By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Governor Babatunde of Lagos state has often passionately made a case for well to do individuals and corporate organisations to give back to the society and in the process complement government’s efforts at enhancing the quality of lives of the citizenry, particularly the masses. This was a request that Otunba Yomi Ogunnusi, an Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, member in the Federal House of Representatives recently heeded and acted upon.
Ogunnusi is said to have, in the last two years, showered items worth over N45 million on communities in his constituency. At the last count, 100 community leaders, families, party members and 200 entrepreneurs received N75, 000 each, bringing the total cash donated to N15 million. Apart from that, he is reported as having donated several boreholes to provide pipe-borne water, patrol vehicles to the Police Force and funded the construction of blocks of classrooms for people in his constituency.
Last week Friday will particularly remain memorable in the lives of people at Ifako-Ijaiye as Ogunnusi took time off to make another round of donation to them. He donated three coaster buses to various groups which include the League of Imam and Alfas, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, as well as five tricycles to community development associations at Ifako –Ijaye Ojokoro Federal Constituency as part of his empowerment programme.
Ogunnusi, had in the past reportedly donated vehicles, built facilities in schools and bus-stop shelters on the roads (named after him by the Lagos State government in recognition of his laudable projects) as well as placed students on scholarships.
The Deputy Chairman, Finance Committee of the House, while speaking with Vanguard Metro, said the initiative was in fulfillment of his electoral promises to personally contribute to the overall welfare and development of the people that he represents. Transportation is one area he feels needs serious attention in the state, hence his decision to donate the vehicles.
Ogunnusi said: “I believe wealth is not to be accumulated and amassed for selfish interest. Almighty God placed me in whatever position I find myself to enable me assist my fellow human beings. My people have always been my back bone. They believe in me and I must give back to the people who have been supportive. I cannot ride on their back to political office and dump them. That is not proper”.
The lawmaker, who is also a fellow of the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, said the empowerment programme would be on a yearly basis, and urged the beneficiaries- the youths, traders, artisans, among others- to use the items to improve their lives and their families.
According to him: “These vehicles are given free of charge but I assure you that whoever judiciously utilizes his or her funds shall receive more packages.”
According to the philanthropist, the funds used for the empowerment programme came from his salaries and allowances, including his personal savings.
The lawmaker who recently sponsored a bill on community policing in the House of Representatives said: “I believe it is the solution to our security problem. Let us have state police. We tend to under-rate the country when people say we are not ripe for state police. There are so many advantages to be derived in having state police.
“These criminal are not spirits. They live in the communities and I also believe that if we have had Federal Police for over four decades and there is no improvement in the security system, we should be courageous enough to change it. A lot of people deserve to head police formations in their places. And when we have state and community policing that is what will happen”.
Ogunnusi, who proffered solution to the problem of insecurity in the country, said the rate of violence is alarming because the youths have become agents of criminal activities.
“The government must create more jobs for the youths. It is because they do not have jobs that they become drug traffickers and consumers. Some take to piracy, cyber crimes, internet fraud and terrorism. Peace is a prerequisite for sustainable development in any nation. Peace, rule of law, security of lives and property are also indispensable ingredients in any nation’s development paradigm,” he said.
Speaking on the gesture, the Chairman of Ojokoro Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Adeyemi Olabinjo, said the lawmaker had demonstrated his love and commitment to the development of his constituency, saying the country would have been better off if more politicians believe in empowering people at the grass roots to be economically buoyant to contribute their quota to development of the society. Olabinjo who accompanied the lawmaker to make presentation of the vehicles urged the beneficiaries of the empowerment programmes to use the opportunity to transform their lives and society.
Rev. David Olufemi Otelaja, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Chairman, Ifako- Ijaiye LCDA, who received the donated coaster bus on behalf of CAN in Ifako-Ijaiye, commended the magnanimity of the lawmaker, saying: “There is more blessing in giving than receiving and God loves a cheerful giver”. Otelaja, therefore, urged other privileged individuals and corporate bodies to come to the aid of the masses and communities in the general interest.
According to Master Mustapha Yusuf, one of the beneficiaries of Ogunnusi’s scholarship initiative: “I could have stopped schooling but thanks to the scholarship award of the lawmaker. I will be forever grateful. He intervened and saved my academic career.”