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Youth-friendly, inclusive in leadership



ANAMBRA State Governor, Willie Obiano,  made history when he appointed Nigeria’s first youngest Commissioner, 30-year old Mark Okoye to be in-charge of the Ministry of Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners. This, amongst others  are  examples of the administration’s effort to empower the youths and set them on the mainstream of policy making in the state.

  In 2018, Governor Obiano also appointed another 32-year old, Mr Bonaventure Enemali as a commissioner, now heading the Ministry of Lands- one of the most critical ministries of any government.

  Governor Obiano at the moment, has the highest number of aides and political appointees who are youths accounting for over 85 per cent of the members of his government.

  As at 2018, it was clear that the empowerment of youths is a major priority of his government considering his focus on human capital development.

  Youths have been put at the centre of agricultural policies and development of micro, small, and medium scale enterprises being granted access to loans, grants and other financial facilities through the Anambra State Small Business Agency(ABSA).

  On skills acquisition, ever since his emergence as the governor of the state, he has trained over 500 youths every year on skills acquisition. He also gave them starter packs for the business of their choice, thereby uplifting them and taking them off the streets.

  To further engage the youths, certain agencies like Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra (OCHA Brigade), Anambra Road Maintenance Agency (ARMA), Anambra Traffic Management Agency (ARTMA), Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) et al were brought into existence.

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  On December, 2019, in a youth empowering talk session, Obiano himself tutored the youths on business, stating: “You must all imbibe the culture of ICT, creative economy and artificial intelligence, which is where the world is headed. Interestingly, Anambra has the most brilliant youths anywhere in the world. And we need to channel that in a manner that makes sense.” He also encouraged the youth to key into the various opportunities provided at the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism, as well as Ministry of Youth Empowerment.

  He observed that what made us rich in the last century would not make us rich in the current century except there is a paradigm shift. This, he said, must start with the review of school curricular that would emphasise where the world is headed or it will be difficult to compete in the global market.

  “The era of what our old seasoned businessmen are doing won’t last. Recall that many years ago, our businessmen were used to doing business under the tag “and Sons Limited”. And when they die, the business dies. Unfortunately, most of them are still not learning any lesson. That’s why I have a department in the Ministry of Finance charged with educating these rich businessmen on continuous basis. So we try to introduce them to capital market, which is the way to go,” he added.

  Obiano told the youths that they are the leaders of today and not tomorrow but that all they need to do is get prepared and know where the world is headed. Obiano played a keyrole in #EndSARS protest organised in the country. He was the first governor to address the issue and even went to the SARS headquarters, Akwuzu and others for the release of some inmates and set up a panel to look into the issue of police abuse in the state. He immediately sacked James Nwafor, the head of SARS as at the time.

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