The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has said that Nigerian youths are exceptionally gifted and can produce all the goods and services required for the country’s growth and development.
The royal father said this at his Ile Oodua palace, Ile-Ife, during the official launch of ‘The Gifted Project,’ an initiative of Engage Diaspora Foundation, an NGO, targeted at empowering gifted youths across the country.
He commended the youth entrepreneurs whom he said had displayed high proficiency, ability and capability of technological inventions and innovations.
“All we need to do is to patronize and motivate these people to be able to take the good works to greater heights.
“Personally, I am a fan of locally-made materials and items and that’s what I want all to imbibe for the growth of our economy.
Our Correspondent reports that the highlight of the event was a guided tour of the displayed products displayed by the entrepreneurs in areas of science, technology, arts and design, agriculture and entrepreneurship by the Ooni, who also bought some of them.
The royal father added that he would continue to support their growth and development as youths as long as their products were not harmful to the society.
Earlier in her address, the President of the foundation, Hajia Aisha Oni, explained that the initiative was aimed at supporting 1,200 local entrepreneurs annually.
Besides, she said it was to promote locally-produced technologies, facilitate Diaspora investment in MSMEs, reduce unemployment through commercialisation of viable projects, link entrepreneurs with local and international funding opportunities and provide COVID-19 relief to Nigerians via job creation.
Aisha stressed that the participants would enjoy three years of factory space at the nearest Technology Incubation Centre (TIC).
“Subsidised accommodation near the TIC, accelerated patenting rights through NOTAP, access to MSMEs’ one-stop shop nationwide and access to local and international funding will also be enjoyed,” she said.
Aisha commended the Ooni and the Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti, Oba Joseph Adebayo, for their support, even as she expressed appreciation to all the investors and partners for their collaboration.
In her goodwill message, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM, commended the Ooni for the initiative, pledging that the gesture would be fully supported by the government.
“We have concluded plans to host the brain behind the programme and all the participants to see how to get the best out of our youth entrepreneurs.
“Our doors are always open and I want to assure you that the future is bright,” Dabiri-Erewa, who took part in the programme virtually, said.
Some of the dignitaries at the event included the Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti, the President of Oodua Chamber of Commerce, Chief Kola Akosile and the Director-General of the Nigeria Board for Technical Incubation (NBTI), who was represented by Mr. Olufemi Olugbenga.
Among the investors and stakeholders, who participated virtually from their respective locations across the world, was the Vice President of the Chase Bank, USA, Mr. Andrew Adeniyi.