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My Mission On Youth Development And Agriculture Business Revolution In Ekiti St - Nairaland / General - Nairaland

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My Mission On Youth Development And Agriculture Business Revolution In Ekiti St by Adesinaayo: 8:26pm On Nov 14, 2020
Olamide Ajayi is a London, United Kingdom based entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the founder of Olamide Ajayi Foundation, he spoke about his ideas and activities in development of youths in Ekiti State and by extension Nigeria as a whole and also his efforts in considerably taking people out of poverty.


What Is Main The Focus Of Your Foundation?

My foundation is saddled with the responsibility of helping young people leap out of poverty by way of providing both leadership developement and skills acquisition programs in Ekiti Central. My foundation has also heaily invested in youths and sports. We recently organised a football tournament for the youths in Ekiti Central where the winner received a trophy and 100,000 naira and the runner up received 50,000 naira with a trophy. We also gave cash and other items to best player, best goalkeeper, best behaved player and so on.

Our foundation is although focused essentially on the youths but we have micro initiatives for the elderly. we are planning to help many farmers with fertilisers and also provide food stuff for the less privilege seniors in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State


What Is The Inspiration Behind Your Projects?

The inspiration behind my projects is the fact that, from when I was young, I have always believed that I was born to make a difference and play a part in making my state especially my home town a place of honour and excellence . Apart from that, I was badly affected by the poor background that I came from, so, seeing people live in poverty hurts my soul, I'd rather spend all I have on people so we can all be okay than stand as the only eyed man in the community of the blind.

The Initiative At Ekiti Recently, What Is It All About? What Has It Achieved? What Are The Lessons Learnt From The Initiative? The Experience And So On


Olamide Ajayi Football Competition is one of its kind in Ekiti Central,
This competition has equipped more than 14 different teams and IKORO UNITED with set of jersey.
The winner went home with 100k with set of Jersey among numerous awards, the runner up went home with cash gift of 50,000 Naira.
Ikoro Ekiti teams has been the major beneficiary of this esteem competition because the community got 4 different sets of Jerseys. It has fostered unity among the youths in that region especially Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State
The competition has spurned Ikoro Ekiti to have a Community team called IKORO UNITED.
Olamide Ajayi Foundation also donated a set of Jersey to Ikoro United as well.

What Is The Next Line Of Actions? Those Discovered At The Football Tournaments What Are The Immediate And Future Plan For Them?

We don't really have mission to build a team or club, but this exercise has a huge potential of great clubs emerging and that can be sponsored or fostered by other philanthropists or individuals. But my real mission is to use football as a conduit for reconnect.
As I earlier mentioned that there is huge disconnect among youths, especially in Ekiti State. Meanwhile, what we see in Ekiti is a mirror of what is happening in our larger society. Not just Ekiti, so I don't want to make it as if Ekiti youths has gotten issues, but that is the group or demography I am focusing on. So the on us is on me to speak extensively on matters relating to them and using them as my reference point.
Back to what I was saying, the football competition is just to get talent, create opportunity as well as give them opportunity to be involved and catch the attention of local and international football scouts and sponsor. The competition is essentially to create a platform for the youths to exhibit their passion and develop their talents. It is to resourcefully engage the youths and encourage positive use of their talents, passion and strength while getting attention of relevant football promoters and sponsors at both national and local levels. That is why we are taking the football competition from town to town starting with Ijero Local Government and of course Ekiti Central.

Shed Light On Your Agricultural Initiatives, How Is It Set To Help The People?

I was born and raised in Ekiti. I see the huge potential that farming has for the young people and how much rejection that is based on ignorance that farming has suffered. And a kind of wrong attitude of young people towards farming. This is not encouraging. So it is not bringing the wealth in the forest into our hands. Many think that the best way to go is when you go to the university and when you finish you go to the city, obviously to pick up white collar job and really many of them end up being poor. This is because not every white collar job has the potential to make you rich. It is just to keep you average or to keep you somewhere. Except you get involved in illegitimate activities, may be embezzling company's fund and things like that. Many don't get rich just working for companies.
And if you want to stay legitimate, if you want to stay fit and proper, you want to be honest and reliable, you got to be entrepreneurial. The fact is that you don't neccessarily need to go to any workshop, training or symposium or things like that for you to know how to do farming. The good thing about most youths in Ekiti State is that most of us already have backgrounds in farming. And most of our parents, grand parents and great grand parents have some sort of lands in Ekiti that you can just leverage on. You can seek for funds and start small scale agriculture business, small scale farming and then build your life up from there. So that is one reasons I am doing this.
Second reason is just to give a lot of Nigerians, especially Ekiti in the Diaspora the opportunity to invest back home. Helping them to look for land, a good thing is that lands are relatively cheap in Ekiti State, you can buy few hectares of land and start your farming business from there.
There are lot of Ekiti indigenes in Diaspora who don't come home often or who don't have people they can trust enough to help them with their farming business, so we help them with this. Of course, farming for me as well is a way of securing my future and I am working hard in that regard. I am planting trees which don't bring profits until after 10, 14 years and more. I am planting them in thousands, so I am kind of securing a good future for me and my children. So I want young people to take a clue from that and build not just today but also build tomorrow from today.

Considering The Recent Youth Unrest In The Country, What Do You Think Make Today's Youths Seem Agitated And Restless?

The question is not about today's youths, youths have always been agitated. Youths have always been restless. It is not just youths in Nigeria only but everywhere. For example here in the United Kingdom, there is that sense and feeling of marginalisation with black minority young people, the root of this here is racism, so black people in the UK, although worse in America, they have been marginalised, they have been stereotyped, and pushed to a corner. And when you are pushed to a corner and you know you can't break through the wall and you don't want to loose your life or die, what you do is attacked back. And that is exactly what the youths in Nigeria are doing. They have been pushed to the wall, it looks as if the minute you become rich or you assume a public office and you have all the wealth at your disposal you are cut off completely from the reality, the struggles, the pains of the people around you. So these young people consistently each day of their lives live in pains, in penury and in misery. Their parents are poor, nobody in their families has any wherewithal and they are not too sure of what the future holds for them. And to know that you completely live in the midst of wealth and in the midst of abundance and complain of lack everyday is one of the most torturous experience. Like when you know that it is the same equal right you have to wealth of the nation, it is the same right I have to that wealth, but by dint of office you occupied, you sidelined me and you gave yourself permission and access to that wealth, and you take everything from all of us and you use what you have taken for yourself and your families is annoying, so people would want to fight back in a situation such like that.
I know that the recent protest in Nigeria is focussed on #EndSARS, but that is not just the issue. This is because SARS is just an entity a body that stepped out of a corrupt system and any other body that step out of that system will equally be corrupt. It is like a trunk of a tree that is corrupt will always produce branches that are corrupt and fruits coming out of that tree or the branches will equally be corrupt. So young people have seen the composition if the trunk and the corruption of the tree, so the Nigeria keeps producing bad elements, bad fruits and I saw the young people have come to a place that they feel fighting back is one of the ways to get their freedom.
So they are not fighting the goverment, No! They are fighting the system, they want a change, they want reformation. Until the goverment sees the need to attend to young people, there would never be total transformation in Nigeria. Take it or leave it, any government that is going to thrive and have economic power that is reasonable must leverage or trade in the skill, the brilliance and the technical know-how of the young people. If you don't leverage on that, if you don't take the advantage of that, there is nothing you do that is going to make sense. They have gotten the technology, they can use the the technology to bring transformation at any level. So young people should be encouraged. The goverment should have huge budget for young people, they should cater for the young graduates, their allowances should continue after they completed their NYSC until they are able to find job. That is what they do in the United Kingdom. The problem of unemployment has actually thrown the young people into unscrupulous activities that are really mind blowing, annoying and disheartening. You see young people who killed girls for money rituals, they call them Yahoo Yahoo. Many of these young people don't even want to get involved in these things, but there is no other options, it has become a do or die affairs. And life shouldn't be like that.

What Advise Would You Have For Government In Taking Care Of The Youths And In What Areas Do You Think Government Can Adequately Empower The Youths?

I earlier mentioned the budget for young people. Nelson Mandela said "the issue and the challenges of Africa can only be solved by Africans". The issues and the challenges of young people in Nigeria can only be solved by young people themselves. If you want to have a Minister for youths and this Minister is already in his or her 60s, he or she is already completely cut off from the realities of the young people. But if you want to have the Minister for Youth and Sports or Commissioner for Youth and Sports get a 40+, 30+ or a 20+ years old person who can engage with a good track record. Not just someone who is just hungry to get the position and take all the public funds into his or her private account. Get someone who is tested, proven and who is fit and proper. These are very important. And goverment should be about the economy. The economic power has to come to a new level. The goverment has to be more intelligent, exposed and they should care more about the people more than the infrastructure. Though infrastructure is good because is going to aid development, but the care should be more about the people and they will build the infrastructure. But if you don't build the people, the infrastructure you built is going to be ruined by the people you are not built.
We see what happened in Lagos and some other states of Nigeria, those hoodlums were not built and now they are destroying things that they were built. Therefore let's have a way which the goverment can build the youth.
I am offering myself in Ekiti State doing my solo works, organising football competition, going from one secondary to another impacting young people. And I am trying to organize quiz competition in the secondary school with great prizes to be won. I also have other programs. Such programs that can positively and resourcefully engage the young people as well as programs that can deepen our democracy, where the young people will be mentored and provided platform to understudy the democratic institutions in the state and federal levels. All these are in the offing. I believe as we introduce the young people into these, we are actually creating a better tomorrow.

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