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Pastor Eno’s N500,000 grant to each of 800 Ibom Leadership Entrepreneurial Development Trainees, a promise kept

.You must make up your minds to succeed, Gov tasks beneficiaries

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Akaiso Akaiso, Uyo

When the portrait of Governor Umo Eno appeared on billboards at strategic locations in Uyo, the fastest growing state capital city in Nigeria, after being sworn into office, with the two hands of his sleeves shirt folded, announcing his readiness to work the talk that will impact positively on the people of Akwa Ibom State irrespective of their status, many naysayers dismissed it as the usual political gimmick.

Typical of the naysayers of the society, they mocked and called him so many derogatory names.

But thanks to our ebullient Governor who never allowed their negative reactions to discourage him, instead he turned them into a source of encouragement to accomplish his drive to serve his people and change their narratives.

Some weeks after the trending billboard poster, Governor Umo Eno convened the Akwa Ibom Dialogue where he gathered policy experts to brainstorm on the way forward and official launch of the A. R. I. S. E. agenda blueprint.

Highlighting the essence of the Dialogue, Pastor Eno explained that the blueprint was not a political manifesto, but a well-articulated governance guideline to direct his administration, saying that the purpose of the dialogue was to expose the blueprint for critical analysis.

Armed with the all-encompassing A. R. I. S. E. agenda template which the clergy turned politician promised to implement to the letter, Pastor Eno, who under one year has left nobody in doubt that he meant well with all seriousness, the underlying message portrayed by those billboards has performed beyond expectations to the satisfaction of everybody so far.

In furtherance of the industrial advancement and wealth creation aspiration of the ARISE Agenda, Pastor Eno flagged off the training on the Entrepreneurship programme at the e-library complex for 800 trainees with a promise of a grant of N500,000 to each of them on their passing out.

Presenting the N500,000 cheques at the Government House Banquet Hall, Uyo, the Governor congratulated the beneficiaries for successfully going through the programme and described them as ambassadors of the EAP.

According to him, “I’d like to say here that whether this programme will continue or not depends on you because you are the ambassadors of this programme. You are not all new in business or entrepreneurship. I am not concerned about the little seed that’ll be put in your hands, but the training you’ve received.”

The Governor who took time to advise the beneficiaries on some business tips said, “Everything you need to succeed is in your hands. For now, don’t be politicians, just be entrepreneurs. This is an opportunity for you to have a primary address. If you have a primary address, politics is secondary.

“People will respect you for what you can do. This little money is a seed and if you plant it well, it will bring a mighty harvest. I remember that, in this state, I opened my hotel with just five rooms, and a few years later, we had grown exponentially.

“The first thing is that you must make up your minds to succeed and in that determination, there will be a place of sacrifice and self-denial. People will tell you all manner of things, don’t mind them. Your time will soon arrive.

“Above all, this community has been created; stay around the community and don’t try to impress people. As a government, we’ll continue to support you. This is just the beginning,” he added.

The Governor who was moved by compassion while presenting a cheque to a physically challenged beneficiary, Mr. Jones Okon Akpan of Jones Manufacturing, directed that he be given a good means of mobility as well as an additional N1 million support, making his take-home cash N1.5 million.

In his remarks, the team lead of Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development, Pastor Imoabasi Jacob, appreciated the Governor for the vision, commitment and support for the Akwa Ibom business community and assured that given the quality training to the beneficiaries, the grants will yield the desired dividends.

Presenting a keynote address, the Head of Alumni Directorate and Support Services, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan-Atlantic University (EDC) Lagos, Ms Nnena Ugwu advised the beneficiaries to cultivate a culture of discipline, commitment and focus to enable them to succeed in their different business ventures.

Also speaking, the Director General of the Umo Eno/Akon Eyakenyi campaign, Chief Assam Assam SAN, appreciated the Governor for keeping to his campaign promises and advised the beneficiaries to see the seed money as a springboard that will put them on the global map of entrepreneurship.

In their separate messages of appreciation, the General Manager of Ibom-LED, Mrs. Ekaette Umoh, and the Alumni President for Batch 1, Daniel Esetang, appreciated the Governor for the vision which according to them, has translated to a lifetime empowerment for 800 Akwa Ibomites.

They assured that the grant would be judiciously used for the expansion of their businesses and the greater good of the State.

A high point of the event was the presentation of cheques to beneficiaries from the different programmes including; the Ibom-LED Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme (EAP), Ibom-LED Business Leadership and Entrepreneurship Programme (BLEP), Ibom-LED Business Mastery Programme (BMP), and Ibom-LED Start-Up Accelerator and Incubation Programme (SAIP).

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