By Gabriel Efo
The Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, has given cash to the tune of N2.3Million to rural women and young entrepreneurs in the state to scale up their businesses.
The event took place on Friday at the Conference Room of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Uyo.
Represented by his Director of Protocol, Hon. Desmond Etim, during the 28th edition of the Entrepreneurs Meet and Greet session of RHAB-YESS Foundation, the Speaker gave the sum of N50,000 each to 36 rural women drawn from different local government areas of the state and N500,000 to three entrepreneurs, who are students of the University of Uyo.
While urging the beneficiaries to make good use of the donation, the Speaker expressed satisfaction that a number of beneficiaries of previous editions have become millionaires through the programme.
Rt. Hon. Bassey further thanked the women for their show of love and support to the Udom Emmanuel-led administration in the last seven years and appealed for more support for the progress and development of Akwa Ibom State.
“I am not doing this because of my Senatorial ambition. I started doing this in my first year in office, before I ever dreamt running for the Senate. If I have done this much as a member and Speaker of the State House of Assembly, I believe I can do more with a higher platform as the Senate,” he said.
In her remarks, the Vice President of the University of Uyo Students Union Government (SUG), Comrade Blessing Jaja, expressed her gratitude to the Speaker for believing in the students and supporting them.
She also commended the students for daring to run successful businesses along side their studies.
One of the beneficiaries, Victor Akaninyene, a 400 level student of Curriculum Studies, University of Uyo, and a Fashion Designer from Etim Ekpo LGA, received the star prize of N250,000, while Harold Bassey from Itu LGA and Donnish Ekanem from Ika LGA, who were first and second runner ups, received N150,000 and N100,000 respectively.
Earlier, the Programme Manager, Mr. Darlington Udobong, thanked the women for coming out in good number, maintaining that the programme 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 described the Speaker as a non-tribal person.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of cheques to winners of the 28th edition and 36 rural women including Aniekan Emmanuel Essien, Comfort Bassey Timothy, Veronica Okon Ekong, Uduak Brenda Akpan, Ekere Eka, Akon Sunday Nyong, Uduak Ubong Asuquo, Christiana Eyo Tom, Akon Dennis, Idorenyin Okon Inyang, Glory Edem Uno, Uduak Matthew Obot, Mmayen Edidem, Eno Ita Archibong, Idorenyin Okon and Peace Ime Ita.
Others were Idorenyin Ambrose Edet, Ekaette Anthony Dan, Patricia Reuben Ibia, Mercy Jack, Esther Ene Akpan, Itoro Nse Akpan, Ofonmbuk Ime Joshua, Nseobong Edet, Esther Monday Okon, Nse Umoh Esema, Iniobong Eka, Aniedi Ekpo Amande, Mfoniso Eyo, Affiong Bassey Udoh, Stella Patrick Okon, Glory Okon Udo, Enefiok Michael Udofia, Martina Eyo John, Aniedi Edet Udo and Rosemary James.