By Gabriel Efo

Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and 2023 Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, has doled out a total sum of N2 million as business support to rural women and young entrepreneurs in the state. 

The event, themed ‘Entrepreneur Meet and Greet,’ took place on Friday at the Conference Room of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Uyo.

Rt. Hon. Bassey, who was represented by the Executive Chairman of Nsit Ibom Local Government Council, Hon. Eric Akpan, presented cash to the beneficiaries through the RHAB-YESS Foundation, an initiative he launched to support small scale businesses gain financial greatness and self-sustainability.

The beneficiaries included six winners of the RHAB-YESS online business contest for June and July 2022 Editions and 20 rural women drawn from the nine Local Government Areas of the state. 

In his remarks, the Speaker maintained that investing in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through financial support was a rare feat that must be encouraged.

He said his service to humanity would not have reached this height but for the opportunity given him by the PDP and the Governor Udom Emmanuel-led government and further appealed to beneficiaries RHAB-YESS Foundation reciprocate the gestures they have enjoyed in the last three years by supporting the PDP in 2023 for bigger benefits.

While charging the beneficiaries of the scheme to be prudent in their respective businesses and also invest the seed money wisely so as to better their lots and create jobs for others, he stressed the need for them ensure his success at the poll as the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District, that of Pastor Umo Eno as Governor and every other candidates of the PDP in the 2023 general elections..

Also Speaking, the Manager of Jiu Hua Nigeria Company Limited, Mr. Durant Wu, appealed to the beneficiaries to be committed and dedicated to their businesses, assuring that the company will continue to partner RHAB-YESS Foundation in training and employing Akwa Ibom youths in the areas of Woodwork, Metal Fabrication and Spraying.

On his part a Delta State-based businessman and Chief Executive Officer of IPKISS Investment Limited, Mr. Peter Joseph Bassey, tasked the beneficiaries to go beyond their business space and also take advantage of some World Band and Federal Government business grants for the benefit of Akwa Ibom State.

He further encouraged the beneficiaries with a donation of N500,000 to boost their businesses.

Earlier, the Programme Manager, Mr. Darlington Udobong, thanked the women for coming out in good numbers and explained that the scheme is aimed at discovering, mentoring and supporting rural women and young Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs to financial greatness and self-sustainability.

While explaining the rigorous processes involved in selecting winners of the scheme who are drawn from different parts of the state, Mr. Udobong the scheme completely complements Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Enterprise Development Drive.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Ekaette Sylvester Asuquo, who spoke on behalf of the women, said that life would have been easier for the people if all public office holders were to emulate the Speaker.

While thanking him for his magnanimity, Mrs. Asuquo, a native of Uruan Local Government Area, pledged her support to the Senatorial bid of the Speaker in 2023.

Another beneficiary, Mr. James Edet Etim (N250,000 Winner from Ibiono Ibom), who spoke on behalf of the winners of the business contest, said that Hon. Bassey’s kind gesture was rare in the state and country at large.

Mr. Etim vowed to use the funds for the purpose it was given in order to be financially independent as well as create employment opportunities for other young entrepreneurs through his business.

Other beneficiaries included Semma Etiese Usanga, a local manufacturer from Uyo, received N250,000; Glory Uwem, a petty trader from Itu LGA, received N150,000; Riches John, a Dry Cleaner from Abak LGA, received N150,000; Godswill Monday, a Gas Retailer from Eket LGA, received N100,000 and  Mishael Godspower Archibong, a Dry Cleaner from Ibiono Ibom, received N100,000.

 Each of the rural women received the sum of N50,000 and the were Peace Okokon Peter, Ifreka Etop Ufia, Eno Uko Effiong, Uduak Otobong Okon, Basseyanwan Edet Ekanem, Idorenyin Effiong Efene, Lily Mfon Eton, Agnes Friday Michael, Evang. Esther Nsini Etim, Ekaette Uduak Okon, Grace Nse Warrie, Udeme Unyime Charles Udoh, Esther Nelson Akpan, Rose Michael Bassey, Iniobong Walter Umoafia, Ekaette Sylvester Asuquo Christiana David Asukwo, Esther Edet, Lovina Ene Ernest and Mercy Bokime Effiong.

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