In a bid to reduce unemployment and engage the youths and other citizens in productive ventures, the Lagos State Government under its NEMAP Speed Up Lagos programme has extended its empowerment scheme to Ije-Ododo Community in Iba Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Ojo Local Government Area of the state.
Unveiling the empowerment programme during the graduation ceremony of the beneficiaries in the community, the Baale and Oba-Elect of Ije-Ododo, High Chief Abu Jelili Ayinde Ododo, lifted over 85 beneficiaries with various sums of money to start their own small businesses.
Having undergone the skills acquisition programme in the last three months, the beneficiaries, who were trained in Catering and Food Management, Makeup Artists and Fabric Design, received their certificates of training at the event held at the palace of the Oba-Elect and attended by representatives of the state government, Director of Speed Up Lagos, Mrs. Gbemisola Ajetunmobi, community leaders and Counselor representing Ward A, Iba LCDA, Hon. Kabir Ododo, among others.
The best five students of each department received N25,000 each, while the regular students were empowered with N20,000 cash as seed money to start up their small businesses in their chosen field, just as the four instructors were rewarded with N10,000 each.
Speaking, High Chief Ododo pledged to continue to engage the youth of the community in productive ventures and reduce unemployment, crime and idleness among the youths through the empowerment scheme.
“We are poised to assist the Lagos State Government in our small way to reduce the high rate of unemployment in the state and the entire country. I, therefore, urge the beneficiaries to engage in productive activities to make the programme a success as we plan to do more over time.
“You should not despise the days of small beginnings. If you start small and remain steadfast and committed, you will succeed in all your endeavours,” he said.
Those who received N25,000 each in makeup are Yusuf Yemota; Olapeju Olanipekun; Iyabode Sofemi; Aduragbemi Bright; Temitope Oluwaremilekun, Mrs. Babatunde Oluwatoyin and Akinloye Taiwo.
In Fashion Designing, Aminat Babatunde; Rachael Kolawole; Sunday Destiny; Blessing Chuks and Ifeoluwa Alfred received N25,000 each, while Odunfa Mojisoluwa; Adekoya Ayomikan; Okunmola Funmilayo, Ajao Cynthia and Yusuf Aishat got N25,000 for Catering and Food Management.
Hon. Kabir Ododo, who commended the Oba-Elect for the scheme in which Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Delta, Akwa Ibom and residents of other ethnic backgrounds benefited, said the empowerment programme is one of several initiatives targeted at lifting the citizens of Lagos State, and especially residents of Ije-Ododo, adding that the Oba-Elect’s collaboration with the Lagos State Government only means better days ahead for the people.
In her reaction, a beneficiary, Maureen Okolie, who expressed delight at the empowerment scheme, said she will use the seed money to start her fabric design business, adding that with the economic situation of the country, everyone should be encouraged to engage in productive activity and that nobody should be idle.
Another beneficiary, Wuraola Adesina, commended the Oba-Elect for the initiative, saying that she benefited immensely from the training while admonishing others to enrol in subsequent modules of the programme.
” I will raise additional money to add to the N20,000 I received to enable me to set up a shop in line with the training I have been given during the empowerment programme. I thank Kabiyesi for the gesture and I urge other good-spirited members with the wherewithal to emulate the Oba-Elect in order to lift more members of the community,” she said.
Speaking, an instructor for the programme, Mrs Adesola Bamidele, said the Speed Up Lagos scheme was aimed at teaching and imparting knowledge and skills to the beneficiaries and that any skills learnt would be useful for the beneficiaries and their children now and in the future.
Also speaking, Mrs Ajetunmobi, who was represented by Mr Oluwasina Ayomi, enjoined the beneficiaries to make the most use of the skills acquired and the seed money they have received to start something, however small, adding that they should not be afraid to start small.
On her part, Head of Department of Speed Up Lagos, Pastor (Mrs.) Patricia Alfred, commended the empowerment drive of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration in all sectors of the state’s economy, maintaining that the initiative will go a long way in engaging the citizens for more positive and productive activities.