Yesterday, September 3rd 2020 was another epoch making day in the annals of giving back to the constituents by political office holders in our pace setting state of Oyo state. Interestingly, the jinx was broken by the very senator that had earlier set the pace some 3 years ago. Quoting the immediate past Governor of Oyo state and Chairman of the second edition in the year 2020, late Senator Isiaka abiola Ajimobi, he said inter alia “… I can say it without mincing word that this empowerment is the biggest I have ever seen by any political office holder anywhere…” Maybe the late Governor concluded in haste and I’m sure that from the great beyond, he would exclaim something like “.. this is unprecedented, a record broken by the same record holder”.
The record holder cum broker is Senator Fatai Omotayo Buhari PhD, the distinguished Senator representing Oyo North senatorial district, and the lucky constituents are the good people of the senatorial district that cut across the 13 local governments of Oyo state. The empowerment tagged BAF Omoluabi Mega Empowerment in its 3rd series is the giving back to people held yesterday, September 3rd at Iseyin town, Oyo North senatorial district headquarter.
Luqman Ayobami Alagbe is my name and I am among the over one thousand seven hundreds constituents that benefited yesterday. I put together this piece to explain the unique manner I made the list, and to bring to limelight the kind of person Senator Abdulfatai Omotayo Buhari is. So, this is largely a personal testimony in which lessons can be learned.
It all started around February this year. I was just settling down at the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos, Akoka where I was offered an admission to pursue a masters degree program immediately after the completion of my NYSC late 2019. I had paid every fees and fulfilled other obligations for the year long programme. Then another unforseen challenge arose. My laptop had problem. I knew for sure that I couldn’t run an academic masters degree program without a sound personal computer. But I had no budget for a new one, and repair for the one I had was useless. I was in a big mess. I couldn’t turn to my sponsor and benefactor who had just coughed out almost three hundred thousands weeks ago. In this predicament of mine, an idea struck me. “Why don’t you reach out to Senator Abdulfatai Omotayo Buhari for educational support?”.
You want to know how I came to have access to the Senator? Calm down, I will tell you.
Late 2019, perhaps there was no bigger political outcry in Nigeria than the one that greeted Federal Government proposed Ruga settlement for the nomadic cattle rearers. During the outcry, Premium Times, a leading online media outlet leaked the telephone numbers of the Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I picked up that of my senator from there. Though I initially doubted the number was personally being held by the Senator, I reasoned it would be held by one of his aides. As a patriotic constituent, I sent a lengthy message conveying my thoughts on the contentious Ruga. Few minutes after, a reply in the form of “all right” was received on my phone. With that, I was encouraged to frequently offer my thoughts and positions on legislative activities to the line. Replies like okay, thanks and all right always followed my messages. You now get how I got the access right? I can’t put the number here sha.
Back to my laptop predicament, I composed a message where I narrated my ordeal and I inquired if the Senator had an educational support program for students of his constituency. I added that my claims could be confirmed from one of his aides for its authenticity. Under less ten minutes, my phone beeped, on checking, I got a reply “Ask Adex to talk to me”.
I quickly reached out to Egbon Adediran Alao and first apologized to him for not informing him before I referenced him in my message to the Senator. Egbon just said ” No wahala Luqman, I will talk to him”. Two weeks after, Adex called me to come and meet the Senator. I politely told him I was in Lagos and couldn’t make it. He later told me the Senator wanted to give me money to get the laptop, but he felt it might be insufficient to get a very good one, and hence he had made a case for my inclusion among the beneficiaries in his forthcoming empowerment originally billed for March this year. Honestly, I doubted the story and considered it one of the unfulfilled promises politicians do make.
Covid 19 then struck in Nigeria in March. Egbon Adex in one of our WhatsApp conversations told me the program had been postponed till further notice due to the pandemic, but assured I would get the laptop anytime it held. You are seeing me a pessimist, yes, I had my doubt again. Another political gimmick and excuse.
A long radio silence followed.
Last week Monday was August 24th, I was preparing for work at a private University I have been a management intern in Oyo town when Adex sent me a WhatsApp message. The content read the empowerment would hold in Iseyin on September 13th, and I was to be a beneficiary under laptop category. I still found it hard to believe sha as the day ran down. A day to the D Day, a message from the Senator’s constituency office dropped on my phone carrying the same message. It was becoming a reality after all.
So, yesterday September 3rd, 2020, I was at the ancient city of Iseyin where 20 saloon cars, 270 motorcycles, 600 Grinding machines, 250 sewing machines, 100 laptops, 80 freezers, 80 Vulcanizing machines, 100 back pack sprayers and chemicals, cash support of #20,000 for elders and the vulnerable, #20,000 bursary for 100 students, #100,000 start up for 10 selected youth, 10,000,000 for community development were presented as give backs to the constituents.
After getting the brand new laptop, Adex ensured I had an audience with the Senator. ” Oga, Omo timo so fun yin ni”. I was profusely in appreciation going the Yoruba way of prostration. “Luqman, bawoni, Olorun ni ka dupe fun, use the PC for your researches, and be staying in touch”. I was moved that despite that Adex never mentioned my name at that spot, the Senator called me by name. Egbon Adex must had made a strong case for my inclusion in the list as I was till that time a ghost to the Senator, his other associates and party men.
I am here today to share my testimony that I am a beneficiary of the BAF 3rd Mega Empowerment held yesterday in Iseyin unknown to the Senator, nor his party, APC, but as a constituent of his that was in need and must be empowered. The Senator has proved that he is a lover of human capacity development for his constituents as a whole through this gesture, and I pray he moves from strength to strength as he gives quality representation to the great people of Oyo north at the upper chamber. Other legislatures in the state will do well to emulate the amiable Senator in the area of human development of their various constituents.
To the man that definitely continued to make a case for me in my absence, Egbon Adex, only God can reward you for your good heart and deeds. I don’t want to say more on him here.
So if I don’t become a disciple of BAF political fold with this uncommon gesture, what would you yourself label me?
May BAF succeed, and Oyo North prospers.
Luqman Ayobami Alagbe is a constituent of Oyo North, from Ogbomoso North local government, and one of the beneficiaries of the BAF 3rd Mega Empowerment programme held in Iseyin on Thursday, September 3rd, 2020.