For three days in December 2021, the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T). Moor Plantation, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, was a place to be for about 121 people in dire need of empowerment to try their hands in Agric sector of the economy.
Male and female, young and old converged on the Professor E.A. Adebowale Training Hall and got introduced to different Agricultural courses under training and empowerment of youths on agricultural value chain in the Ibadan South Senatorial District which Senator Kola Balogun is currently representing in the Senate.
Opening of the training sessions was personally performed by Senator Balogun while his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Omilabu Gandhi represented him at the closing ceremony where all participants smiled to their homes with envelopes, containing a sum of N100, 000 each being seed capital to practise what they had learnt at the training.
The Tabloid.net gathered that Senator Balogun, who is the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports and Youth Development, had facilitated three of such programme in 2021.
In his closing remarks, Alhaji Gandhi, described his principal as a silent achiever who is positively touching lives of his people of his district.
The former local government chairman, added that Balogun is a politician who does not noise about whatever he is doing, disclosing that he had so far trained and empowered over 500 people, mostly youths, from his senatorial district.
He implored the 121 beneficiaries of the latest programme to utilise the benefits of the training, noting that several other people did not have the opportunity to be selected the programme.
“Several people wished to be participants at the various agriculture training and empowerment programmes facilitated by Senator Kola Balogun. But it is not all of them that can be selected at the same time.
“This training is not an opportunity to be messing around. Over 500 people have benefitted from the programme so far. Make the best use of the opportunities afforded you by the training. Utilise the money that you will be given to start your business in the agriculture value chain.
“Some people have been saying Senator Balogun is not performing. But the testimonies we heard today have proved them wrong. I will implore you, the beneficiaries of the training not to be ingrates.
“Let other youths and people in your various local government areas and within the Oyo South Senatorial District know that you have benefitted from this training and empowerment programme facilitated by Senator Kola Balogun,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Deputy Director of IAR&T, Dr Jelili Saka, congratulated the participants at the programme, noting that they are the beneficiaries chosen from several other people who sought for the same opportunity.
He said the facilitator, Senator Balogun, can only be happy if the beneficiaries can put into practice what they learnt during the three-day training and also proclaim it to others.
“By so doing, this would not make the efforts of Senator Kola Balogun to go in vain. I will urge you to make the best use of the training and the seed money given to you. Agriculture is essential to nation-building,” Dr Saka said.
The 121 beneficiaries, who were given the sum of N100, 000 each as seed fund, expressed gratitude to Senator Balogun for given them the opportunity to partake in the training and empowerment programme.
They declared that, by participating in the programme, they have been able to correct the initial erroneous impression they had that the federal lawmaker is not doing anything for the people of Oyo South Senatorial District.
Those who are already into farming promised to use money given to them to expand their businesses, while those who are fresh entrants into agriculture value chain also said they would utilise the money to ensure their financial independence.
Among the beneficiaries who spoke are Abraham Sokunle (Lagelu Local Government Area); Oluwakemi Oladimeji (Ibadan North); Omotoso Michael (Ibadan South-West); Tijani Monsuru (Ibarapa North); Funmilayo Akande (Ido); Ibrahim Abdulateef (Ibadan North) and Tawa Amusat (Ibadan South-East).