Abuja, the Federal Capital City, between Friday June 7th to Sunday June 9th 2019, played host to the 2019 biennial ‘Retreat of the Weppa & Uwanno Pyramid Club of Nigeria, comprising young, dynamic and forward looking middle age and the young at heart elderly men, with the theme ‘Harnessing the Economics of Weppa & Uwanno’
For the three days the series of activities earmarked for the retreat unfolded at the Zeus Paradise Hotel, which commenced with the welcome address by National President of Weppa Uwanno Pyramid Club, Mr. Sunny Kanabe, there were soul searching, economic, medical/health and thought provoking lectures and discussions among members of the various chapters of the club which made the retreat not only richly rewarding, but helped in further cementing age long brotherhood and cultural dynamics needed to move villages that make up Weppa & Uwanno to greater heights.
Roll call of participants at the hugely successful retreat comprised among others, the elders of the club vis a vis Mr. Tony Itseuma, the foundation President of the club, Senior High Chief (Dr) Kennedy Izuagbe, Anselm Alokha, Michael Otu and a member making the club proud in his chosen profession, Brigadier General Thomas Unokhua of the Nigerian Army.
Of course there are the seasoned special guests and young but upcoming talents who made attendance at the retreat, a worthwhile experience having endeavoured to and let out ideas and pointed out the directions to go in the bid to take Weppa and Uwanno clans as well as its sons and daughters to the economic heights achievable.
Amongst these personae are Mr. Izenuwa Paul Izenuwa, a Deputy Director with the Central Bank of Nigeria who spoke on the lead topic of the retreat, ‘Harnessing the Economic Potential of Weppa & Uwanno Clans, in Etsako East LGA of Edo State; Victor Ilugbekha Dakpokpo, a financial analyst who did justice to the topic ’10 #Business Ideas for Sustainable Wealth Creation & ‘Gearing the Pyramid club for transformational impact to Weppa & Wanno clan’ by Mr Godwin Itamah
There was also the paper on ‘Weppa & Uwanno Pyramid Club Amid Changing Dynamics: Opportunities and Challenges delivered by Dr. Augustine Aipoh and the paper on ‘Lifestyle Adjustment; the Key to Fitness delivered by Dr. Alex Audu on behalf of Dr. MOD Abonyi.
At this juncture, it is apt to state that the various chapters of the club beginning with the Abuja/North Chapter, the host Chapter, the South-South/Port Harcourt Chapter, the Lagos Chapter and the Benin chapter not only gave very good performances in the discussion segments that followed each presentation, their display of intent towards the objectives of the retreat, to move Weppa & Uwanno to the level of development it ought to attain was glaring.
While the planning committee members including Amb. Sunny Braimah (Chairman), Engr. Henry Eramekhe Dakpokpo, Ayegbeni Kanabe, Sir Mike Idemoh, Hon Chris Enakhena, Richard Zibiri, Alh Sadiq Izuagbe, Ignatius Agbugui, Vincent Umoru, Pst Julius Akhalumenyo, Lucky Anyia, Godwin Itamah and Barr Tony Etiuzale worked tirelessly for a hitch-free retreat, observation should however be drawn to the need to ensure adherence to timing in future retreats.
Beginning with the paper on Harnessing the Economic Potential of Weppa & Uwanno clans, Mr. Izenuwa Paul Izenuwa categorized the key economic potentials to include agriculture as the mainstay, owing principally, to the geographical location and natural endowments vis a vis the availability of land, fertility and arable nature as well as the blessing of having River Niger readily available for an all year water irrigation if needed.
Noting that climate and topography are also favourable, Izenuwa listed key agriculture and aquatic commodities produced in the two clans are Cashew Nut, Groundnut, Cassava, Rice, Maize, Palm Oil, Yams, Fish, Fruits and Vegetables including Tomatoes and Pepper.
Unfortunately, he said agricultural produce has been largely peasantry resulting in yields, output and income mostly meager compared to the huge potentials derivable there from.
He listed reasons for this setback as lack of economic infrastructure and social amenities like storage facilities, feeder roads, poor access to finance for production, lack of modern/improved farming implements, lack of government support and apathy of elites towards agriculture and farming.
On the way out Izenuwa posited that, “There is need for provision of micro credit for farmers, fishermen, and small scale industrialists who transform primary produce into secondary products, provision and rehabilitation of economic infrastructure such as feeder roads and storage facilities to facilitate reduction in cost of production for people of both clans.
“Provision of effective agricultural extension services to stimulate the adoption of improved or modern farming impute and techniques, to further increase productivity.
“There is also need to take advantage of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Developmental programmes and these include Anchor Borrowers’ (ABP), Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), Paddy Aggregation Scheme (PAS), Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) and Agribusiness/Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMESIS).
Furthermore, Izenuwa emphasized the need for Weppa & Uwanno sons and daughters in Diaspora to invest into value adding businesses and investment opportunities that abound in the two clans. This include investment in renewable energy technology like Solar energy, modular processing plants, modern milling plants to covert raw materials to finish products like oil, starch, ethanol, and pharmaceutical products among others.
“Modernization of Agenebode market, to increase its capacity to serve as commercial hub not only for Agenebode but all adjourning communities in Idah, Fugar, Auchi, Okpella and beyond. Hence there is strong need for the Local Government Council to reconstruct Agenebode market and fit it with modern facilities. It can also be achieved through public-private partnership which has been adopted by some LGAs in constructing modern markets.
Another paper that stimulated thinking faculty of the club members and generated much interest, was the presentation of Mr. Victor Dakpokpo, Financial analyst titled ’10 #business ideas for sustainable wealth creation’.
He began with Statistical data culled from both the World Bank, the National Bureau of Statistics and studies carried out by reputable institutions
For instance, National Population Nigeria is estimated 200million by the World Bank, the GDP of Nigeria is put at $400billion by the NBS, the per capital income of Nigerians is put at $2, 000 according to the World Bank, the Poverty Rating of Nigeria is put at 94million by the World Bank while in the ratio of the ease of doing business in the world, Nigeria is ranked at number 146 out of 190 countries by the World Bank.
With that preamble, he listed the 10 fastest growing profitable and sustainable business ideas in Nigeria which can be tapped into with available support structures and incentives as Animal Husbandry, Cold Room operation, Fast Food, Distributorship, building of Crèche and Pre-School centers, Medium Scale Factories, Auto Mechanic and other Skills, Filling Stations, Blogging/Social Media and Hospitality.
In all these, he give suggestions of how to start each business venture, capital requirement, the landmines to be avoided, requirements as to what the law says and how to about funding.
Using Animal husbandry as a case study, Dakpokpo said 20million eggs are consumed in Lagos daily while demand for pork meat is increasing. Asun is also becoming very popular with Nigerians because consumers are looking for alternatives to beef (health reasons, herdsmen issues).
Requirements for starting up include getting CAC registration. Start up funding depends on the size of the farm while location of such a business venture should be any safe location with perimeter fence. Preferably, he said it is better to acquire a land for maximization of profit.
He emphasized some key success factors to include regular disease control measures and identification/creation of your own market while challenges or landmines that could prove detrimental like theft and bad breed of animals should be avoided.
Victor Dakpokpo rounded up the presentation with the quote, “If you really love your children, get a business, not a job, because when you die your children cannot inherit your job, but they can definitely inherit your business. In fact, if you die on the job, your boss will replace you before your burial. If your family live in the company house, they will kick them out before they can say anything. So when you close from work, don’t go and watch television. Go home and think of a business idea.”
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