Evangelist Margaret Inde, the Chairman of Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State, has empowered a group of farmers on the council each with a hoe, cutlass and one tuber of yam.
According to viral reports, the Local Government Chairman handed over the items to the farmers during activities to mark the 30th anniversary of the creation of the local government area as well as the celebration of the New Yam festival held on Friday, August 27.
In trending pictures on social media, the council boss was seen ‘empowering’ her people each with one yam, a hoe and a cutlass.
The scheme has elicited varying reactions on social media with many people criticising Inde’s gesture.
In her speech at the celebrations held at Cenotaph, Sankwala, headquarters of Obanliku, the council boss said, “Fellow Obanliku people, on behalf of myself and the executive council, I wish to congratulate all of us on the historic 30 years of existence as a Local Government.
“Also as we celebrate our new yam festival signalling the end of hunger in our traditional calendar, I bring you warm greetings and candidly commend your individual and collective hard work at ensuring food security in the entire area.
“30 years ago, our local government, I mean our fatherland – this beautiful land with different faces of natural endowments, especially its geographical landscape spread across the political wards became a reality on August 27, 1991, through a proclamation by then Military President General Ibrahim Babangida.
“I wish to proceed with my speech by making reference to the Almighty as encapsulated in Psalm 125, ‘What marvels the Lord worked for us, indeed we were glad, for it was like a dream’. We rejoiced, we danced and our joy knew no bounds.
“As the current executive chairman, this occasion provides me with a great platform to tell you how we have fared with the mandate you gave us but first, I want to remind us of the economic situation of local governments in the country with very little resources available to run a government closest to the people.
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“When we assumed office, with the resources available to us, we undertook the renovation and furnishing of the Secretariat. We also renovated and furnished the legislative chambers of the council.
“More so, we have set in motion the discussion for the overall development of our LGA. This includes the inauguration of a high powered committee for the development of an Obanliku new City.
“In spite of the lean resources, we were also able to participate actively and support the Obanliku stakeholders’ conference held in June on June 14 -15, 2021 during which robust discussions aimed at fast-tracking the development of our dear local government took the centre stage. The outcome of the conference has already kick-started the implementation of the resolutions.
“The Council under my watch recognises peace and security as pivotal to the growth of the LGA. In our time in office, we have made this critical sector a priority through regular meetings with security heads and traditional rulers council.
“I again urge us today to increase our commitment to the security of life and property at every time. In the area of cultural preservation, we have given all the support to our traditional institutions and leaders and we will continue to do so. Our new yam festival which we celebrate today is a testament to this fact.
“Fellow Obanliku people, let me reiterate the point that to truly grow, we need to unite. We need to solidify our strength which is our people who remain our greatest asset. The spirit of hard work and excellence passed down to us by our forefathers should continue to burn in us.
“Our youths must rise to the occasion of community building even as I congratulate them on nation-building. From Bendi to Becheve, from Bishiri to Utanga, from Basang to Bisu, from Busi to Bebi, Obanliku is one.”
However, social media users have expressed displeasure after some photos of the empowerment scheme surfaced online, with some criticising Mrs Inde’s gesture while others blamed the able-bodied men who lined up to accept the items from her.
See more photos below: