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Empowering youth with skills



By Ejike Agbata
ACCORDING to the 2006 National Census Population, Anambra, has 1, 388, 145 youths, which is about 37 percent of the entire population. Recognizing importance of these young men and women, the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano thought it wise to include them in government, serving in various capacities as Executive Assistants, Special Assistants, Senior Special Assistants, and Special Advisers.
This administration can be said to have the highest number of youths in government, since the creation of the state and arguably in Nigeria.
Anambra State through the instrumentality of the governor understands well that if potentials of youths of the state are well-harnessed, it will reflect positively in the state’s economy, no wonder why government gives priority to welfare of ndi Anambra youths.
This is reflective in establishment of a ministry solely to see to welfare of youths of the state – Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, ably headed by a youth in every sense of the word, 33-year-old Honourable Commissioner, Bonaventure Enemali.
It is on record that Anambra boasts of two youngest commissioners in Nigeria. Governor Obiano had earlier in 2016, appointed 30-year-old Mark Okoye as commissioner.
It is obvious these appoints are not made to ‘settle’ some persons or grease ones’ palms but they are made because these under 30 commissioners knows what the job entails by virtue of the offices they occupy.
Mr. Okoye has not left anyone in doubt since his appointment that he sure knows what it takes to man a sensitive ministry as Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget Development.
As regards fighting unemployment in the state, the state government has through relevant ministries, organised skill acquisition and entrepreneurship trainings for youths residing in the state, not minding their states of origin.
In one of his outings, Governor Obiano said “Before I became governor, security situation was bad; several youths were seen idle on the streets. But today, I have tackled insecurity by engaging the youths meaningfully in different skilss and agriculture. We are doing this to transform the lives of our youths positively.”
Before now, the state government collated about 8000 data of unemployed youths in the state and trained them in batches at Federal Youth Centre, a federal government youth-facility with over 500 bed dormitory in Mgbakwu, Awka North Local Government Area.
The facility measures about 60 hectares and youths were trained in various skills of their choice, ranging from fish hatchery, hair making, computer maintenance to catering, wood work, shoemaking, confectionary and decorations, phone repair and solar power. Others are interlocking, landscaping, tiling, wall plastering, hair making and make-up.
These trainings were organized in such a way that participants after their training had access to state loans through the Anambra State Business Agency (ASBA), an agency set up by Governor Obiano to support small scale businesses in the state by way of granting loans to applicants.
This is aimed at inculcating in the youths, self-confidence, equip them with contemporary skills, make them self-reliant, take them off the streets and awaken them to the reality that entrepreneurship is a potential career path in the face of dwindling economy and massive youth unemployment in Nigeria.
If other state governments should replicate what Governor Obiano is doing in Anambra State, especially in area of appointing youths to government, in their states, it will go a long way in giving youths a sense of belonging and also quell cases of agitation and other social vices perpetrated by youths.



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