Aniekan Bassey: Repairing Destinies with RHAB-YESS

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Destinies are not accidental. They are divinely ordained and ordered to happen. In a modern world where things appear more ‘mechanical’ than before, it is difficult to gain attention. Competitions and struggles have taken over the universe and opportunities seem slimmer than before. Although the world is overcrowded with humanity, there is still the need for destiny helpers to offer help for young persons to find their feet.

Leaders around the world have made useful attempts to militate against the modern world of importunity. A world where connection seems more relevant than intelligence, requires concerted effort by privileged persons to take care of very serious situations. As a visionary and down-to-earth leader who is conversant with the struggles in the grassroots, the honourable speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Aniekan Bassey is strategic at his action plan for the masses.

A man who is not detached from the realities of life on the streets, Speaker Aniekan Bassey has instituted various life touching programmes to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses. One of these initiatives is RHAB-YESS. While the first part, RHAB, is a coinage from the full name of Rt Hon. Aniekan Bassey, YESS, is an acronym for Youth Entrepreneurship Support Scheme. As an experienced and outstanding business mogul, the Speaker initiated the scheme to specifically support and create opportunities for young entrepreneurs in Akwa Ibom State.

Beneficiaries of RHAB-YESS posing with some officials at the office of the Speaker, Rt Hon. Aniekan Bassey

Himself a serial entrepreneur with chains of successful businesses, Speaker Aniekan Bassey has offered himself as a destiny helper to many. In doing so, he has presented RHAB-YESS, and indeed others of his entrepreneurial schemes true templates for youth empowerment in the state. Equally, the vice chairman, house of assembly speakers forum in Nigeria, Rt Hon. Aniekan Bassey began RHAB-YESS in 2019.

According to the record book of the activities of RHAB-YESS, the scheme covers provision of capital financing of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), skill empowerment of artisans and educational support to indigent students. Since 2019 till date, the monthly exercise has serviced the needs of 83 Small and Medium Businesses across the 31 Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State. RHAB-YESS has so far trained artisans and given special supports to over 380 people.

With a fair process, beneficiaries are drawn from a pool of interested applicants in a monthly online contest on the RHAB-YESS official Facebook page. Each person makes a five minutes video documentaries of their business. The video is posted on YouTube and the link is added to an online form duly completed before submission. The best three of the videos are selected by members of the public after being uploaded on the RHAB-YESS Facebook page.

A prize giving session of RHAB-YESS at the office of the speaker where all beneficiaries pose with officials of the scheme

As indicated in the record books, top three contestants with highest votes (comments) are rewarded with 500,000 Naira, 250,000 Naira, 150,000 Naira respectively, while a consolation prize of 100,000 Naira is also awarded to the first runner-up. Not below N24.7million has so far be expended on empowering entrepreneurs as at March 2022, with over 10 youths fully trained on the Oil and Gas sector.

Other areas of skills facilitated with RHAB-YESS are the training of 15 youths in Automobile Repairs/Maintenance and Oven-Baked Spraying and 3 in Woodwork, Metal Fabrication and Spraying at Chinese firm, Jiu Hua Nigeria Company Limited, including giving business grants to rural women. Four medical outreaches of RHAB-YESS range from eye health awareness to general surgery.

RHAB-YESS, as painstakingly designed through the ingenuity of the Hon. Speaker does not stop at supporting businesses. The scheme monitors how the money is utilized. Led by a team of inspectors, Darlington Udobong and Godswill Bassey, the scheme always conduct routine inspection of the businesses and offer feedback to the RHAB-YESS management board.

A few beneficiaries of the initiative reached in the course of this article were appreciative of the benevolence of Rt Hon. Aniekan Bassey. They include Utibe Akwa, Chief Executive Officer of UtyTrends Enterprises and Bright Malachy, a cobbler who once participated and won a prize at the scheme. Also, a 500,000 Naira prize winner, Udeme Essien, who owns a boutique in Uyo, described the gesture as a dream come true. They all believe this gesture deserves emulation by privileged individuals who have what it takes to make life easy for the populace.

Of course, a cursory look at the strides so far recorded with RHAB-YESS, shows that this is one scheme that has made life easier for many Akwa Ibom citizens. As captured in this piece, hundreds of young persons have fortunately been relieved of the hardness of life through YHAB-YESS. There’s no hesitation that people in the mould of Rt Hon. Aniekan Bassey are examples of thoughtful leaders who spend their time thinking of what can be done to make life comfortable.

In a state where recruitments are rarely done in the civil service, life seems over for many who are jobless, even after becoming graduates for years. Such persons may have had their destinies brashly mutilated. But with the initiative such as RHAB-YESS and the strides boldly recorded, it is obvious that the scheme has restored hope for the people. In inference, it is safe to assert that with RHAB-YESS, Rt Hon. Aniekan Bassey is repairing many destinies for the betterment of humanity.

Joseph Atainyang is a journalist and public affairs commentator.

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