By Uwakmfon Dan 

RHAB-YESS Foundation, the pet project of the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, has empowered young Akwa Ibom Entrepreneurs and rural women with business grants worth N1.9million.

Addressing the beneficiaries on Wednesday during the ‘Entrepreneurs Meet and Greet Session’ of the Foundation, held at the Conference Room of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Uyo, the Speaker advised youths in the state to look away from frivolities and develop serious interest in entrepreneurship.

Represented by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Akparawa Michael Bush, the Speaker further tasked the youths, saying “rather than hover around politicians, you should strive for self-reliance by learning a skill or owning a business.”

“There is nothing as good as having a skill or owning a business. When you see people leave their homes in the morning to hang around people’s houses, it’s because they are idle. I sincerely advise young people, especially, those interested in politics, to own a business.

“If you have One Hundred Thousand Naira, you can start a business, no matter how small. You can start a food or clothing business, because no matter how tough the economy is, people must eat food and wear clothes.

“I am very certain that in the next five years, some of you seated here will become business tycoons. I’m appealing that everyone should be interested in entrepreneurship. Our youths should develop serious liking for entrepreneurship. It doesn’t matter whether you have a white-collar job or not,” the Speaker admonished.

The Lawmaker also harped on the need to elect entrepreneurship-driven leaders into positions of authority, especially, as the state gears toward the 2023 general elections.

“As young people, we must critically look at the people we want vote into positions of power. Today, as Aniekan Bassey, I am doing everything within my capacity to complement Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Enterprise Development Drive by empowering people across the state. What the RHAB-YESS Foundation has done should be emulated by others. Imagine if all the political office holders are doing same,” he said.

Earlier in his remarks, the Manager of RHAB-YESS, Mr. Darlington Udobong, said the programme is aimed at discovering, mentoring and supporting young  Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs to financial greatness and self-sustainability.

He disclosed that “the Foundation has given special support to over 383 sons and daughters of the state. It has empowered 83 businesses owned by young Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs with financial support to the tune of N24.7million. It has trained 10 youths in the Oil and Gas sector, 15 in Automobile Repairs/Maintenance and Oven-Baked Spraying.”

Speaking further, he said “The Foundation, in partnership with Jiu Hua Nigeria Company Limited, a Chinese firm, is currently training three youths in Woodwork, Metal Fabrication and Spraying. We have covered 31 LGA and by the grace of God, we have done 27 editions. We have embarked on 4 medical outreaches ranging from eye health awareness to general surgery.”

Highpoint of the event was the presentation of cheques to winners of 26th and 27th editions, including nine rural women.

Winners of the 26th Edition are Acleline Job (N250,000), a Petty Trader from Eastern Obolo LGA; Happiness Ekanem (N150,000), a Fashion Designer from Obot Akara LGA, and Ekomobong Okon (100,000), a Fashion Designer from Nsit Atai LGA.

Winners of the 27th Edition are Utibe Sunday Inyang (N250,000), a Fish Farmer from Eket LGA; Esitekom Aniedi Akpan (N150,000), a Fashion Designer from Ikot Abasi LGA, and Uduak Edet Etim (100,000), a Fashion Designer from Uruan LGA.

Nine rural women also received the sum of N100,000 each as business grants.

They are Regina Edet Inyang (Uruan), Nsidibe Udoma Obot (Etinan), Idongesit Ubong Effiong (Ibesikpo Asutan), Affiong Ikpeme (Ibiono Ibom), Inemesit Maxwell Eduok, Noble Paul Samuel (Nsit Atai), Anietimfon Jackson (Nsit Ibom), Eno Udo Ndueso (Nsit Ubium) and Paulina Asuquo Akpan (Uyo).

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