By Kunle Adelabu, Adekunle Okikiola & Folarin Joseph Oluwatunbosun.
-Increased number of monthly beneficiaries of ‘Apo-Anu’ to 500
-Party chairmen in the division pledged to give him return ticket
In this clime, it is difficult for most politicians to publicly declare that they have fulfilled all their electoral promises because public service is more of a lip service than truly serving the people, but the the case of Hon. Babajimi Benson, the lawmaker representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency, is exceptionally different as he has confidently declared that he has not only fulfilled his electoral promises but that he has done that in a record time of two and half years.
The lawmaker made this exemplary declaration during the World Food Day celebration which incidentally coincided with the first year anniversary of his operational group, iCare Foundation, through which he reaches out to less privileged and indigent members of his constituency such as widows, elderly persons and physically challenged persons among others by distributing food items to them monthly.
The event was held at the Hon. Babajimi’s Federal Constituency Office located along Ipakodo/Igbogbo Road, Ikorodu, on Monday, October 16, 2017.
Raising a booklet he published before the 2015 General Elections where his campaign manifestos were listed, Hon. Benson stated: “In this are our campaign manifestos upon which we sought your support and we are glad to inform you that we have implemented everything”, he declared with confidence.
“I have perused it and openly declare that we have implemented all that we promised in two and half years. Part of our promises was that I will champion the amendment of the constitution which our leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and our Governor, Mr akinwunmi Ambode, have been championing. Today, I’m on the Constitutional amendment committee which I never thought of when I was preparing my manifestoes’ document.”
“The foodbank programme that I have been executing through iCare is not my idea but that of my wife because of her love for my people, especially those vulnerable and less privileged”, Hon. Benson revealed.
He added that his wife, in most cases, comes to his rescue in funding the monthly Foodbank programme, which has been held ceaslessly for a year.
“Beacause of the size of my constituency, I, most times, experienced financial challenges but my wife has been my saviour during such moments. I want you to always pray for her too when you remember me in your prayers”, he implored the beneficiaries.
“My Constituency and that of my colleagues in Alimosho with six local councils each are the largest constituencies in the country. There are lawmakers with one or two local government. Aside Ikorodu and Alimosho Federal Constituencies, the highest local councils in other federal constituencies are four”, he stated.
I also want to thank the Director-General of iCare Foundation, Mayor Deen Sanwoola,as well as Mr Bayo Oteju, Comrade Kehinde Okeowo and other members of iCare for making the foodbank programme an initiative which many of my colleagues are consulting me to learn how we have been able to achieve success with it.”
He equally thanked the beneficairies, party leaders and other constituents for their prayers and supports.
Mayor Deen Sanwoola, the Director-General, iCare Foundation, in his welcome address stated that iCare Foodbank programme does not have special funding but that it is being solely funded from the income of Hon. Babajimi and wife.
He added that there are about 65,000 Foodbanks in the United States of America,which is the most in the world, but that there is no sngle person funding it.
“In Lagos State, there are three Foodbank initiatives out of which one has folded-up and another has not distributed food to the beneficiaries in the last six months whereas, the iCare initiative, which is the third, has been consistent in the last one year distributing food items on monthly basis.”
“Whereas, the other two are not being sponsored by an individual but rely on collections of money and food items from other sources, iCare Foodbank is solely being funded by Hon. Babajimi and wife from their personal earnings. Even in America, the Foodbanks are receiving support from the government, corporate bodies and individuals.”
While stating that monthly beneficiaries would increase from 300 to 500 starting from this month (October 2017), Mayor Sanwoola also announced some changes in the process of nominating beneficiaries.
“Starting from this month, we shall increase the number of the beneficiaries from 300 to 500 monthly. This is because we aim at making more people to benefit from the gesture of Hon. Benson and wife.
“We are not only distributing food items but also putting in place measures to guide the beneficiaries on how to ensure balanced diet. We are to guide you on what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner”, Mayor Sanwoola stated.
“Our ultimate prayer is that the beneficiaries would not be endless receivers, but will also develop the capacity to say thank you and start nominating others to benefit”, he added.
He added that aside the Foodbank programme, Hon. Benson also has other programmes which were designed to empower constituents socially and economically.
“Some critics have been saying that we should rather ‘teach people how to catch fish rather than giving them fish to eat’ but my response to that is that what trade do you want to taech the bulk of the beneficiaries who are aged and senior citizens? Even those that still have the capacity to learn trade still need to have to eat for them to be actively engaged.”
“Aside the iCare Foodbank tagged ‘Apo-Anu’, Hon. Benson also has other programmes for the youths which were designed to make them economically viable and employable.They are Startup Ikorodu, Job fair, employment databank, empowering people with Marwa and motorcyles among others.”
“The lawmaker has also been embarking on ‘Back-to-School’ project through which blocks of classrooms have been donated to schools while many school buildings have been rehabailitated. All these are outside his primary duty which he has been discharging effectively.”
All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos East Senatorial leader, Alhaji Gafaar, while speaking at the event commended the Hon. Benson for caring for many constituents,stating that the gesture has lessen the party leaders’ burden.
In his own remark, Alhaji Badru Enifeni, a divisional leader of the ruling party, who openly declared that he never supported the candidature of Hon. Benson, also commended him for not discriminating against leaders and others that did not supported his dream but rather, giving them what is due to them.
“There has never been an honourable like Hon. Benson, because those that have been there before him never looked back. He is different. I have heard about the iCare Foodbank, but never believe that it truly existed until I got an invite and witness the distribution today”, Alhaji Enifeni added.
Speaking on behalf of the six APC Local Government Areas in Ikorodu division, Evangelist Falohun thanked Hon. Benson for been a good representtaive of their party and added that the six chairmen have concluded plans to return him for another term.
“When we started selling his candidature to the party in 2015, there were many obtacles. Many did not believe that he was marketable but today, he has proved that he’s a relaible representative that everybody can rely with. He has out-performed those before him. He also has never disappointed us.”
“We the party chairmen have concluded that he will get a return ticket to Abuja for second term becusae of his performances”, he declared.
Also at the event, 500 less privileged and vulnerable constituents benefited from the iCare’s Foodbank largesse to mark the one year anniversary.
According to the iCare Director-General,the ‘Bags of Mercy’ (Apo Anu) distributed at the event contained food items such as rice, sugar, salt, sardine, indomie, spaghetti, custard and garri among other food items.
What The Beneficiaries Say About Hon. Benson And His Foodbank Initiative
Mrs Toyin Olaosebikan, Imota LCDA
I love this intiative. May God continue to bless Hon. Benson and his family.
Mrs Ganiyat Lawal, Imota LCDA
Hon. Benson has been helping me to stay out of hunger. May God bless him abundantly.
Mr C.O. Alubiagba, Ijede LCDA
Jimi is a very wise man and a responsible representative. It is not easy to feed many people. He brain shall not ceased to function properly. I thank him and may God bless him.
Mrs Adejoke Agiri, Ikorodu Central Local Government
Big thanks to Hon. Benson because this is not an easy task. May God continue to bless him, his wife and family.
Mrs Salawu Victoria, Ikorodu Central Local Government
I thank Hon. Benson and wife very much for not allowing my family and I to die of starvation.
Mr Sikiru Awomodu, Ikorodu Central Local Government
I like this programme. It is an honest one. May God continue to provide for him and his family the same way he has been providing for many people.
Mrs Abosede, Ikorodu Central Local Government
This is my first time here and I am very happy about it. Jimi is helping so many people in the division. This is an honest initiative and not politics as usual.
Mr Akin Osun, Odogunyan, Ikorodu North LCDA
This is the first time I’m benefitting from Hon. Benson’s food distribution, though I have been hearing about it from those who have benefitted from it .He is a good man.
Mrs Esther Ayeni, Odogunyan, Ikorodu North LCDA
Some people have occupied the position that Hon. Benson is occupying before but they have gone into oblivion because they did nothing to positively impact the lives of those that they represented. Hon. Benson has been performing and we thank God for his life.
Mrs Ayo Awolalu, Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA
I have been benefitting from his gesture. His representtaive is truly impacting on the masses positively.