Thursday, August 21, 2014 9:26 pm
Lagos State Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Thursday flagged off the State’s expanded Economic Empowerment Programme for residents even as past beneficiaries gave testimony of economic gains from the one-month skill acquisition and vocation programme across the State.
Governor Fashola, who spoke before a large audience of market women, artisans and other stakeholders in the economy of the State said the free programme, was being expanded in response to increasing demands by residents who have realized its benefits.
The Governor explained, “We are not starting an empowerment programme, we are expanding what we are already doing; because you will hear from the women who have already spoken here that they were once housewives who stayed at home and waited for Daddy to go and come and when things are tough for Daddy, they were unable to do much to support”.
“But from what you have heard from them, I know one who has practiced four different vocations and she has now set up shops so she is able to support when things are tough and she will be able to add to it when things are better. So instead of just sitting down at home in a globally challenging economy, we have many more people, many more women, many more young people who are able to say too that “I am going to work”, he said.
Some beneficiaries of the programme gave their testimony.
Mrs. Titilayo Philips, a resident of Alimosho and an indigene of Delta State, praised the Government for giving her the opportunity to learn the skill with which she can now support her family and contribute to the education of her children.
Mrs. Uche Ogugua, another beneficiary from Anambra State but resident in Ejigbo, said she learnt of the programme from a friend adding that before she undertook the programme, she was a full time house wife but has now been empowered with a skill with which she has become an employer of labour.
Also speaking, another beneficiary, Mrs. Ojei Uche, a resident of Ejigbo, said the programme provided her with the skill to tie “Gele” (Headgear) and also to learn Cosmetology adding that the one-month programme was absolutely free. She thanked the Governor for the initiative which, according to her, has made no distinction as regards state of origin as she is from Anambra State.
Governor Fashola also gave testimony of a former full time house wife who is today a proud owner of four shops with employees adding, “It is something that gives human beings a lot of dignity to say that “I am working”. Most of this work sometimes they do in their homes and this is the most important thing about this programme”.
The Governor praised the fashion trend that has evolved among Nigerian women from skills of tie and dye, bead-making and designing of fabrics, adding that the products which, according to him, are making the Nigerian women truly look beautiful, is already representing the face of Nigerian and African fashion across the world.
“If you look at the Deputy Governor, all of what she is wearing is part of the products of this training that has already been going on. It is the skills that you have learnt, tie and dye, stitching beads and designing this fabric. So sitting down at home, sitting down in your compound, once you have a skill you can earn a lot of money and you can support your family”, he said.
Commenting on the reason for expanding the programme, Governor Fashola said “We are expanding this initiative because the more we do, the more we are asked to do. And this time, we have said that we are providing this opportunity now for 10,000 more people”.
“We are only able to do this because many of you who are already working give back something to society by paying your taxes. And that is the only way we can build a society. Whether you like it or not, this country cannot continue to depend on oil. Oil is a diminishing asset, one day it will finish”, he said.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Deputy Governor, Hon. (Mrs.) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire, said the State’s Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB) and the Skill Acquisition Centres have helped to generate a pool of artisans that can work in the Real Estate Sector and the retraining of artians with advanced technology and techniques forms part of the programme to bring about effectiveness, efficiency and self-reliance.