Soludo’s administration has embarked on massive employment beginning with teachers and some health personnel. Some people see this development as a robust beginning. In this discourse, the Ide Achina and Chairman/CEO Lake Petroleum Ltd, Chief C. U. Mbaji observed that it is a welcome development at this dire period when mass unemployment is the order of the day in Nigeria. He spoke to RAY UDEAGBARA. Excerpts:
ON THE situation of employment in the country generally now that the Soludo administration has come up with job creation programme
For many years, Nigeria has been experiencing mass unemployment, mass retrenchment of workers, liquidity shortages and high inflation. This ugly situation is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged many sectors of the nation’s economy ; agriculture, industrialisation, oil and gas, even education and transportation. Also adversely affected is the commercial sector. Consequently, many state governments find it extremely difficult to pay workers salaries. Some owe up to 10 months.
Those who are striving to pay at all are in about five to six months arrears. Inflation is biting so hard that most families find it difficult to have two square meals a day. In this very circumstance, it looks strange, seems even unbelievable that a state government like Anambra is embarking on employment of staff. Thousands of Nigerian jobless youths roam the streets every day. Many find it hard to secure even mean jobs to eke a living.
This poor and unconducive situation comes with many vices like youth restiveness, cultism, all sorts of criminalities like yahoo yahoo practices, cybercrime and so on, giving stress to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which now has more problems to contend with. This negative situation affects almost all aspects of life in Nigeria – poor electricity supply, bad road, unavailability of genuine, quality goods and poor productivity in all aspects of the economy. Under this situation, there’s no more job satisfaction and most works are haphazardly done without recourse to the consequences therein.
It is therefore gratifying to note that a governor in this country, the newest of the governors, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra has set machinery in motion to employ workers into the state civil service. I read of governments recruitment of teachers online, and that of health officers as advertised in one of the newspapers, in fact, this National Light Newspaper where the state Civil Service Commission advertised for health personnel/officers.
For the teachers, about 31,000 will be taking computer- based test over the weekend. The Education Commissioner, Prof. Ngozi Chuma Udeh appeared in person in video, last Saturday and addressed the applicants shortly before they took the test which was cancelled to be retaken on Saturday.
This is the action of a government that is serious in what he’s doing or wants to do. The commissioner, Chuma Udeh, did not delegate any of her ministry’s staff to address the applicants. She came out in person showing the government is committed to what it is saying and doing. Even the governor, Prof Soludo, gave the order that every applicant must be given equal opportunity to do the test. Now one thing is clear here.
The employment process will be free and fair. Whoever drops out amongst them will not grumble because he sees the process free and fair. Another is that we, ndi Anambra see that this very administration believes in equity, justice and fairness. It believes in straight forwardness. It has no room for any sacred cow.
For this administration, this attitude of coming clean in whatever it does is a big plus. Any outsider, in fact, we parents will see that there is no “mago mago” in this exercise. I’ll tell this government to keep it up. We voted massively for Prof. Soludo during last governorship election not necessarily because he’s an academic, or because he’s a young man No.
We voted for him because we see in him a man who is serious, who wants things to be done in the right way and one who is serious in whatever he says. Believe it or not, if his leadership continues with this uprightness, credibility, the sky will be its limit. The masses will believe in it and give it their maximum support. Thank God the Education Commissioner is equally an academic.
I believe now the governor and his team of lieutenants mean business; to serve Anambra with their best of knowledge and experience. If you had watched the commissioner addressing the applicants last Saturday before they took the test, you would see a serious and selfless commissioner who wants things to be done aright. I salute her for that: at least she showed, exhibited commitment and selflessness.
Even from the caliber of this government’s appointees, you can agree with me that no one is ready to bring shame to the governor or the people of the state. I will say that all are people of sound character who know their jobs and are committed to performing it creditably without any blemish. I believe ndi Anambra will soon repose implicit confidence in this government.
Now, out of the 31,000 applicants that applied for the teaching job as I heard, 6000 plus did the last Saturday’s test according to the Education Commissioner and even if only 2000 were employed and offered teaching appointment, you can see the great relief Anambra State will get in this issue of unemployment. The implication is that for the numerous unemployed youths roaming our streets, they will been reduced by 2000. This will be another big plus to this administration.
On the benefits/merits of this employment programme
There is a general adage that says that idleness is the devils workshop. Stay a few hours doing nothing and see the thoughts you’ll be having in your mind. Due to unemployment, our youths find life difficult. They indulge in youth restiveness, violence, cybercrime, yahoo yahoo practices, in fact all sorts of evil, including cultism, robbery, arson.
Some will commit all sorts of criminal activities because of idleness. It’s this situation that brought about the get rich quick syndrome (ego mbute) and it breeds laziness, tiredness, hopelessness and despair. No one among the youths wants to work hard now, but they want to acquire richness overnight.
They think of millions of billions of naira, of how to acquire such huge amount without labouring for it. No one wants to work anymore. Even most parents are against their children going in for apprenticeship to learn a particular trade from someone who, after completion of the period of apprenticeship, gives them some money to start their own businesses.
This practice was obtainable some years ago and with it, many Igbo people learned various trades and set up their own businesses. This system constitutes one of the catalysts that spurred the Igbos to greater heights in business.
Ndigbo, particularly business inclined persons should revisit the apprenticeship system. Our youths should go back to the apprenticeship programme to perfect in a particular trade before practicing it, setting up their own businesses. The get rich quick mentality is never a good way of life. The establishment of skill acquisition centres is another kind of apprenticeship and governments at all levels should set up such centers to train our youths to acquire special skills that’ll enable them set up their own businesses, live normal lives, and contribute their quota to nation building. This will go a long way in solving this canker worm called unemployment ravaging our country.
Governor Chukwuman Soludo came to power as the “Chief Servant” of the state and began on a solid foundation, sound footing by recognising the dangers of mass unemployment among our youths and quickly took immediate action to proffer solution. This is a welcome development which will go a long way to place our state, Anambra, Light of the Nation, on a better stead.
Here, I must recognise the efforts of the Anambra State Business Agency (ASBA) and Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA). They play crucial roles when it comes to employment, business establishment in the state. The ASBA grants repayable soft loans to most of our youths who purchase tricycles (keke) and small buses (shuttle) for transport business. This group of people are seen in our highways from early morning to say 10pm daily.
Some use the loan to start small businesses like setting up provision stores, engaging in generator repairs, tailoring, shoe making etc . In advanced economies like U.S, UK, France, Japan, Germany, Canada, this group of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) contribute over 70% of their Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and governments of these countries do all possible to create the conducive environment for them to thrive.
In previous discourses, I’ve spoken of ANSIPPA that attracts investors to the state and gives them advice and incentives to succeed. We see community youth- based development programmes gradually springing up in various towns.
This has been persistent since the inception of this administration. In civil service, we see capacity building programmes going on in various ministries, including the new Ministry of Youth Development for liveable and prosperous Anambra State. Human capacity building, training and retraining of workers is another mechanism to shore up productivity and grow the state. From the above, we can see that the Soludo leadership has the interest of the youths at heart and is committed to working assiduously to better their lives.
It’s poised, committed to creating the enabling environment to boost investment confidence in the state and ensure sustainable solution towards ending poverty among the youths by developing entrepreneurship and shoring up energy supply to power it and enhance productivity. It is equally committed to advancing the pace of development generally by repositioning the education sector to further boost job creation. This very administration recognises the importance of quality education which injects intellectual capacity in society. The Soludo administration has brought a new dawn and is restoring the core values of ndi Igbo.
By the very index of development, one can state boldly that this regime is performing. It began strong and is maintaining its strength in governance. The present insecurity notwithstanding, the Soludo leadership has imbibed quality value system in our youths. It recognises their position as the catalyst of positive economic transformation and understands that through them, it can evolve a better sustainable development model thereby making them shun all anti-social vices and contribute immensely in growing the state economy and that of the nation.
The present administration in the state is people-oriented administration which believes it is out to secure, serve and better the economic wellbeing of the state citizenry. It’s her duty to unlock business opportunities for the youths through small and medium enterprises to engage them as agents of national development. Creating the culture of entrepreneurship among the youth adds great value to the state economy.
They’ll be provided with empowerment equipment. This’ll bring about economy founded on production with strong manufacturing base, not founded on consumption. In fact, entrepreneurship will stimulate the creative ability of our youth. Education is key to national development but government must take into cognizance the importance of skill based education which is the panacea to unemployment.
Barely 90 days of its inception, I’ll boldly state from its policies and programmes and from what is on ground that Soludo administration’s development blueprint is quite encouraging and will usher in a culture of integrity and accountability which’re vital for efficient result in governance.
This administration will diversify the state revenue base and position Anambra on the ladder of economic prosperity.
Recruitment of any sort now whether of teachers as is happening in our state today or civil servants by any government must be commended owing to the dire economic circumstance prevailing now because of paucity of funds. Look at the ugly scenario. The world went into economic recession during the Barrack Obama administration in the U.S. Gradually, many economies, including advanced ones were struggling to get their feet economically when the COVID-19 pandemic came in, worsening the entire situation. This very pandemic is still on, wreaking havoc in many countries today like in China, for example, paralyzing the entire economic sectors.
Today, any government that embarks on any sort of staff recruitment is worth its salt. Our new governor has integrity and passion for development. Under his leadership, Anambra State will be on course towards achieving good quality service delivery in all sectors which is the hallmark of good governance. His administration will, from its policies, target resources to areas of greatest need.
As I said earlier on entrepreneurship which I called apprenticeship, a boost in this sector by the Soludo government will result in re-directing the mindsets of our youths, making them gainfully employed and putting more into the productive sector.
A government that has good plans, programmes and policies without the support of its people will find implementation of its ideas and plans difficult. Ndi Anambra must resolve to support the present administration, support it in all ramifications, maintaining peace and stability, paying their taxes and levies, taking ownership of government establishments to free them from vandalisation by being watchful, monitoring them.
Next is prayers, the major key to success. Ndi Anambra must pray for the governor and his team to succeed. And we should pray for God’s intervention to bring lasting peace and security to the state. Of course, we, including the youth must resolve to work hard for a better tomorrow. God bless Governor Chukwuma Soludo and his team. God bless Anambra State.