Ambode Tasks Business Leaders on Youth Entrepreneurship

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By Ikenna Ekwerike

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode has urged business leaders in Nigeria to make many entrepreneurs out of the teeming unemployed youths for wealth generation and creation of job opportunities.

Ambode, represented by Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, directed this plea to the Institute of Directors Nigeria, IoD, on Thursday during the 2017 annual directors’ dinner and award night in Lagos.

While pledging that his administration will continue to provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the State, the governor stated that Lagos State was encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst the youths with appropriate mentoring from sectoral leaders.

He noted that business leaders can join in this drive by providing access to funds to the youths as well as mentoring opportunities to develop and sharpen their entrepreneurial skills in various sectors of the economy.

The governor admitted that the burden of economic recession in the year 2017 challenged the collective ingenuity and resilience of Nigerians, adding that it was time to do things differently.

Thus, he said: “We have to look beyond the challenges of today and plan ahead for a more profitable future. The economic and investment landscape has to be in tune with global realities which is driven by innovation and technology. Recent developments in the business and investment environment require that we should take a critical look at the structure of corporate governance in the management of investment and ethical and legal framework.

“This is time to focus attention on building the Nigerian brand with global relevance. There is an urgent need for the leadership of the Institute of Directors as a platform for business owners and managers to look into the factors affecting the seamless transfer of leadership within the indigenous enterprises for posterity and continuous wealth generation and job creation opportunities for our people.”

He equally urged them to support government’s initiative to curb unwholesome practices in the investment and business environment in Nigeria.

“I also wish to use this opportunity to emphasise the need for everyone to embrace the voluntary asset and income declaration scheme initiated by the Federal Government; to encourage individuals and corporate organisations to rectify their tax status with the regulatory authorities,” he concluded.

On his part, a former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, who was presented at the event with the 2016 award for good governance, blamed the economic crisis that bedeviled the country on bad governance.

While calling on business leaders to get involved in active politics, Obi said: “The greatest tragedy is that all of you who have managed to create wealth in Nigeria have left it to be managed by those who created nothing. It is time for you to take back your country.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the president/chairman of governing council, IoD Nigeria, Alhaji Ahmed Rufai Mohammed said the IoD remained committed to promoting corporate good governance and excellence.

“Our objectives and strategic position in the Nigerian business environment and the increasing national and continental visibility have placed enormous challenges on our shoulders. One of these challenges is to rise to the occasion of recognising, honouring and rewarding the uncommon feat of excellence by some Nigerians and Corporate organisations in their various fields of endeavour through due regard and respect for best corporate governance practice,” he stated.

The highpoint of the event was the presentation of award plaques to deserving individuals and corporate organisations. Obi, a former governor of Anambra State received the award for good governance 2016; Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank group got the IoD Anofi Guobadia award for leadership and excellence 2017.

Others were Mosunmola Abudu, founder, Ebony Life TV, who received the IoD entrepreneurial award 2017 and Dr. (Mrs) Omobola Johnson, Ex M.D. Accenture & Former Minister of ICT took away the outstanding women directors award 2016 while Dangote cement Plc won the IoD corporate governance award 2017.