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Over 2,822 entrepreneurs to benefit from N1bn Ogun operational grant

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Over 2,822 entrepreneurs are set to benefit from the second phase of the N1 billion Operational Grant for Micro and Small scale Enterprises in Ogun state.

The grant is being awarded under its OG-CARES scheme.

The first disbursement was done in 2023, during which 1,000 entrepreneurs in micro enterprises received N100,000 each, while those in the small scale categories received N350,000 each.

About 2,822 entrepreneurs are expected to benefit from the second phase.

Speaking at the event, which was held at the Obas’ Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Governor Dapo Abiodun noted that his administration’s blueprint specifies a social contract with the people of the Gateway State as encapsulated in the “Building Our Future Together” Agenda, stressing that the 2nd phase marks another milestone in his government’s commitment to supporting growth and development of the state’s Medium, Small and Micro scale Enterprises.

Governor Abiodun, who was represented by his Deputy, Engr. (Mrs) Noimot Salako-Oyedele added that these enterprises played a crucial role in promoting entrepreneurship, fostering innovation, and driving inclusive economic growth.

He added that the operational grant disbursement was aimed at supporting businesses within the state, particularly in the face of the harsh economic realities around the world.

He disclosed that beneficiaries were selected through the same strategic, all inclusive and methodical approach, which his administration is known for by carefully identifying genuine entrepreneurs nominated by key stakeholders in the society, such as chairmen of local governments, market men and women associations, Community Development Councils, organised private sector, National Youth Council, Association of People Living with Disabilities amongst others.

While appreciating President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for initiating the scheme, the Prince Abiodun reassured that the disbursement will be extended beyond June 2024 when it was initially supposed to end, urging beneficiaries to use the grants wisely and responsibly.

The Governor added that the grant was given with the expectation of driving a positive change as well as contributing to the growth and development of our economy.

Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Oludaisi Elemide noted that to whom much is given, much is expected, and implored beneficiaries not to see the grant as a national cake but to use it for the purpose it was meant for.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman steering committee for OGCARES who is also Commissioner for Finance, Mr Dapo Okubadejo, said the disbursement, which started in 2022 was to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic by providing support for small and medium scale business owners in the state, noting that 2,822 small and micro enterprises would benefit from the second phase.

While imploring them to make judicious use of the money, he said that the grant would also serve as social protection for the poor and vulnerable in the society and support agricultural businesses.

Also speaking, the ALGON Chairman in the state, who is also the Chairman Ijebu Ode Local Government, Hon. Emilola Gazal appreciated the state government for its commitment and support towards developing the grassroots.

He said the grant was timely, especially now that many people are going through a lot of hardship in the country while advising beneficiaries to make good use of the money.

In their separate testimonies, Chairman Association of all Business Owners of Nigeria, Dr Femi Egbesola and the Iyaloja General of Ogun State, Alhaja Yemisi Abass, represented by the Iyaloja of Obafemi Owode, Chief (Mrs) Ganiyat Oyelakin, commended Prince Abiodun for his developmental strides in the state, especially in empowering small and medium scale business owners, youths, farmers and market men and women.

He said that the OGCARES scheme has turned many beneficiaries to employers of labour.

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Eidel-Kabir: FG declares Monday and Tuesday public holidays

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The Federal Government has declared Monday 17 and Tuesday 18, as public holidays to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

This is contained in a statement by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Aishetu Ndayako, on Friday in Abuja.

She stated that the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated all Muslim Ummah both at home and in the Diaspora.

He urged the Muslim Ummah to continue to imbibe the spirit of peace, kindness and sacrifice, as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him).

Tunji-Ojo also urged them to use the period to pray for unity, prosperity and the stability of the country.

The minister assured that the administration of President Bola Tinubu, was committed to safeguarding the lives and property of all Nigerians.

While wishing the Muslim Ummah a happy celebration, the minister advised all Nigerians to take responsibility in the resolve to hand over a prosperous Nigeria to our children.

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Tinubu to receive draft bill proposing regional govt system today

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…Afenifere chieftain unveils proposal for 8-region Nigeria, interim boundaries

…Coalition advocates new constitution in Nigeria’s Governance overhaul blueprint

…Union proposes retaining 36 States as provinces with reduced powers

By Sodiq Adelakun

President Bola Tinubu is set to receive a draft bill today that seeks to reintroduce a regional system of government in Nigeria.

The proposed legislation, titled ‘A Bill for an Act to substitute the annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with New Governance Model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria,’ was authored by Akin Fapohunda, a chieftain of the Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere.

The bill aims to establish a new governance model for Nigeria, which would involve a return to a regional system of government. If passed, the new laws would be cited as “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.”

Akin Fapohunda, the author of the draft bill proposing a return to a regional government system in Nigeria, has announced that the bill will be transmitted to President Bola Tinubu on Friday.

Recall that this comes despite the House of Representatives’ earlier disownment of the bill, with its spokesman, Akin Rotimi, and the Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business, stating that it had not been listed for deliberation in the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.

“I’m submitting my letter (draft bill) today but I will wait for seven days before releasing it to the public,” he said

Also, Akin Fapohunda, representing the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities, has unveiled a proposal to divide the country into eight distinct geo-political regions, complete with interim boundaries.

Speaking to journalists, Fapohunda outlined the envisioned regions, with the southern region encompassing Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, and Cross Rivers States, along with other ethnic communities.

The South Eastern region is slated to include Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States, while the Western region would comprise Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, and Ekiti States, with additional inclusion of Yoruba-speaking populations in neighbouring regions.

The Mid-Western Region would be composed of Edo and Delta States, potentially incorporating the Anioma people, while the Eastern Middle Belt Region would encompass several northern and central states.

The Western Middle Belt Region comprises Southern Kebbi, parts of Kwara and Niger States while the North Eastern Region will be made up of parts of Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Yobe States.

The North Western Region, according to the Afenifere chieftain, comprises Kaduna, parts of Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara States.

Fapohunda said the coalition envisaged a two-tier government, federal and regions, adding that the latter would be at liberty to manage her affairs, “including the creation of sub-entities, based on the stipulations that are agreed upon and embedded in their respective constitutions.”

In its proposed governance stipulations, CIEN stated that “In the quest for re-configuration and downsizing, an option to consider might be to retain the present boundaries of the 36 States, as would have been adjusted, but to creatively downgrade the paraphernalia of political administration as follows:

“To introduce a new regional government framework with executive and legislative functions and bodies with the headship title of Premier.

“In the new dispensation, the present States (for example the six in the Western region) would be converted to provinces. Governance at this level shall be by Provincial Councils that integrate executive and legislative functions, with Chairman and Support Specialist Administrative Officers. The regions shall be at liberty to create provinces, subject to viability and self-sustainability.

“The present Local Government Areas are to be transformed into divisions, with divisional managers and specialist administrative officers; to operate as socio-economic development institutions. The new provinces shall also be at liberty to create divisions, subject to viability and self-sustainability.”

In the same vein, the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities has put forward a proposal for a new constitution, emphasising regional autonomy and decentralisation of federal power.

Among the key novelties outlined in the proposal is the freedom granted to regions to create, merge, or reconfigure their sub-political units without external interference, fostering a tailored governance approach to suit local circumstances.

The coalition envisions a streamlined public administration, with regions aiming to reduce the cost of civil service to a fraction of generated revenue.

Central to the proposed constitutional framework is the establishment of a unicameral federal legislature, wherein members are elected directly by their respective regions to represent their interests in the national capital, Abuja.

Furthermore, the coalition advocates for a leaner federal government, proposing a maximum of nine ministries and ministers, drawing parallels with the streamlined cabinet of the United States.

The return to a parliamentary mode of government, with built-in statutory rotation of regional leadership, is also highlighted as a crucial element in ensuring equitable representation and governance across the country.

“Regions and sub-regional entities are to be reconfigured such as would reduce the cost of public and civil service administration to less than 20 to 30 percent of generated revenue.

“In drafting their Constitutions, the peoples of the respective regional territories will take a cue and also dismantle any arrangement or configuration that will favour the politicians and the political class; with a focus on freeing resources for true development.

“A uni-camera federal legislature comprising members that are elected at the discretion of the regions for which they would be representatives at Abuja.

“Decentralisation of federal power in favour of not more than 10 regions on which there is a general national consensus, rather than the presently unwieldy number of 36 States. These old States are inconsequential indeed in being a viable unit of a truly federal system of government.”

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Lagos GDP grew by 50% in five years under my administration — Sanwo-Olu

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By Sodiq Adelakun

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said the Gross Domestic Product of Lagos, in the last five years under his administration, had risen by almost 50 percent, surpassing the size of the GDPs of over 40 African countries.

The responsible factors, the governor said, could be linked to the unending effort by his administration to improve the Ease of Doing Business and the decision to leverage the technology and entrepreneurial abilities of its population for economic activities.

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos had grown from being a state in deficit in the military era to becoming a hub for investment and technological advancements.

The governor stated this while delivering the closing speech at the ongoing 3rd AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF 2024) in Nassau on the theme: “Global Africa, Global Lagos: The Role of Sub-Nationals in Driving the Global African Agenda.”

“Lagos is an example of a unique African success story, shaped by an interesting mix of advantages and challenges. It is the smallest of Nigeria’s 36 States, yet is responsible for more than a third of Nigeria’s entire GDP.

“Lagos has grown to have a GDP that is greater than the GDPs of all but seven African countries. In the last five years, under my leadership, we have seen an almost 50 per cent increase in our GDP,” Sanwo-Olu was quoted as saying in a statement on Thursday by his spokesman, Gboyega Akosile.

“Lagos presents a significant context on how sub-national governments are vital in writing new stories of development and advancing the economic agenda of the continent. I am proud to say that we in Lagos State have indeed mastered the art and science of Public-Private Partnerships. Having pioneered this private sector-led development in Lagos, we are now exporting that template to other States across the country.

“Our growth stories speak to the importance of African solutions and African capacity for tackling African problems. As we work towards accomplishing our aspirations, it is clear that sub-sovereign entities, such as cities, states, provinces, regions, and municipalities, can be instrumental in translating African countries’ high-level goals into tangible outcomes. It is at this sub-national level that a lot of the most remarkable reforms and transformations are playing out,” He reiterated.

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