Last weekend, the Social Media and the National Dailies went agog with the news of the Governor of Benue State, Ortum, who gave the youths in the state wheel Barrows and hoes, also with Senator Sani distributing transistor radios to people in his constituency in Kaduna as forms of empowerment. Many regarded these forms of empowerment as funny and ridiculous. For instance, on Facebook, an individual posted that Senator Sani ought to be more enlightened, well, he is right at least Senator Sani is educated. Another posted that the world should come to an end.

In the Nigerian Constitution we have the freedom of speech, thus, everyone has a right to hold to his or her own opinion, so complaints, tweets, posts are warranted likewise my own opinion on this situation is warranted.

Can I ask, what is an empowerment to you? Anyone can come up with a dictionary definition and another can come up with another definition he or she feels is right or best suit the explanation of the word “empowerment”. In this vein, the Benue state government and Senator Sani are simply doing what they understand as empowerment, lol……

Empowerment means enablement or in explanation – doing what you feel is missing in the life of an individual or community to help attain growth.

Today, many States in Nigeria feed on the monthly federal allowance. Many States governors do not know what is missing in the state or what they can do that can be pointed as a sustainable achievement. They don’t know who to partner with to bring growth to their state, rather they would engage in capital projects that will give room for embezzlement. If they are going to bring allow the establishment of more industries in the state, what our state governors will first think of is, “How will it benefit me?” And not, “How will it benefit my people and the state?” Many of what our politicians do is not for the interest of all.

The Benue State Governor, Ortum, probably feels his people needs an implement to convey crop produce and so, he distributed the wheelbarrows and hoes. But while can’t he set up commodity boards that will allow the farmers to have money and assist them to have funds to buy more farm implements.

While Senator Sani, on the other hand, might have probably thought that his people lack access to information, and also having in mind that it is the north and what a lot of northerners in the rural parts of the north make use of is, a radio, so he distributed the radios. But Senator, can organize a program that is centered towards the enlightenment of the people within the rural areas, and thereby telling them reasons why they should be educated, also send their wards to school and if possible organize ways by which children are educated through school by scholarships. By doing this, people in his constituency would be able to understand the essence of being informed and the use of the information received.

Empowerment is all about filling a gap towards sustainability – doing things that can outlive you.

Opinion Writing.

Photo Credit: catchtvlive /