AEF), has empowered 500 youths, artisans and market women in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State. It empowered them with vocational skills such as barbing, hairdressing and farming instruments.
Its founder, Mr Ayo Ajayi, who distributed the instruments also gave cash gifts to farmers and market women: “The society has done so much for us and we decided to give back to our society and where best to do that is the home.
“This has an underlining intent of bringing our people together but it has not much to do with politics. Ekiti Unite is our watchword and this shows that we are creating a platform on which we want to unite all Ekiti indigenes from home and abroad together irrespective of our political differences.
“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. Now, we are trying to make two elephants to compete without allowing the grass to suffer. We do not want a situation whereby our people would suffer because of their political differences.
“If you look at the United States of America, irrespective of their party differences, the interest of America comes first. If a Democratic president wants to do something that opposes the interest of America, even members of his party would oppose him. That is the kind of thing we want to replicate in Ekiti, to see to it that the interest of Ekiti people is paramount to all parties.
“There is a saying that when you build the youths, you are building the nation. This is why we are starting with youth empowerment. We have started with empowering the skilled professionals because they are the ones in direct relation with the masses. We are giving them equipment for their skills.
“We are also looking into getting employment for people. We have been doing this for sometime now. We are planning on building some vocational and ICT centres to expand the empowerment and job creation scheme for our people. Our youths can be trained in all these centres and be empowered to do something for themselves.
“I will continue to do this as for me I can spend all I have to ensure that our people are okay. It doesn’t make sense if I have and people around me are suffering because of lack.
“About 500 youths of our community are benefitting from this scheme. This includes school students. There are times that you might serve the people best from outside. But if the people consider you as a leader, we won’t hesitate to offer our service to them in any capacity.”
Adewunmi Temitope, a beneficiary: “I am really impressed with what Ayokunle Ajayi is doing for us in Ikole LGA. I am a barber and I haven’t had instruments to do the job. Today, Ayo Ajayi has empowered me by giving me some clippers and other materials for barbing and I am very grateful for this.
He has also given loans to market women and other artisans in the local government and many have really benefited immensely from him. Now we are not only expressing our gratitude to him but also appealing that he should come home and represent his people at the National Assembly.”