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60 million voters in SMEs sector marginalised —Aderinwale

60 million voters in SMEs sector marginalised —Aderinwale

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Tobi Aworinde

The Deputy Coordinator, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Mr. Ayodele Aderinwale, has condemned the marginalisation of about 60 million eligible voters in micro, small and medium enterprises by the political elite.

Aderinwale, who had played an active role in the pre-1999 struggle for the country’s return to democratic rule, made the assertion while giving the keynote address at a dinner to commemorate the 10th anniversary of a non-governmental organisation, Masterpiece Resource Development Centre, on Friday.

While speaking on the theme, ‘Accelerating the Nigerian economy through SMEs’, the activist noted that a liberal democracy was a game of numbers.

He said, “You get the numbers, you win. You win, you have power. You have power, you take decisions. You allocate scarce resources before greedy eyes and grasping hands. Politics in Nigeria is an intra-elite squad. It has nothing to do with the majority of the people.

“It is not about ideological differences; it is strictly about political differences. And so, if you understand all of these bases, they will allow you to do what I call a structured and interpretative understanding of your reality.”

Aderinwale said micro enterprises had, between two and 10 employees, and N5m in terms of assets, while small enterprises had between 10 and 49 members of staff and an asset base of N5m to N50m.

He added, “According to a survey by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria three years ago, we have about 38 million MSMEs in Nigeria. The MSME sector combined accounts for 84 per cent of the total labour force in Nigeria. That is, they employ about 60 million people.

“If politics is a game of numbers; if you (SMEs) desire your society to be organised in a particular way and you have the choice to articulate and push your interests, how come 60 million eligible voters are being kept from taking decisions? How come you are not a voice at the table?”

The Chief Responsibility Officer, MRDC, Mrs. Modupe Oyekunle, while delivering the vote of thanks, appreciated her husband, parents and siblings.

Oyekunle attributed her commitment to SMEs development to her mother’s entrepreneurial skills.

She also appreciated the Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, the father of the day, who she said was unavoidably absent.

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