On March 8, about 50 small-scale business owners in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa state were elated when the ‘friends of Osibanjo’ launched a one-off cash grant of N100,000 each to support business owners and the poorest in the communities.
The friends of Osibanjo, who share in the ideals and ideology of His Excellency Prof Yemi Osibanjo, have over the years, celebrated the sterling leadership quality of the vice president who has shown progressive leadership style and support for social impact in various spheres across Nigeria.
Undoubtedly, Osibanjo’s ever-cheerful and positive personality have always endeared people to him. His rich political profile as seen him create for himself a magnificent and laudable antecedent which has made him one of the most loved political figures in the country.
This year, in commemoration of the vice president’s 64th birthday, friends of Osibanjo took the spotlight to Nasarawa state, where His Excellency Prof Yemi Osibanjo was in December 2020 conferred with title of ‘Madagun Jihar Nasarawa’ meaning the ‘Leader and Captain’.
The choice of Lafia as the celebration of the vice president’s 64th birthday by the friends of Osibanjo is not far-feteched due to the immense love, overwhelming support and care showered on the vice president and his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, by the people of Lafia.
The event, which held at the palace of the emir, attracted dignitaries including Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, the state Deputy Governor, and several personalities from within and outside the state, who all showered encomiums and also prayed for the vice president to succeed in his endeavours.
The programme, kick-started with prayers for the vice president and his immediate family before the gesture to support various businesses was extended to the beneficiaries to commemorate the 64th birthday of the vice president.
The Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage Mohammad (rtd), who offered special prayers, prayed for the longevity of the vice president in good health, sound mind and prosperity so that Nigeria would continue to tap from his enormous wealth of experience.
“It is my prayers that Almighty Allah grants you many more years of abounding health, prosperity and enduring fulfilment, I wish the vice president very happy birthday celebrations.” the Emir prayed.
The Emir who described the Vice President as a humane, humble and detribalised Nigerian, also prayed generally for the sustenance of unity and peaceful coexistence among the diverse groups in Nigeria.
The Special Guest of Honour, His Excellency Eng. A.A Sule who was ably represented by the Deputy Governor Dr. Emmanuel Akabe welcomed the Friends of Osibanjo and also appreciated their goodwill for celebrating the Vice President’s 64th birthday with the people of Lafia.
After careful selection, the Friends of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo donated N5 million in total to 50 persons, who were mostly women across the local government areas of the state with each beneficiary receiving N100,000; this is in line with Osinbajo’s core ideology in the area of empowerment, aimed at reducing poverty among them and to enhance the socio-economic growth of the people.
Similarly, in alleviating the water challenges faced by four communities in Lafia, the ‘Friends of Osinbajo’ also sank four boreholes in Mararaba Akunza, Kausakuwa, Ahuma and Lafia South respectively as a way of providing potable water to the people of these communities.
Also, sewing machines were donated to a number of beneficiaries. The Secretary of the Tailors Association Safiyanu Abubakar on behalf of the beneficiaries was full of Joy, she thanked the Friends of Osibanjo for their goodwill, support and assured them of their zeal to use the newly acquired machines to propel small scale businesses.
Speaking at the event, Osinbajo, who was ably represented by Malam Gambo Manzo, the Special Assistant to the Vice President on Political Affairs, encouraged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the cash grant to propel their businesses.
According to him, the initiative is aimed at empowering small-scale business owners and the poorest in the communities to become self-reliance and avoid over dependency on white collar jobs.
“We have flaged off bore holes in four communities under the emirate council and also to give out a cash donation of N100,000 to fifty small scale business owners in other to boast their businesses and become self-reliant,” he said.
Hon Abubakar Sarki Dahiru, a member of the House of Representative representing Lafia Obi who represented the Friends of Osibanjo, thanked the people of Lafia for showing up in grand style to celebrate and pray for the Vice President. Also, he noted that the boreholes are a necessity for the supply of pipe borne water in the aforementioned communities.
Hon. Hafeez Kawu, who is currently representing Tarauni Federal Constituency Kano, also showered encomiums on the Vice president.
He said, “He took me as a son irrespective of religious and ethnic difference and has been a great leader, we pray he lives in good health.”
“The communities that benefitted from the borehole gesture really deserves it, because potable water is scarce in those communities, but with this gesture, there will be enough water for them. So it is an intervention that will impact their lives.”
Hadeeza Sabo Jibrin, Leader of Market Women Association and Nasarawa State Coalition of Business and Professional Associations on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked the Friends of Osibanjo for the empowerment programme. “We are excited for this empowerment and this is the first time we are receiving such goodwill from the Friends of Osibanjo and we hope that this will be sustainable.”