Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president, advocated for more manufacturing-related investments on Thursday in order to combat poverty and unemployment and strengthen the economy.
Speaking during the launching of the Luxe Regal Brand of Royal Chairs created by Olatunde Prestige Limited, situated at Akinale along the Lagos-Abeokuta road, Mr. Obasanjo made this call in Abeokuta.
“The importance of the manufacturing sector in developing the economy and empowering the teeming youths cannot be overemphasized.
“When people are gainfully employed and have food on their table, they can then contribute to the development of the nation.
“Only then will crime no longer be attractive to them,” the former president, represented by his wife, Bola Obasanjo, said.
Pastor Babatunde Ebidero, the CEO of Olatunde Prestige Limited, was praised by Mr Obasanjo for his innovation and for defying all difficulties to venture into the production of long-lasting and exquisitely crafted chairs.
He pointed out that the act had boosted the nation’s economy and given thousands of people jobs.
The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, a traditional leader, had earlier praised Ebidero for investing in a project that would assist generate income and keep children off the streets.
Mr. Gbadebo emphasised that manufacturing remained the best course of action to recover the nation’s economy in his capacity as the Olowu of the Owu Kingdom, Oba (Prof) Saka Matemilola.
“We all know that the government cannot do it alone, enough of blaming the government. Like Pastor Ebidero, let us think of what we can do to make a positive difference in society.
“We should all think of what we can do to support the government in creating jobs and thereby reducing poverty and crimes in our society,” he said.
Also speaking, Gboyega Akosile, the Chief Press Secretary to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, hailed Ebidero’s resourcefulness and daring courage in treading where many were quite afraid.
Mr Akosile said that the government should find a way to further encourage people like Ebidero by helping to create jobs in the country.
On his part, Mr Ebidero said: “Previously, I was into importing of chairs but the urge to create jobs for the youths made me embrace manufacturing of chairs in 2015.
“I would always see these youths milling around and constituting security threats,” he said.
Mr Ebidero said that aside from creating jobs and helping to reduce pressure on the demands for forex, the company had also trained over 1,000 youths.
He said that some of the youths were also into the production of chairs across the country, and adding value to the country’s economy.