One of the leading Non Governmental Organizations based in Oyo state, Sola Olagunju Foundation (SOF) has raised the awareness on voters education by organizing a one day sensitization programme in Ibadan.
Participants at the event who according to the Foundation are the most vulnerable members of the society include widows, women, and persons living with disabilities.
The event, according to the Chairman and founder of Sola Olagunju Foundation, Ambassador (Dr) Sola Olagunju, was geared towards educating voters especially vulnerable members of the public including women, widows, orphans, and persons living with disabilities to awareness on the ills and consequences of selling their votes at the polls.
Stakeholders at the event who lampooned politicians for their disposition to supporting charityand philanthropy stressed the need for the electorates to get it right at the polls come 2023 while maintaining that actions and or decisions by the masses at the polls that are capable of undermining the collective good or general public interest should be immediately jettisoned in the interest of protecting what is left of the nation.
In her opening remarks at the event held in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo state today, October 26, Amb Olagunju berated most Nigerian politicians for living large on the commonwealth of the masses describing them as lacking empathy for the less privileged and downtrodden. She said, “politicians even see operators of charity organizations and NGOs as beggars.
“We are no more docile and we will no longer sit on the fence and watch the politicians use us like ‘pawns on chess board to play their game while we remain at the receiving end of their failure once they get into office.
“We will no longer vote for political parties but rather, we will henceforth vote for individuals based on their antecedents and track records in term of connection to the grassroots and support for philanthropy towards ameliorating the plight of the poor masses especially the vulnerable women, widows, orphans, and persons living with disabilities.
The Oyo state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Kafilat Olayiwola represented by Mrs. Odebunmi commended the Foundation and other stakeholders in the charity business for playing their ‘critical’ role in the society which is according to her also compliment efforts of the state government.
The Commissioner appealed to women who she described as nation builders, not to waver in their commitments towards building an egalitarian society for all.
One of the guest speakers, Mrs. Oluwakemi Aremu, a Right Activist and Women Advocate, who spoke on the topic “The Impact of Women in Politics and voting” said, politicians regardless of their political affiliations know how to keep their personal relationship out of politics warning women at the event to also rise to the occasion by voting rightly and sending strong message to the Political class that the era of taking the masses granted with fake and unfulfilled promises is long gone.
She maintained that women constitute the larger percentage of voting population in Nigeria but are always denied their due recognition in the scheme of things. She vowed to continue with other stakeholders in the campaign for women inclusion in governance, both in elective and non elective offices.
Lamenting the pain mothers go through for the period of pregnancy and labour, Mrs Aremu noted that mothers are always at the receiving end of failed political leadership and government because mothers do not forget the pain of child bearing at any growth stage of a child.
“I want to urge you to stop dancing like nonentities behind those politicians who are wicked and have zero empathy for your wellbeing. The only thing they believe you’re good for is to give you branded Ankara and may an embarrassing paltry sums of money at the end of your dancing in under scorching sun praise-singing them.
“You have powers and you must understand how to use that power to your advantage at the polls because 2023 is no longer business as usual. We’ve had it to a stage in our life as a people that we can not afford to go slightly below where we are at the moment or else we will all pay dearly for our nonchalance.
“You must vote for people you know, people who live and share your everyday life with you in the same community not someone who just returned from abroad with believing he or she could buy their way into office. We must all say no to vote selling because four years is too long to endure another untold hardship under any bad political leadership.” Mrs Aremu said.
Others who spoke at the event including an Ibadan based clergy, Reverend Adegboye Adesokan, an ardent supporter of women and widows maintained that politicians who have deliberately disconnected themselves from the poor masses will always return with lies and deceits to curry votes during another electioneering campaign calling on participants to ‘shine’ their eyes and refuse to be induced to vote bad candidates.