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UNIFEMGA focuses on entrepreneurship for muslim graduates

The need to diversify Nigeria’s economy from crude oil and encourage participation of Muslim professionals in entrepreneurship was the centre of discourse at the 2017 Annual Luncheon/Public Lecture...

UNIFEMGA members with Mrs Olusoga at the event

The need to diversify Nigeria’s economy from crude oil and encourage participation of Muslim professionals in entrepreneurship was the centre of discourse at the 2017 Annual Luncheon/Public Lecture organized recently by the Lagos Chapter of the Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates’ Association (UNIFEMGA).

The 17th Annual Luncheon/Public Lecture, which took place at the Conference Hall of the De Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, offered a veritable learning experience and networking platform to over 200 participants at the event.

Driven by the need to diversify Nigeria’s economy from crude oil, encourage participation of Muslim professionals in entrepreneurship and create alternative sources of income, amongst others, the association chose the theme: “Strategic Imperatives and Opportunities for Investments and Wealth Creation by Nigerian Muslim Professionals in Lagos”, which was chaired by the Chairman of Access Bank Plc, Mrs. Mosun Belo-Olusoga while the Permanent Secretary, Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment (Lagos Global), Lagos State, Alhaji Abdul Ahmed Mustapha, delivered the lecture.

In his welcome address, Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of UNIFEMGA, Alhaji Tirimidh Taiwo Ayanbode, likened the country’s economic quagmire to various human perspectives about a glass half-filled with water and advised members of the association to leverage on the opportunities in the recession period to better their lots.

“Some see half-filled glass while some see half-empty glass. Those that see half-empty see emptiness; hence they are pessimistic. Those that see half-filled see fullness and they are optimistic. The optimist says the glass is half-full; the pessimist say the glass is half-empty. And while they are arguing, the pragmatist takes the glass and drank its content. My brothers and sisters in Islam, we need the spirit of optimist and pragmatist. We should use the great opportunities in the present economic downturn for our betterment.

“Our approach should be of self-dependent and also discourage our reliance on government jobs. We should note that there is no such thing as unemployment in the world. What is referred to as unemployment is called lazy- thinking. Government is not to create jobs, but to create an enabling environment where entrepreneurs can grow, he noted.”

He explained that the essence of the gathering was to gain insight of the programmes of the Lagos State Government on wealth creation and how the association could make the best use of the insights to create wealth for their families.

In her remarks, Olusoga who described herself as “an ambassador of Islam,” said she has a responsibility first as a Muslim, as a woman, and as a light to others. She expressed her concern over the apparent weakening of the Islamic religion, which attributed to the members’ lack of seriousness to it and called on Muslim faithful to be true representatives of their religion.”

The bank chair advised Muslims to refashion their religion to suit the present realities, adding that Islam should be made more attractive. She challenged fellow Muslims to be ambassadors of the religion and be passionate about educating their children.

Olusoga encouraged Muslims to be properly educated in both the contemporary and Islamic education so as to be well-placed in the society, and called on Muslim parents to send their children to very good schools.

Delivering the lecture, the guest speaker Alhaji Abdul Ahmed Mustapha, said Islam encourages Muslims to be resourceful and regard wealth as God’s blessing, and therefore, urged Muslims to lay their hands on anything that can afford them wealth and financial independence using legitimate means.

Highlighting the efforts of the Lagos State Government on wealth creation, Mustapha said government was working hard towards providing a safe and conducive environment for businesses, through security and rapid infrastructural development and renewal.

“Establishment of an Employment Trust Fund (LETF), to provide the minimum of five million capital annually for young entrepreneurs to establish small scale industries across the state. All Lagos residents, including UNIFEMGA members can access this fund”, he noted.

He explained that the establishment of the Ministry of Wealth Creation by the state government had been providing, among other things, various platforms for people to reach the highest level in their creative and productive engagements, pointing that recently, the Ministry had opened an online platform for creative artisans in the informal sector to make it easy for people to access their services.

Some of dignitaries present were the association’s Chairman, Board of Trustees, Alhaji Rafi Abita, LOC Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Bari, National President, Alhaji Abdul Odeyimka, among others.