Senator Gbenga Ashafa
No fewer than five hundred women from five local government areas (LGAs) and eleven local council development areas (LCDAs) in Lagos State recently benefitted from an empowerment programme initiated by the Gbenga Ashafa Trust Endowment (GATE) for indigent women.
The beneficiaries, who are basically residents of Lagos East Senatorial District, are expected to use the aids to either set up small-scale businesses or to bolster the crawling businesses.
The programme, which was held in Epe and Eredo, came only two weeks after the Ashafa endowment gave about 75 indigent students from the same senatorial district scholarship and financial assistance.
Speaking at the programme, Chairman of the endowment and Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, said the empowerment programme served as another medium to support the women in their trade.
Ashafa recalled how the idea was conceived at a town-hall meeting, which coincided with the Health Programme in Ikorodu Town Hall in October 2012, when he promised to provide some assistance to indigent women, however insignificant.
According to the lawmaker, “I made a promise to assist our women in their businesses throughout the senatorial district; the fulfillment of that promise is what we all seated on this occasion to witness.”
The lawmaker congratulated the beneficiaries of this programme, therefore urging them “to use the fund judiciously. This is just the beginning of great things to come, more are still coming ahead.
“I am happy to be in your midst once more to do what we are known for i.e. empowering our people in this district. Although this ought to have come earlier than now, but logistics as a result of the wider scope of the project and other unforeseen contingencies, particularly in the areas of submission and collation of the empowerment forms, prevented that.
“I should reiterate that supports such as this have always been part and parcel of our various programmes. Some months ago, various tools and equipment such as vulcanising machine, barbing kits, Indomie spot, GSM Business Centre etc were distributed among our youths,” Ashafa explained.
Also in December 2012, Ashafa said over ten thousand copies of exercise books, mathematical sets and rain-coats were distributed throughout schools in the senatorial district; not to mention the different categories of scholarships and various financial assistances, all to keep the pace of children's education.
He explained: “Just last month, we assisted indigent students in our secondary schools at Ikosi-Ejirin LCDA. This empowerment programme is for our mothers. It is to assist them in their various businesses.
“We decided to make it monetary, because we believe that our mothers are in the best position to determine what areas of their business need improvement. The list cuts across all the Local Governments in our senatorial district, including the non-indigenes,” he explained.
He assured the residents of the senatorial district that the last edition of the empowerment programme "will not be the end. We shall continue to assist in the upliftment of the welfares of our people".
Those in attendance include royal fathers and mothers, party leaders from the district, women leaders, market leaders and youth leaders from Lagos East senatorial district.