In his desire to make youths in his constituency be relevant in national and international leadership, the member representing Epe 2 State Constituency at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Olusegun Olulade, has organised special empowerment programme that aims at unlocking their potential.
The people had expected the usual form of empowerment which philanthropists and lawmakers hand out to the needy or members of their constituencies. That explains the huge crowd that converged on Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye Comprehensive College, Igboye in Epe for the Eleniyan Youth Empowerment Summit.
As early as noon that day, youths from all the communities had begun to throng the arena. There was spontaneous jubilation as Hon. Olusegun Olulade, popularly known as Eleniyan and his entourage made their way into the venue.
The roomy venue was largely suffused with traditional dancers who entertained the people. It was, indeed, an empowerment programme with a difference.
The lawmaker, who represents Epe 2 State Constituency at the Lagos State House of Assembly, introduced new vista in empowering his people. Those who are familiar with empowerment programmes organised by politicians or lawmakers, looked forward to gifts such as tricycles, motorcycles, sewing and grinding machines and other items to assist them start one form of business or the other or expand existing ones.
However, they were disappointed as the lawmaker introduced a new dimension to rendering help to his people. He did not want to give them fish. Rather, he decided to teach them how to fish in order to be self-reliant and contribute their quota to societal development. He decided to empower them in a different, more enduring and impactful way. He was interested in their mental development.
In the circumstances, over 1, 000 youths across the state gathered at the Eleniyan Youth Empowerment Summit under the auspices of Eleniyancares Leadership Foundation organised by Hon. Olusegun Olulade, popularly known as Eleniyan.
The summit with the theme, ‘’Unlocking the Potentials Within: Making Your Ideas Work”, was aimed at making the youth become conscious of their innate talents and work towards realising them in order to enhance their socio-economic well-being as well as contribute to the development of the their environment.
At hand to motivate and galvanise the youth to action was a motivational speaker, career/business coach and a social reformer, Mr. Muyiwa Afolabi, who was the Motivational Speaker. There was also a business session featuring publisher of Ovation Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu, member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and Nollywood actor, Desmond Elliot. Other Nollywood actors such as Chioma Chukwuka and Kate Henshaw were present. Agriculture expert, Samuel Damola Andre, ICT expert, Victor Diali and another motivational speaker, Dayo Israel were also present.
In his address to welcome the participants, Mr. Olulade urged the youth to identify their various potential, unlock them and use them to better themselves and their communities.
He said: “I am inspired by my humble background to start a youth-based foundation to bridge the gap between the youth and their aspirations to be part of our country’s journey to glory. Youths should be seen as assets and not liabilities. This programme is one of the focal points of my foundation.
Olulade stated that if the youth could realise their talents, they would discover that they have something to offer the world. He said: “Keep your dreams alive. Understand that to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”
According to the Project Co-ordinator, Mr. Abiola Hamid, the vision of the foundation “is to see a pool of credible, ethical, responsible and accountable leaders who can promote economic and socio-political status of Nigeria and Africa. Therefore, we are all out to discover young people who have leadership potential, provide them with needed supports and encouragement through training programmes, scholarships, exchange and mentorship opportunities and then immerse them into a networking system that gives them power to influence their communities and the nation.”
The Eleniyancares Leadership Foundation, he said, was aimed at raising credible African young leaders through capacity building and training.
The guest speaker defined potential as the ability or the capacity to do or become something. According to him, one’s potential is one’s ability to do something, adding that the youth should be greater and better than they currently are.
He noted that everyone is born with blank minds but that people’s minds are shaped by their environment.
“The people around you make impressions on your mind; then your mind begins to develop and grow. Your mind now becomes a mind-set. The people that set your minds are your parents and siblings,” Afolabi said.
He informed them that God did not create and put them in Nigeria by mistake, but that He put them there to make a difference.
“You must stop the blame game and accept responsibilities. The greatest kind of hard work is the work you do on yourself. It is working very hard on your character, emotions and skills. Find the right association. Don’t get emotional about your mistakes. Never give up on your skills, life would test and challenge you. You also need to fear God so that you would do the right thing when nobody is watching you,” he stated.
Publisher of Ovation Magazine advised them not to be afraid of challenges, saying that he was able to achieve success in life based on his tenacity of purpose. He said he studied Yoruba as first degree and later pursued a Master’s degree in Literature in English.
“I joined Concord Newspaper against my wish in 1988 when I couldn’t get a job. I later got several promotions in the media house before I left for Classique Magazine. I also sold bread for some time.”
He informed them that it is better to try something and fail rather than not trying at all, saying that “something must shake you in life, but if you stay focussed, you would get there.”
Other discussants shared their experiences and how they achieved successes in their various careers, even as they urged them to believe in themselves and be determined to be successful in life.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, congratulated Mr. Olulade on his ability to put the programme together for the youth, saying, “it is timely because it falls in line with my passion and enthusiasm to ensure that both the youth and the state are developed.”
Represented by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr. Babatunde Durosimi-Etti, Governor Ambode said: “The programme falls in line with the strategic youth plan being developed in the state.”
In his goodwill message, Senator Olorunmibe Mamora commended Mr. Olulade for being a man of the people and for his passion for the youth.
“You have done well because you have taken the concept of effective and efficient representation which is the most important role of legislators very serious,” he said.
Mamora, who urged the youth to be positive-minded, said every destiny was a product of thinking.
“Be positive in your thinking; ideas rule the world. When you come up with big ideas, you can make a lot of money. Take maximum advantage of this summit,” he said.
One of the participants, Taiwo Yusuf said though the expectation of most of the participants was different from what they experienced and different from their idea of empowerment, they received something useful from the event as they were empowered in a different way.
“We needed something tangible such as capital that can enhance or better our living condition because it is not easy to start up a business as banks are not forthcoming with assistance.”
He, however, thanked the lawmaker for exposing them to the programme and giving them the necessary motivation to believe in themselves and forge ahead in life.