The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru the Senate Committee Chairman on Industry, has empowered 600 undergraduates of his constituent in the annual Senator Tokunbo Abiru Endowment Bursary Fund, with grants of fifty-thousand naira (N50,000) each to indigent and Indigenous Students from the 16 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas of the Lagos East Senatorial District on Thursday at the School of Agriculture Auditorium, Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Lagos.
Senator Abiru also informed the gathering that in partnership with Fate Foundation, between November 8 and 9th, will train one thousand Micro Small and Medium Business Owners across the entire district at a two-day MSME Clinic.
The former banker turned politician in his keynote address at the event amid strict COVID-19 protocol, averred that “the endowment tagged ‘Doing Good’ I want to reiterate as I espoused on that day that young people are at the core of our legislative agenda. The minimum we can do as leaders and in fidelity with our social contract with the esteemed constituents who majorly fall within this demography is to provide support for their dreams to have the full and maximum expression”.
He asserted that “I am passionate about ensuring ‘greater good for greater number’. This mantra guides my philosophy and strategy in giving a lease of life to our people as much as is within my power. The tactics to drive home this strategy is encapsulated in the resonating and reassuring ‘DOING GOOD’ drive”.
“One of the major agenda on my social contract with the good people of Lagos East Senatorial District is youth development for global readiness”.
He further stated “this, I have sought to achieve with multi-dimensional approaches, which include: collaborations; co-creations; funding; infrastructural interventions, capacity building; etc. It is a part of this that has given birth to the annual ‘’Senator Tokunbo Abiru Bursary endowment fund’’ to support and encourage our star students in their respective tertiary Institutions of learning- the reason we are all here today”.
He noted that the objective of this scheme is to promote higher qualitative education by supporting brilliant students but who have challenges funding their education in furtherance of their academic pursuit.
The Senator said “in this maiden edition, Six Hundred (600) eligible students across the 98 wards in the 16 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas in the Lagos East Senatorial District, were shortlisted and screened by the TACT Bursary Advisory Board which is an independent Committee. The board is chaired by an erudite scholar, Dr. Abiodun Fatai-Abatan, a lecturer at the Lagos State University, LASU and comprises of the following eminent scholars; Dr. Abiodun Okedeyi, Dr. Gabriel Benson, Mr. Peter Oluwo, Dr. Muritala Seriki, Lekan Biliaminu-Oba, Mr. Segun Anifowoshe and Dr. Saheed Ibikunle
I want to appreciate the board for conducting the selection process in a most competitive and merit-based manner.
He promised that the laudable Bursary Scheme has come to stay, assuring beneficiaries, he is ready to stand by them all the way, urging them to focus on their studies.
The Senator also used the occasion to unveiled some of his achievements in his ten months representing the Lagos East Senatorial District in the Red Chamber, “our strides in terms of providing effective representation for our people have been phenomenal in the last 10 months in the saddle. I won’t bore you with details that are unnecessary for now. However, in fulfillment of our promise during the electioneering campaign to provide financial supports for widows, physically challenged persons, unemployed youths and others who were most impacted by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, about 2500 people have been benefitting from this scheme which took off this January and will terminate in December”.
“Everyone is important in our reckoning, including our little children. At the heat of the pandemic in February 2021, One Hundred and Fifty Thousand (150, 000) facemasks were donated to primary school pupils in the Senatorial District through the Lagos State Universal Basic Board, LASUBEB”.
“That is not all. I am glad to inform this honorable gathering that the fully-equipped ultra-modern four-blocks of twenty-four classrooms and sixteen toilets we facilitated to Aga Primary School have been completed and our children are currently enjoying improved learning experience and outcomes”.
“We are also concerned about upskilling our youth to be relevant in the job and entrepreneurship spaces. In partnership with Co-Creation Hub, CcHub, Africa’s leading innovation hub space, we are setting a Community Innovation Centre in our district. This concept will leverage on social capital and technology in accelerating economic prosperity for our teeming youth population. It will be up and running in a few months from now”.
While concluding he posited that “the Copyright Act Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, 2021 which we sponsored is geared towards creating a better rewarding system for the creativity of the youth in tech space and allied creative sectors. It is no news that the currency of tomorrow is innovation. Therefore, it is not enough to create enabling environment for our youths to dream, their ideas and ingenuities must equally be protected and allowed to translate into economic prosperity. The Creators, Innovators and Inventors amongst our youth MUST be effectively safeguarded. This was my motivation for championing the repeal and reenactment of the Copyright Act”.
The Special Guest of Honour, Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu represented by his Special Adviser on Education, Hon Tokunbo Wahab stated the importance of investing in human capital, which is also one of the many achievements of Mr. Babajide Sanwwolu led administration.
Hon Wahab alluded that the world over, countries that invested more in human capital are more developed than other nations.
He said, “for us in Lagos State, we did not just invest in human capital development, we also invested in technology through our various digital skills programmes in order to prepare our young minds for the 21st-century world – the IT revolution”.
“It is also important to note that in the last 2years, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration has awarded over N490m as Bursary to 27,000 students and N499m to 2,801 students across Lagos”.
“On behalf of Mr. Governor, we’d like to appreciate the distinguished Senator for this wonderful initiative of complementing the State’s efforts in motivating the students”.
The Chairman of the event, former Lagos State Governor, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye commended the Senator for taking after his dad late Justice Abiru who was also the senator representing Lagos East 1979 to 1983.
You may recall, in 1979, the late Justice Abiru, Tokunbo’s father contested on the platform of defunct Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN against SOG Gbadamosi, the father of Babatunde Gbadamosi the PDP’s candidate in 2020 Lagos East by-election after the demised of late Senator Bayo Osinowo.
Justice Abiru won the election and represented the senatorial district in the National Assembly between 1979 and 1983.
Other dignitaries at the Doing Good event include the Members of the Governance Adversary Council, Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun, Sen Anthony Adefuye, Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University, Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, Rector Lagos State Polytechnic, Dr. Oluremi Nurudeen Olaleye, House Rep Members among whom are Hon Jimi Benson, Hon Rotimi Agunloye and host of others.
Others include Local Councils Chairmen within the Lagos East Senatorial District, spiritual and royal fathers and CDC Executives and a host of others.