Of Empowerment And The Sense Of It

Election seasons are quite predictable. In Nigeria, it is easy to forecast how a typical politician will run his campaign for instance. He begins with an uncanny concern for the welfare of the masses, then graduates, overnight, to a genial and vivacious personality who now attends almost all social outings even when uninvited.

If he is in the opposition, his speeches are laced with motivation, anecdotes and innuendoes. He will try to convince the gullible of how hard he has worked to become who he is and why second address is most essential.
Infact, he can go the extent of referring to his long comfortable abode as an Egypt and those still there as the Pharoahs.He will surreptitiously adorn the garb of philanthropy and would go from place to place “doing good” and empowering people .
He volunteers to go to the court on behalf of the “oppressed” as he feigns advocacy for his long-suffering constituency. In some cases, he floats a Foundation that peremptorily lay claim to catering for the needy, poor and the downtrodden.
Some Nigerian Politicians have indeed negated the term empowerment, by their showmanship.The thin line between true empowerment and the sense of empowerment is almost erased.
The erroneous feeling of contentment arising from this false perception is not only ludicrous but delusional.
Empowerment is therefore an authority or power given to someone to do something. Note, such authority could come either in tangible or intangible forms but must be knowlege- based.
Empowerment could take the form of social,
educational ,
economic,
political or
psychological.
Overall, the essence of an empowerment is to teach one how to fish other than provide him fish.
A sense of Empowerment, on the other hand, is the “feeling” that something is when it is not. It may look like an empowerment, because some tangible materials have been transferred from one hand to another, but in factual terms it lacks substance and is unsustainable .
A sense of empowerment is bereft of the key elements of empowerment which include: clarity of intentions; action plan ; Support: financial / mentoring; autonomy: that is, the latitude to practice and perfect the acquired skill for productivity.
Sadly , the feeling of empowerment deludes people’s perception to an extent that they fantasize on vague and irrational sense of accomplishments. The false sense arises due to the Awards and hollow accolades from despondent beneficiaries.
For example, how rational is it to buy hair clippers to one who does not know how to barb nor owe a light generating set ?
How sensible is it to give a petty trader N100,000 or less, even more, without due diligence on the state of the business and how viable investing more into it will make it be ?
I consider it foolhardy that you choose to empower somebody with a car for transportation business without evaluating his mental ability to manage such business. Imagine an itinerant man, whose only qualification is that he strayed into your office or house as an oppressed man and possibly denounced his old political party, been empowered to operate a taxi? He will sell the car to fund his indulgence.
The fault list is long, but suffice to say that majority of what we publicise today as empowerment are Yahoo Yahoo empowerment that attract all accolades but significant of nothing.
Professor Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne’s idea of empowerment excites me. His intentions are not only clear,the process is equally plausible and sustainable. The results are visible overtime . Testimonies abound, from Professors to technocrats, in various fields of endeavours.
For example, in his early days as Professor of Optometry, Prof Ikonne did something indelible, he empowered Optometry students by upgrading the program to the level of Masters degree , Fellowship training in clinical and PhD. His became the prototype that other great institutions emulated.
As Rector of ABIAPOLY, Prof did another significant thing. He deployed the skilled manpower among the teaching and non- teaching staff ,including students ,to build infrastructure and decorate the school. From there he discovered sculptors ,Mason’s ,Welders who worked for the school on direct labour.
Prof equally encouraged students to produce metal works and sculptures that were sold to people.
One Obinna Ugoji, a former student of the ABIAPOLY testified , “It was from the money I made from my small Art works that I was able to pay my school fees while in school. Even now I feed my family from some of the skills I acquired while in ABIAPOLY”.
Ikonne opened opportunities for TETFUND scholarship fund and through the funding many teaching and non- teaching staff were trained abroad . In fact he intervened once a staff on training nearly got stranded, that was then in Abiapoly.
Through community service, Prof empowered many people. Listen to Prof, “community service is part of my duty as a lecturer. My employment said teaching, research, and community service; so, my community services helped create awareness, it helped government improve their infrastructure and implement their policies in communities in and around my place.” He further said , “My wife and I engaged in rural development as part of my community service. ”
Even in technical Education and skills aquisition for instance , “I keyed into the education for employment policy of the government by sending a lot of youths from my place for skill acquisition and training. Some went to Innoson where they learnt to build and repair automobiles, and things associated with it.”
On health empowerment, Prof built health centre for his Agburuike people . Health they say is wealth and he understands that much. According to him, “Government was appreciative that I was helping their policies get out to the rural areas.”
Elder Caleb Mgbaruko was handy to point this writer to the health center build by Prof Ikonne in his community . “Prof built this health center for us and he ensures it is equiped as well” Mgbaruko explained excitedly.
At Ngwa High School Aba,where he did his secondary school,Professor Ikonne organised some of his friends to build one of the modern structures in that school.
The Nsulu Vanguard,a flagship unbrella body for Nsulu people,has awarded several scholarships as well as secured employment for deserving youths from Nsulu. Professor Ikonne envisioned it and have remained the key sponsor of that eminent body .
A young Professor who prefers anonymity narrated, to me, how Prof Ikonne mentored him and became instrumental in his returning back to Nigeria after studying in Europe. No wonder that majority of those campaigning today for him are persons he has impacted their lives positively at one point or the other and that is what true empowerment is.
Achieving so much with little is borne out of ingenuity and true passion for capital development. One can only imagine what the game changer will do in a larger constituency of Abia state and given the availability of more resources.

Kennedy Onyenma, a public affairs commentator writes from UmuahiaOf Empowerment and The Sense of It.
By Kennedy Onyenma
Election seasons are quite predictable. In Nigeria, it is easy to forecast how a typical politician will run his campaign for instance. He begins with an uncanny concern for the welfare of the masses, then graduates, overnight, to a genial and vivacious personality who now attends almost all social outings even when uninvited.
If he is in the opposition, his speeches are laced with motivation, anecdotes and innuendoes. He will try to convince the gullible of how hard he has worked to become who he is and why second address is most essential.
Infact, he can go the extent of referring to his long comfortable abode as an Egypt and those still there as the Pharoahs.He will surreptitiously adorn the garb of philanthropy and would go from place to place “doing good” and empowering people .
He volunteers to go to the court on behalf of the “oppressed” as he feigns advocacy for his long-suffering constituency. In some cases, he floats a Foundation that peremptorily lay claim to catering for the needy, poor and the downtrodden.
Some Nigerian Politicians have indeed negated the term empowerment, by their showmanship.The thin line between true empowerment and the sense of empowerment is almost erased.
The erroneous feeling of contentment arising from this false perception is not only ludicrous but delusional.
Empowerment is therefore an authority or power given to someone to do something. Note, such authority could come either in tangible or intangible forms but must be knowlege- based.
Empowerment could take the form of social,
educational ,
economic,
political or
psychological.
Overall, the essence of an empowerment is to teach one how to fish other than provide him fish.
A sense of Empowerment, on the other hand, is the “feeling” that something is when it is not. It may look like an empowerment, because some tangible materials have been transferred from one hand to another, but in factual terms it lacks substance and is unsustainable .
A sense of empowerment is bereft of the key elements of empowerment which include: clarity of intentions; action plan ; Support: financial / mentoring; autonomy: that is, the latitude to practice and perfect the acquired skill for productivity.
Sadly , the feeling of empowerment deludes people’s perception to an extent that they fantasize on vague and irrational sense of accomplishments. The false sense arises due to the Awards and hollow accolades from despondent beneficiaries.
For example, how rational is it to buy hair clippers to one who does not know how to barb nor owe a light generating set ?
How sensible is it to give a petty trader N100,000 or less, even more, without due diligence on the state of the business and how viable investing more into it will make it be ?
I consider it foolhardy that you choose to empower somebody with a car for transportation business without evaluating his mental ability to manage such business. Imagine an itinerant man, whose only qualification is that he strayed into your office or house as an oppressed man and possibly denounced his old political party, been empowered to operate a taxi? He will sell the car to fund his indulgence.
The fault list is long, but suffice to say that majority of what we publicise today as empowerment are Yahoo Yahoo empowerment that attract all accolades but significant of nothing.
Professor Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne’s idea of empowerment excites me. His intentions are not only clear,the process is equally plausible and sustainable. The results are visible overtime . Testimonies abound, from Professors to technocrats, in various fields of endeavours.
For example, in his early days as Professor of Optometry, Prof Ikonne did something indelible, he empowered Optometry students by upgrading the program to the level of Masters degree , Fellowship training in clinical and PhD. His became the prototype that other great institutions emulated.
As Rector of ABIAPOLY, Prof did another significant thing. He deployed the skilled manpower among the teaching and non- teaching staff ,including students ,to build infrastructure and decorate the school. From there he discovered sculptors ,Mason’s ,Welders who worked for the school on direct labour.
Prof equally encouraged students to produce metal works and sculptures that were sold to people.
One Obinna Ugoji, a former student of the ABIAPOLY testified , “It was from the money I made from my small Art works that I was able to pay my school fees while in school. Even now I feed my family from some of the skills I acquired while in ABIAPOLY”.
Ikonne opened opportunities for TETFUND scholarship fund and through the funding many teaching and non- teaching staff were trained abroad . In fact he intervened once a staff on training nearly got stranded, that was then in Abiapoly.
Through community service, Prof empowered many people. Listen to Prof, “community service is part of my duty as a lecturer. My employment said teaching, research, and community service; so, my community services helped create awareness, it helped government improve their infrastructure and implement their policies in communities in and around my place.” He further said , “My wife and I engaged in rural development as part of my community service. ”
Even in technical Education and skills aquisition for instance , “I keyed into the education for employment policy of the government by sending a lot of youths from my place for skill acquisition and training. Some went to Innoson where they learnt to build and repair automobiles, and things associated with it.”
On health empowerment, Prof built health centre for his Agburuike people . Health they say is wealth and he understands that much. According to him, “Government was appreciative that I was helping their policies get out to the rural areas.”
Elder Caleb Mgbaruko was handy to point this writer to the health center build by Prof Ikonne in his community . “Prof built this health center for us and he ensures it is equiped as well” Mgbaruko explained excitedly.
At Ngwa High School Aba,where he did his secondary school,Professor Ikonne organised some of his friends to build one of the modern structures in that school.
The Nsulu Vanguard,a flagship unbrella body for Nsulu people,has awarded several scholarships as well as secured employment for deserving youths from Nsulu. Professor Ikonne envisioned it and have remained the key sponsor of that eminent body .
A young Professor who prefers anonymity narrated, to me, how Prof Ikonne mentored him and became instrumental in his returning back to Nigeria after studying in Europe. No wonder that majority of those campaigning today for him are persons he has impacted their lives positively at one point or the other and that is what true empowerment is.
Achieving so much with little is borne out of ingenuity and true passion for capital development. One can only imagine what the game changer will do in a larger constituency of Abia state and given the availability of more resources.Of Empowerment and The Sense of It.
By Kennedy Onyenma
Election seasons are quite predictable. In Nigeria, it is easy to forecast how a typical politician will run his campaign for instance. He begins with an uncanny concern for the welfare of the masses, then graduates, overnight, to a genial and vivacious personality who now attends almost all social outings even when uninvited.
If he is in the opposition, his speeches are laced with motivation, anecdotes and innuendoes. He will try to convince the gullible of how hard he has worked to become who he is and why second address is most essential.
Infact, he can go the extent of referring to his long comfortable abode as an Egypt and those still there as the Pharoahs.He will surreptitiously adorn the garb of philanthropy and would go from place to place “doing good” and empowering people .
He volunteers to go to the court on behalf of the “oppressed” as he feigns advocacy for his long-suffering constituency. In some cases, he floats a Foundation that peremptorily lay claim to catering for the needy, poor and the downtrodden.
Some Nigerian Politicians have indeed negated the term empowerment, by their showmanship.The thin line between true empowerment and the sense of empowerment is almost erased.
The erroneous feeling of contentment arising from this false perception is not only ludicrous but delusional.
Empowerment is therefore an authority or power given to someone to do something. Note, such authority could come either in tangible or intangible forms but must be knowlege- based.
Empowerment could take the form of social,
educational ,
economic,
political or
psychological.
Overall, the essence of an empowerment is to teach one how to fish other than provide him fish.
A sense of Empowerment, on the other hand, is the “feeling” that something is when it is not. It may look like an empowerment, because some tangible materials have been transferred from one hand to another, but in factual terms it lacks substance and is unsustainable .
A sense of empowerment is bereft of the key elements of empowerment which include: clarity of intentions; action plan ; Support: financial / mentoring; autonomy: that is, the latitude to practice and perfect the acquired skill for productivity.
Sadly , the feeling of empowerment deludes people’s perception to an extent that they fantasize on vague and irrational sense of accomplishments. The false sense arises due to the Awards and hollow accolades from despondent beneficiaries.
For example, how rational is it to buy hair clippers to one who does not know how to barb nor owe a light generating set ?
How sensible is it to give a petty trader N100,000 or less, even more, without due diligence on the state of the business and how viable investing more into it will make it be ?
I consider it foolhardy that you choose to empower somebody with a car for transportation business without evaluating his mental ability to manage such business. Imagine an itinerant man, whose only qualification is that he strayed into your office or house as an oppressed man and possibly denounced his old political party, been empowered to operate a taxi? He will sell the car to fund his indulgence.
The fault list is long, but suffice to say that majority of what we publicise today as empowerment are Yahoo Yahoo empowerment that attract all accolades but significant of nothing.
Professor Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne’s idea of empowerment excites me. His intentions are not only clear,the process is equally plausible and sustainable. The results are visible overtime . Testimonies abound, from Professors to technocrats, in various fields of endeavours.
For example, in his early days as Professor of Optometry, Prof Ikonne did something indelible, he empowered Optometry students by upgrading the program to the level of Masters degree , Fellowship training in clinical and PhD. His became the prototype that other great institutions emulated.
As Rector of ABIAPOLY, Prof did another significant thing. He deployed the skilled manpower among the teaching and non- teaching staff ,including students ,to build infrastructure and decorate the school. From there he discovered sculptors ,Mason’s ,Welders who worked for the school on direct labour.
Prof equally encouraged students to produce metal works and sculptures that were sold to people.
One Obinna Ugoji, a former student of the ABIAPOLY testified , “It was from the money I made from my small Art works that I was able to pay my school fees while in school. Even now I feed my family from some of the skills I acquired while in ABIAPOLY”.
Ikonne opened opportunities for TETFUND scholarship fund and through the funding many teaching and non- teaching staff were trained abroad . In fact he intervened once a staff on training nearly got stranded, that was then in Abiapoly.
Through community service, Prof empowered many people. Listen to Prof, “community service is part of my duty as a lecturer. My employment said teaching, research, and community service; so, my community services helped create awareness, it helped government improve their infrastructure and implement their policies in communities in and around my place.” He further said , “My wife and I engaged in rural development as part of my community service. ”
Even in technical Education and skills aquisition for instance , “I keyed into the education for employment policy of the government by sending a lot of youths from my place for skill acquisition and training. Some went to Innoson where they learnt to build and repair automobiles, and things associated with it.”
On health empowerment, Prof built health centre for his Agburuike people . Health they say is wealth and he understands that much. According to him, “Government was appreciative that I was helping their policies get out to the rural areas.”
Elder Caleb Mgbaruko was handy to point this writer to the health center build by Prof Ikonne in his community . “Prof built this health center for us and he ensures it is equiped as well” Mgbaruko explained excitedly.
At Ngwa High School Aba,where he did his secondary school,Professor Ikonne organised some of his friends to build one of the modern structures in that school.
The Nsulu Vanguard,a flagship unbrella body for Nsulu people,has awarded several scholarships as well as secured employment for deserving youths from Nsulu. Professor Ikonne envisioned it and have remained the key sponsor of that eminent body .
A young Professor who prefers anonymity narrated, to me, how Prof Ikonne mentored him and became instrumental in his returning back to Nigeria after studying in Europe. No wonder that majority of those campaigning today for him are persons he has impacted their lives positively at one point or the other and that is what true empowerment is.
Achieving so much with little is borne out of ingenuity and true passion for capital development. One can only imagine what the game changer will do in a larger constituency of Abia state and given the availability of more resources.

Kennedy Onyenma, a public affairs commentator writes from Umuahia.

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