BusinessDay

‘We are determined to ensure greater good to larger number of people’

Introduction

It gives me great pleasure to welcome our amiable Mr. Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to the ancient town of Epe to join in commissioning these landmark projects facilitated through the Presidency (Office of the SDGs); and the award of financial grants to 1,250 market women and distribution of farming equipment, and financial support to our rural farmers.

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen. I came into this assignment with a determination and passion to improve the lots of Lagos East Senatorial district, and elevate the socio-economic conditions of our people, and more importantly compliment the efforts of the State Government as led by Mr. Governor in improving the lives of our people.

To achieve this, shortly after my inauguration as the Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 15th December, 2020, I commissioned an extensive NEEDS ASSESSMENT to ascertain the real, peculiar and most pressing needs of our people across the 98 wards in the 16 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas in the Lagos East Senatorial District.

Mr. Governor, our royal fathers, respected members of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), great leaders of our dear party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), distinguished guests and gentlemen of the Press, the feedback generated from our people across the district have been the compass in navigating where and what to facilitate in respective communities in the order of priority and expediency.

So, in the last 18 months that I have held the people’s mandate, I have prioritised my focus and responsibilities on three (3) pillars: Legislative role; Empowerment, and endowment.

1. LEGISLATIVE ROLE

a. Legislation:

In the last 18 months in the Senate, I have sponsored thirteen (13) private member bills and co-sponsored three (3) others. All the bills have scaled first reading. Two (2) of the bills are of particular interest to our entrepreneurs (MSME) and the youth.

They are: Copyright bill 2021 (Repeal and Re-enactment) which has gone through first and second readings, public hearing and third reading and has been passed in the Senate. The second bill is the Franchise Regulation Bill 2022 which has gone through first and second readings and is now awaiting public hearing.

b. Motions:

I have also moved two motions. The first is motion on the ban of cryptocurrency in Nigeria and motion on the urgent need for the rehabilitation of the Ikorodu-Shagamu and Ikorodu-Itoikin-Epe roads to further bridge the infrastructural gap and enhance economic growth in the corridor of our district.

Please, let me speak briefly on the Ikorodu/Sagamu Road. The efforts I made through legislative interventions led to the virement of the funding of the road to Sukuk Financing Scheme. I am glad to inform you that the efforts have yielded desired results.

From Sabo to First-gate, Odogunyan, Ita-Oluwo, Ogijo, Gbaga , Sotubo to Mosimi, almost all critical sections of the road have been reconstructed. This has brought a great relief to commuters, motorists and businesses along the Ikorodu/Sagamu corridor.

Equally, I have made efforts for the improvement of Ikorodu-Itoikin-Epe road which connects our town with the rest of Lagos. The road which was constructed in 1975 by the General Yakubu Gowon regime is indeed due for major rehabilitation. I wish to assure that our efforts are receiving necessary attention by the Federal Government for the rehabilitation of the road.

c. Petition:

In February 2022, I presented a petition from the Magodo Residents Association on the illegal invasion and occupation of Magodo Estate by armed policemen purportedly acting on the order of the Attorney General of the Federation and Inspector-General of Police.

3. EMPOWERMENT/FACILITATIONS

a. Education

The Aga Primary School in Ikorodu Central, which was overstretched due to high enrolment of pupils has been salvaged. I facilitated four blocks of 24 classrooms equipped with complements of furniture and 16 toilets and Solar-Powered Borehole. This has greatly improved learning outcomes in the school.

In the same vein. I facilitated two blocks of 6 classrooms at RCM Primary School Iwerekun, a coastal community in Ibeju-Lekki.

In Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, I facilitated 1 block of 3 classrooms at Ajelogo Primary School. Also, in Ikosi-Isheri LCDA, I facilitated two blocks of classrooms at Isheri Primary School.

In the same manner, I facilitated a fully equipped computer laboratory at the Igbobi Junior High School, Somolu Lagos.

I facilitated one block of two classrooms at Methodist Primary School, Oke-Eletu, Ijede LCDA

In Gbagada, I have facilitated a block of classrooms at Araromi Primary School.

Also in Aiyeroju Primary School, Oworoshoki, I have facilitated a block of classrooms.

In the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic rage, I donated 150,000 nose masks to primary schools across the Lagos East Senatorial District through LASUBEB.

I facilitated a 200-solar-powered street lights at Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu campus.

b. Health

In response to the yearnings for health facilities by our esteemed constituents as reflected in the NEEDS ASSESSMENT, I facilitated a 40-bed Health facility and Dental Centre at the Ikorodu Campus of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), now known as the Lagos State University of Science and Technology.

Also, I facilitated another 30-Bed Health Facility Centre at Mascara Health Centre, Agboyi Ketu LCDA.

In the same manner, for the people of Isiu and the adjourning communities in Ikorodu North LCDA, I facilitated a 40-bed Health Centre.

c. Socio-economic development

Mr Governor, our Royal fathers, and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I have facilitated the supply and installation of transformers in Eighteen (18) communities across the Senatorial District including:

1. Ito Progressive CDA, Ito Isiu

2. Igbopa Ifesowopo CDA, Ijede

3. Ire Ifelodun CDA, Igbogbo-Bayeku

4. Magodo Community CDA Oke Ota Ona, Ikorodu

5. Ikorodu GRA 2, Ibeshe Igbogbo-Bayeku

6. Ifeloju Abule Eko,Ijede Ikorodu

7. Sekungba CDA ikosi Ejirin

8. Isale Agoro CDA, Epe LGA

9. Ideraoluwa CDA, Eredo LGA

10. Olugayan CDA, Imota

11. Idegun CDA, Imota

12. Gbaga Olorunda CDA

13. Adamo (Ikorodu North)

14. Agura Central Gberigbe ( Ikorodu North)

15. Garden Estate (Agboyi Ketu LCDA)

16. Agunbiade CDA ( Somolu)

17. New Araromi CDA (Ipakodo, Ikorodu West)

18. Liberty CDA (Ipakodo)

d. Water Projects

In Mojoda market, Eredo LCDA, I have facilitated a massive borehole project in the market.

Likewise, in Agbowa and Itokin, I facilitated borehole projects for the people.

e. Financial assistance to vulnerable people

Every month since January 2021, over 2,500 vulnerable people including; aged, persons with physical disabilities, unemployed youth, women and widows have been receiving direct credits under my COVID-19 Relief Assistance Scheme.

These beneficiaries were nominated by 98 ward chairmen, party Chairmen, Community Development Committees (CDCs), Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) leaders, Royal fathers, League of Imams, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and notable leaders in the 16 LGs/LCDAs of the Lagos East Senatorial District.

Also, in order to bring our constituency services closer to our esteemed constituents, I opened four liaising offices in Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Somolu and Kosofe to complement the main constituency office at Ikorodu.

Through these outlets, many constituents who are in dire need receive financial assistance monthly.

f. Business capacity development for entrepreneurs

In a deliberate move at spreading prosperity across the Lagos East Senatorial District, my office in partnership with The Fate Foundation and Chartered Standard Foundation organized a Business Workshop/Clinic for 1000 MSMEs across the Senatorial district.

The training which attracted Executive Leadership of business-related regulatory agencies and partners like; BOI, SMEDAN, CAC, LIRS, NAFDAC and LSETF greatly enhanced the capacity of MSMEs in the district.

In addressing the dearth of knowledge which is one of the major reasons why MSMEs fail, a knowledge pack containing seven valuable books covering areas like; Financial Management, Human Capital, Legal, Strategy, Marketing and Communication, Digital Technology and Tax Management authored by reputable corporations including Deloitte, KPMG, Verraki among others were given free of charge to all participants.

Participants also received Enterprise Development Certificates after the training.

I went further to announce a N100Million (One Hundred Million Naira) Constituency Intervention Revolving Loan at a very low concessional 6% interest rate per annum, which will be topped by additional N100 Million from the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund(LSETF) has also graciously pledged to add N100Million totaling N300Million.

The N300Million Constituency Intervention Revolving Loan Scheme will be unveiled soon for the benefit of MSMEs, Artisans and tradesmen in Lagos East.

4. ENDOWMENT

a. Yearly bursary 600

Through my Foundation, Tokunbo Abiru Constituency Team (TACT) Foundation, I established a bursary scheme for indigent residents in Lagos East. Six hundred (600) beneficiaries received the bursaries at the maiden edition of the annual bursary held October 2021.

The selection process was supervised by an independent advisory board comprising scholars with high integrity from our tertiary institutions. This year’s edition will take place in 3rd quarter of this year.

b. Digital and innovation skills for youths and entrepreneurs

In the same manner, I have set up a Community Innovation Space known as Senator Abiru Innovation Lab (SAIL) in partnership with a renowned technology and Social Enterprise company, The Co-creation Hub (Cc-HUB) in Lagos to train youths in the senatorial district on relevant digital and innovation skills, and build the best entrepreneurs that can compete in the ever-dynamic global economy.

The Center is currently situated in Ikorodu within our district, starting from the constituency office but planning to move into a bigger permanent facility by July 2022. Five (5) pilot programmes have been put together with a view to proffer solutions to some of the challenges identified and many of our youths have started applying for opportunities to participate in the programmes.

Over 2,300 young people across the Lagos East Senatorial District applied for the SAIL programmes. Currently, over One Hundred Fifty (150) students are participating in the Five (5) Pilot Programmes at the SAIL Centre in Ikorodu while over One Thousand (1000) eligible applicants were trained online.

The programmes are as follows:

i.Tech Talent Development – is aimed at identifying young people who are interested in a career in technology. Selected candidates will be taken through a learning plan that will transform them from complete novice to entry level software engineers in 6 months. At the end of the training programme, they will be fully qualified for an entry level job or internship.

ii. Startup Accelerator for Businesses – is for young people who have business ideas that can be amplified by technology. The aim is to accelerate their growth with hands-on business support. For those who have a prototype, we will help them with product-market fit as well as build their capacity to be able to attract funding and support for their business. For those who don’t yet have a prototype, we will support them to develop their ideas for the testing phase.

iii. Lagos East Teachers’ Fellowship – a programme aimed at equipping Educators with new skills that would lead to better learning outcomes. It is for Teachers who are interested in inquiry-based learning, and want to use technology in their classrooms to the benefit of their students.

iv. Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education for Senior Secondary School Students – a programme designed to introduce students between the ages of 13-18 years to the concept of physical computing.

v. Business 101 for Artisans and Creatives – this programme is designed for creative startups in the fashion, crafts, or design sector in order to upscale the approach to business in a fast-evolving world. This training will help creatives better understand how to use technology to improve their businesses.

On Friday, 3rd June, 2022, Business 101 for Artisans and Creatives (Cohort 1) comprising 41 (forty-one) participants graduated and pitched their business ideas and plans before investors after successful completion of three-month intensive training at SAIL.

I supported the best three graduating participants with start-up capital on the demo/graduation day.

Also, The STEM Cohort 1, comprising thirty (30) participants will graduate on July 3, 2022.

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5. Today’s event: The Commissioning and Empowerment Programmes

At this junction, I must publicly acknowledge and appreciate the magnanimity of the Presidency, through the Office of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the projects we are commissioning today, those we had commissioned in the past and the ones that are yet to be commissioned.

I specially thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and Her Excellency, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on SDGs.

The projects attracted to Epe town that are being commissioned today are: a 960-capacity mini-Stadium , which include; Football pitch, Basketball and Volleyball courts, administrative offices, changing rooms and other amenities; and the remodelling of the popular Oluwo Fish market which now comprises 240 open stalls, 82 lock up stalls, 5 open floors, 12 toilets and 4 new offices for Iya Oloja and Baba Oloja, Tourism Board and Local Government Staff Security post.

We are also empowering about 1,250 market women and traders with the sum of N50,000 each as financial grants totalling N62.5 million. Our respective Iya Olojas in the 16 LGs/LCDAs were given the direct responsibilities of selecting 50 members each in their localities totaling 800 market women, while the remaining beneficiaries were nominated by the party structure.

The empowerment also includes the distribution of Hand-planters to about 200 farmers, along with financial grants of N20,000 for our farmers in the agrarian part of the district.

These projects and support for market women and rural farmers are part of the fulfilment of the social contract I solemnly had with the people of the Lagos East Senatorial District while seeking their mandate in 2020.

Conclusion

Mr Governor, dear party leaders, Ladies and gentlemen, the above are modest achievements I have recorded in the last 18 months in the saddle as the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District. I want to assure you that I shall maintain this daunting tempo of leadership and development.

I must also seize this opportunity to congratulate all of us on the resounding victory of our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the APC Presidential Candidate for the 2023 General elections “ Awa Lokan”.

As we journey into the year 2023, I urge us all to not only get fully registered but to also step up the civic advocacy for our people to register with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) which the electoral umpire has graciously extended. We need to also educate those who have earlier registered to check the validity of their PVCs.

This is crucial for all of us and our great party, APC, especially now that our revered leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the presidential flag bearer of the APC.

Like Asiwaju said when he met with HRM (Oba) Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos and his chiefs at the palace, the major task ahead is getting people to register for PVCs and ensure they vote for the APC at the general elections. Therefore, galvanizing and educating voters is the best support we can give for the aspiration to come into fulfilment.

In closing, may I use this opportunity to once again thank all of you for your support and encouragement since December 2020, and to assure you of effective and quality representation with the “DoingGood” mantra for the people of Lagos East Senatorial District in order to “ensure greater good to a larger number of people.”

Being a speech presented by Senator Adetokunbo Abiru at the formal commissioning of projects facilitated through the Presidency (Office of the SDGs); and the award of financial grants to 1,250 market women and distribution of farming equipment, and financial support to rural farmers held on Thursday, June 30, 2022 in Epe.

Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru, FCA

Chairman, Senate Committee on Industries

Federal Republic of Nigeria

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