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Succour for 1,250 market women, farmers as Abiru gives N62.5m as empowerment grants

By Olawunmi Ojo
03 July 2022   |   3:07 am
When Tokunbo Abiru, the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, sought and got the mandate to represent his people at the National Assembly, it was on the strength of the assurance...

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (second left), Deputy Governor, Kadri Obafemi Hamzat (right), the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Tokunbo Abiru (second right) and the Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire during the commissioning of the remodeled Oluwo Fish market in Epe, Lagos.

When Tokunbo Abiru, the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, sought and got the mandate to represent his people at the National Assembly, it was on the strength of the assurance of quality representation he gave to them. Some 18 months afterwards, Lagos residents and indigenes in the senatorial district are without regrets. This is simply because since mounting the saddle, Abiru has been “doing good” across board.

Last Thursday, it was the turn of Epe people to get some dividends of their trust in good representation as they turned out in large numbers, defying torrential rains, to welcome Senator Abiru, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and other top government functionaries to the commissioning of some projects facilitated by Abiru.

Governor Sanwo-Olu inaugurated a 960-capacity mini-Stadium, which had a football pitch, basketball and volleyball courts, administrative offices, changing rooms and other amenities. He also commissioned the remodeled popular Oluwo Fish market, which now comprises 240 open stalls, 82 lock-up stalls, five open floors, 12 toilets and four new offices for Iya Oloja and Baba Oloja, the tourism board and local council staff security post. The projects were sponsored by the Presidency through the office of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Abiru also presented grants worth N62.5m to 1,250 selected market women and traders across the senatorial district and supported about 200 rural farmers with hand planters and financial grants.  

Speaking at the event, Abiru said: “We are empowering about 1,250 market women and traders with the sum of N50, 000 each as financial grants totaling N62.5 million. Our respective Iya Olojas in the 16 LGs/LCDAs were given the direct responsibilities of selecting 50 members each in their localities totaling 800 market women, while the remaining beneficiaries were nominated by the party structure. The empowerment also includes the distribution of hand-planters to about 200 farmers, along with financial grants of N20, 000 for our farmers in the agrarian part of the district.

 
“These projects and support for market women and rural farmers are part of the fulfillment of the social contract I solemnly had with the people of the Lagos East Senatorial District while seeking their mandate in 2020.” 

The senator said the many initiatives and projects he had introduced since taking office had been buoyed by his determination and passion to improve the lots of Lagos East Senatorial district, and elevate the socio-economic conditions of the people, and more importantly, to compliment the efforts of the state government as led by Governor Sanwo-Olu in improving lives. 

“After my inauguration as Senator, I commissioned an extensive NEEDS assessment to ascertain the peculiar and most pressing needs of our people across the 98 wards in the 16 local councils and local council development areas in Lagos East Senatorial District. The feedback generated from our people has been the compass in navigating where and what to facilitate in respective communities in the order of priority and expediency. So, in the last 18 months that I have held the people’s mandate, I have prioritised my focus and responsibilities on three pillars: legislative role, empowerment, and endowment,” he said.

Abiru disclosed that he has sponsored 13 private member bills and co-sponsored three others, with all the bills having scaled first reading. He has also specifically moved motion on the urgent need for the rehabilitation of the Ikorodu-Sagamu and Ikorodu-Itoikin-Epe roads to bridge infrastructure gap and enhance economic growth in the district.

He said: “The efforts I made through legislative interventions led to the virement of the funding of the road to Sukuk Financing Scheme. I am glad to inform you that the efforts have yielded desired results. From Sabo to First-gate, Odogunyan, Ita-Oluwo, Ogijo, Gbaga, Sotubo to Mosimi, almost all critical sections of the road have been reconstructed. This has brought a great relief to commuters, motorists and businesses along the Ikorodu-Sagamu corridor. 

“Equally, I have made efforts for the improvement of Ikorodu-Itoikin-Epe road, which connects our town with the rest of Lagos. The road, which was constructed in 1975 by the General Yakubu Gowon regime, is indeed due for major rehabilitation. I wish to assure that our efforts are receiving necessary attention by the Federal Government for the rehabilitation of the road.”

Abiru listed other forms of intervention brought to the people since assuming office to include multifaceted empowerment, facilitation and endowment initiatives, which has benefited hundreds of thousands of residents in form of skills acquisition, training, financial assistance, free health and education outreaches, among others.

For instance, in the area of health, in response to the yearnings for health facilities by constituents as reflected in the NEEDS assessment, Abiru facilitated a 40-bed Health facility and Dental Centre at the Ikorodu campus of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), now known as the Lagos State University of Science and Technology. He facilitated another 30-Bed health facility at Mascara Health Centre, Agboyi Ketu LCDA. For the people of Isiu and adjourning communities in Ikorodu North LCDA, he also facilitated a 40-bed health centre.

While commending his constituents for their support and encouragement since mounting the saddle, he assured them of effective and quality representation with the “DoingGood” mantra in order to “ensure greater good to a larger number of people.” 
 
In his remarks, Governor Sanwo-Olu praised Senator Abiru for dutifully delivering the dividends of democracy in several areas and on multiple fronts, not just in the primary mandate of law-making, but also in terms of life-changing empowerment and endowment.

“Today, we are here to commission a number of infrastructure projects by him, some of which are facilitated through the Office of the Special Assistant to President Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), occupied by an esteemed daughter of Lagos, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.”

Princess Orelope-Adefulire applauded Senator Abiru for making women empowerment a cardinal focus of his activities, noting that such action was crucial for social integration and inclusiveness. 

She said the Office of the SDGs in the presidency had facilitated rehabilitation of more than 10 schools and four healthcare projects in the Lagos East Senatorial district.

A novelty football match was played on the pitch of the newly built stadium between Tokunbo Abiru Football Club and Epe Alaro United. The match ended in a penalty shoot-out, with former emerging victorious. 

Dignitaries who graced the well attended commissioning/empowerment programme included Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, former Deputy Governor, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, GAC member, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun; Alh. Bode Oyedele, Alh. Akanni Seriki Bamu, Lagos APC Chairman, Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi, serving commissioners federal and state legislators, among others.