* 251 young entrepreneurs receive N40m grant
Peter Uzoho and Sunday Ehigiator
Eminent political and business leaders, including the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi; Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi; Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Zinox Technologies, Mr. Leo Stan Eke, among others, participated in the ninth edition of Unusual Praise, an annual special thanksgiving ceremony of the Catholic Arch-Diocese of Lagos.
This is coming as young entrepreneurs numbering 251 were at the event given seed funds ranging from N1 million; N500, 000; N250, 000; N150, 000, to N100, 000, and totalling N40 million, to help them grow their businesses, improve their economic status and fend for themselves and their families.
The programme tagged: ‘’Declare the Glory of the Lord among the Nations,’’ as stated in 1 Chronicles 16:24, was held at the weekend at the Periwinkle Estate, Lekki, Victoria Island, Lagos, and had famous gospel singers performing and thrilling participants with their soulful songs of praise.
Some of the gospel artistes who performed at the non-denominational event were Nathaniel Bassey, Jude Nnam, Panam Perci Paul, Big Bolaji, Chinyere Udoma, Osinachi Nwachukwu, BJ Sax, Chioma Jesus, amongst others.
The all-night programme, which is organised every year by the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki, Lagos, was aimed at gathering people together to thank God in a special way through praise worship led by selected gospel singers.
Speaking to THISDAY at the event, Obi described the event as exceptional, praying that his fellow political leaders would become more accountable to the people.
He said: “I have always been attending Unusual Praise from its inception. This event has continued to improve every year by the grace of God. I really commend all the organisers and supporters alike for sustaining this event and improving it this far.
“This year is exceptional because we now have successful entrepreneurs supporting other people to lift their lives and make it better.
“And of cause, we would continue to pray that God should touch the leaders in Nigeria. Let him touch their hearts to use public funds for the purpose they are supposed to use it for.’’
The Parish Priest, Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Monsignor Paschal Nwaezeapu, who gave more insight into the programme, said it was also aimed at evangelising, aside praising God.
According to him, “any church that does not evangelise is not a living church, and is not fulfilling what God has instructed us to do. Yes, we are here to praise God, but the ultimate aim is to win souls for God, and we are optimistic that God would manifest himself here tonight.”
Also, the Chairman of Unusual Entrepreneurs Committee and President of Transcorp Hotel, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, explained that the church’s decision to empower the young entrepreneurs was a way of giving back to the society.
Ozigbo added: “The essence is to be able to empower men and women of the church economically as they are also filled spiritually. We believe that with this combination, they would have more reason to believe and trust in God.
“But beyond that, they are able to fend for themselves, and those around them. We want them to run successful businesses, hence we matched them with mentors; people who have been so well established in what they do. So basically, they handhold them, watch them all through the journey, and we have seen a lot of testimonies already’’.