In an attempt to improve the business environment for positive impact on Ikorodu, stakeholders in the community, on Friday, March 4, 2022, parleyed with corporate executives and other major players in the commerce, industry and business sectors in lkorodu.
The initiative, which was tagged, ‘Business Community Breakfast with Ayangbure’, was held at the Banquet hall of the Ayangbure palace, Ikorodu, and was initiated and organized by the Ikorodu – Oga Development Association (IKODASS).
The novel initiative, which recorded impressive attendance, was chaired by the Senator representing the Lagos East Senatorial District and Chairman, Senate Committee on Industries, Sen. Tokunbo Abiru, FCA.
Mr Rotimi Erogbogbo, Chairman, IKODASS, setting the tone for the parley, said that corporate bodies outside Ikorodu are approaching the socio – cultural and developmental organization for partnership because they are seeing what the association is doing, whereas, there is no such response from corporate organisations in Ikorodu.
He said that the parley was organized to interface with the business community, share ideas and partner on development.
“Mr. Chairman Sir, Corporate organisations outside Ikorodu are beginning to approach IKODASS for strategic partnerships in some of the things that we are doing because they see and understand the potentials.
“We are glad for this dimension to our evolution as an economy. It is a testimony that we are doing things right. However, because we are firmly committed to the development of our land, we believe that organisations with established presence in Ikorodu should be the first partakers of these benefits.
“This is why we are here. Indeed, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this is your meeting because your continued growth is the reason IKODASS exists”, Erogbogbo said.
He charged business executives to take advantage of the presence of Senator Abiru, who chaired the Senate Committee on Industries, to state their challenges.
“Let us take advantage of this opportunity to put on the table challenges we face in doing business here because I can assure you that the Chairman of this occasion, Distinguished Senator Tokunbo Abiru, Chairman Senate Committee on Industry, and Kabiyesi will do all within their spheres to bring succour your way.
“Feel free to forge new relationships and broker fresh deals before leaving this morning. Explore inter-industry relations that can be mutually beneficial to our economy; for example, how can our massive agriculture settlements benefit from the waste products of our manufacturing sector?”, Erogbogbo charged.
He stated that the initiative is to ensure that the Ikorodu community can work together with players in the commercial sector and together bring about the expansion of their businesses and also create opportunities for the community.
He said that Ikorodu economy is bigger than that of many other states and that if well positioned, it is capable of addressing unemployment and other challenges.
“The rationale for this breakfast meeting is simple. Before now, we have tended to underrate ourselves and the great things that have happened and continued to happen in Ikorodu. It will interest you to note that the economy of Ikorodu alone is larger than the economy of Ekiti and Osun States put together”, he said to the royal father, eminent personalities and stakeholders in the hall.
“That we are not a state does not mean we are not what we are. That we are not a state does not mean our economy is not what it is.
“Kabiyesi has graciously accepted to host this meeting for us to know ourselves; congratulate ourselves for what we have achieved as an economy; know the challenges we face and seek ways to continually grow our businesses and the economy of our Division.
“This is very important to us because the growth and expansion of your businesses should translate to increased employment for more of our teeming youths, given the high incidence of unemployment in the country today”.
While thanking business owners for investing in Ikorodu, Erogbogbo said that if the economic opportunities are well harnessed, it could address insecurity and other challenges.
“A situation where well educated able bodied young people cannot find gainful employment after school is not only worrisome; it is also a potential security conundrum that must be nipped in the bud, lest our division travels the route of some other regions.
“We must learn the lessons from these regions and avoid the consequences they experienced.
“Indeed, on behalf of Kabiyesi, we thank you all for choosing Ikorodu as the location for business concerns. Your success and growth are the desire of IKODASS because you cannot be here contributing so much to the development of this economy while outsiders reap the benefits of it ahead of you”, Erogbogbo said
He charged stakeholders in the Ikorodu business community to tap into platforms created by IKODASS to promote and propagate their brands.
“IKODASS has created various platforms of expression that will afford your organisation massive mileage per naira if you come on board with us.
He listed programmes and projects which IKODASS has. These include: play writing competition under Ikorodu Literary Initiative; our tourism inspired photography competition, Ikorodu Through Your Lens; Indigenous Cooking Competition for secondary schools not to mention Oga Day Celebrations; Royal Banquet; our Chess and Table Tennis Championships and several others.
The Chairman of the occasion, Sen. Tokunbo Abiru, who commended IKODASS for the initiative said that the state and federal governments are putting in place laws and infrastructure to improve ways of doing business, adding that more are still needed to be done.
“I know for a fact that government, both at the State and Federal levels, are putting strong regulatory frameworks and infrastructure in place to continuously improve on the ease of doing business, particularly pre and post pandemic: roads, credit forbearances by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), etc”, Abiru said.
“Kabiyesi, Ladies and Gentlemen, since 2019, Nigeria has been gaining in the world’s ranking of Ease of Doing business ostensibly by the business-friendly policy of the current regime and infrastructure provided by the government. However, it is still a far-cry. I urge all stakeholders to support the government in deepening this drive”.
While stating his legislative intervention, Abiru also revealed what he has been able and still planning to do as a representative to create sustainable employment opportunities.
“As your legislator, the concern around infrastructure improvement for ease of doing business, informed my very first motion in the Senate, which was the need to fast-track the completion of Ikorodu-Shagamu Road and Ikorodu- Itoikin Road”, he said.
“Other areas of my interventions, which are put in place through my Foundation, Tokunbo Abiru Constituency Team (TACT) Foundation are: Planned N300 Million low interest Revolving Loan of 6% per annum to MSMEs; Senator Abiru Innovation Lab (SAIL) projects, and yearly bursary award.
“Now, on generating employment opportunities for our teeming youths. Let’s face it, the times have changed significantly. The currency of our age is digital technology. That is what is shaping the world. So, there must be an intentional shift by positioning our youths for enormous job opportunities that the tech ecosystem promises”, Sen. Abiru said.
“Growing the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can be greatly enhanced by technology. We have seen how Tech start-ups like Flutterwaves and Paystack are booming amidst global economic headwinds”.
He also added that he has established an innovation hub to engage youths in digital skills.
“On this score, I am putting my money where my mouth is. I recently established an Innovation Hub in the Lagos East district, known as the Senator Abiru Innovation Lab (SAIL), in partnership with a renowned technology and Social Enterprise company, The Co-creation Hub (Cc-HUB), to train youths in the senatorial district on relevant digital and innovation skills, and build the best entrepreneurs that can compete in the ever-dynamic global economy”, he said.
Hon (Dr) Mrs Lola Akande, Commissioner for Commissioner, Industry and Cooperatives, in her remarks which was delivered by her representative, charged Ikorodu as a division to accommodate a regulatory bodies like NAFDAC, SON among other in Ikorodu to provide ease of doing business for the Organised Business Sector (OPS).
She said that SMEs can get their registration and product certification done easily if NAFDAC, SON and other regulating bodies have offices in Ikorodu.
The Commissioner, who said that the OPS are driving government policies, also added that the government will not rest on its oars in improving the business environment in the state and Ikorodu Division in particular.
“Let me assure that we shall not rest on our oars until business prosperity is guaranteed. This is because the Lagos State Government is not oblivious of the fact that to achieve our dream of becoming Africa’s model megacity by 2025, we must continue to improve our business climate so as to attract more private sector investments into the State, create jobs, increase productivity and increase the opportunity of ease of doing business in the area of construction permits registration, getting credit, tax payment mechanism, company registration in the State”, the Commissioner said.
His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabir Shotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, commended IKODASS for the laudable initiative, adding that the initiative must be periodic.
“I want to thank you (the IKODASS Chairman) for this initiative. More grace to your elbows. What you are doing today speaks volume. We want to have this initiative periodically. We should call all these people (business executives) through your initiative and interact with them regularly “.
The royal father also informed the audience about the efforts that Ikorodu has been making to provide security for the safety of lives and properties through the newly established security architecture, Ikorodu Division Peace Initiative Limited/GTE (IDPIL/GTE), which he spearheaded its establishment.
Oba Shotobi said that the Ikorodu Division Peace initiative Limited/GTE, which is being financed by the Odofin of Ikorodu and Chairman of MultiChoice Nigeria, High Chief Adewunmi Ogunsanya, SAN, will be launched this week.
Oba Shotobi also commended Chief Ogunsanya for procuring 20 vehicles and 50 motorcycles for the operation of the personnel of the new security outfit.
He also said that the major financier of the IDPIL/GTE, has also put in place insurance scheme and salary structure for the security personnel.
Oba Shotobi thanked the business owners for investing in Ikorodu and for honouring the invitation for the meeting while also charging them to give employment opportunities to Ikorodu indigenes.
At the parley, Business executives and representatives of others in attendance called for improvement of road networks, Council authorities to be more responsible and responsive to the business environment while they charged the Federal Government to adjust the ongoing construction of the Ikorodu – Shagamu road in consideration of the heavy duty trucks that are bringing in and removing goods and other materials at the Odogunyan Industrial Estate as well as readjust the section of the road that leads into the industrial estate.
They also called for improved lkorodu business directory, power supply and security among others.
Other dignitaries at the breakfast business meeting were Otunba Steve Anifowoshe, the Asiwaju of Ikorodu Kingdom, High Chief Adewunmi Ogunsanya, SAN, the Odofin of Ikorodu Kingdom and Chairman, Multi – Choice Nigeria and Chairman, Ikorodu Division Peace Initiative Limited/GTE (sitting right).Professor (Chief) Kunle Ade Wahaab OFR, OON, Asiwaju of Ipakodo, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, Chairman, Ikorodu Division Resource Development Group and former Minister of Works, Otunba (Sir) Ayodele Elesho, the Agba Akin of Ikorodu and former Commissioner for Information, Alhaji (Bashorun) Babatunde Rotinwa, former Chairman, Lagos State Local Government Commission, Dr (Otunba) Saheed Oladapo Ibikunle, Member, LSUBEB, DR. Taiwo Hassan, Medical Director/Chief Executive Officer, Chief Monzor Olowosago, Publisher, Oriwu Sun Community Newspaper, Mr Fola Tinubu, Chairman, Primero Transport Company and Barr. Saheed O.K. Shillings among others.