Soludo, focusing on job creation, giving hope to Anambra children
GOVERNOR Chukwuma Soludo’s administration is working assiduously to curb the unemployment ravaging the country. We have witnessed a plethora of skill acquisition programmes going on at many centres in the state and this has been attracting positive reactions from across Anambra.
A frontline industrialist and Chairman/CEO, Lake Petroleum Ltd, Chief C. U. Ezembaji, in this discourse said Anambra youths will soon heave a sigh of relief under this aggressive employment windows. He spoke to RAY UDEAGBARA. Excerpts:
ON FEATURES of the human capacity building programmes and what youths stand to benefit from them
Since the inception of Soludo’s administration barely a year ago, ndi Anambra have witnessed many skill acquisition centers set up at many locations across Anambra State, and more are springing up.
We’ve witnessed the One Youth Two Skills Development Programme with 10,000 youths currently learning various trades.
We know of the 5000 teachers and 270 hospital personnel it recruited immediately on inception last year.
There is also the digital skills acquisition programme for a total of 20,000 youths going on now in Awka.
This programme is the product of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the governor himself with Microsoft and Woodlab Foundations, an expert international human capacity building foundation that has gained fame world over.
Under this agreement, 20,000 youths will both gain digital skills and as startup, be provided with the necessary digital equipment to work on their own in their respective work places.
And to make this programme successful, the Anambra State Business Agency (ASBA), created to grant soft loans to start ups, small businesses is at work to ensure that participants in every skill acquisition programme are funded by government on completion of their training to start their own businesses.
Under this very circumstance, we can say that about 45,000 youths of Anambra extraction are engaged and will say goodbye to unemployment when they complete their training.
While this programme is on, government has opened up more employment windows this time for touts (Agbaroes), able bodied youths, most of them uneducated.
Soludo’s government has urged them to register their names, addresses and phone numbers in their respective local government headquarters.
I believe when this data compilation is completed, they will be recruited (over 400,000 of them) in the agric sector to boost food production and end hunger and poverty in the state and at the same time earn a living.
This will free these youths from those criminal activities like terrorism, armed robbery, brigandage and restiveness, as well as cyber and yahoo yahoo crimes.
A closer look at the workings of these job creation programmes shows you that Anambra is gradually transforming, changing for the better with brighter future for our children. You can see with me that peace and stability is gradually returning.
We’re experiencing normally. Any government programme or mission, no matter how robust, without modalities to creation jobs will not be successful and have any meaningful impact.
Today, youth employment is the key to sustainable growth. I think this administration is getting it right, focusing on job creation.
Touts in Anambra State, hundreds of thousands of them and mostly illiterates are in Agbaro job not because they like but because they have nowhere to fit in.
The Soludo leadership right from the onset, understood this and took pro-active measures to checkmate the dangers knocking.
I advise these people to ensure they get registered in their local government headquarters as directed by government to participate in this worthwhile government venture.
This registration will provide government the necessary data with which to work.
I strongly believe it is his profession as a renowned economist and his national and international connections that enabled the governor work out these robust strategies for job creation and everyone needs to support him.
Look, Nigeria is a blessed country endowed with rich human and material resources, abundant fertile land with huge forests, rich mineral resources and able bodied youths educated and non-educated with sound heads and brains.
What is needed is the willingness to work, to forget white collar jobs which are now extinct. Soludo’s leadership in Anambra has shown its readiness, unshakeable commitment to give support to the youths to attain their potentials.
They must quickly queue into these skill acquisition programmes to come out better equipped with the necessary know-how, set up their own businesses and live a productive life.
To our youths, they must shun get rich quick syndrome (Ego mbute). It does not last. The gains associated with it is temporary.
Nothing built on shaky foundation will ever endure. We must develop interest in education. This is the gateway to success.
We’re lucky that our state chief executive is an academic who knows the value of education and is building strong foundation to boost this all important sector.
Let’s join hands with him to make our state great. Believe it or not, if other state governors in Nigeria take this Soludo’s step in job creation, the unemployment rate which has been skyrocketing in our country will fall drastically.
I’m happy that one governor-elect, that of Abia, Mr. Oti, has indicated his readiness to visit Anambra once sworn in to copy from Governor Soludo some of his patterns of governance. I’m sure others will also emulate him.
It is pertinent to know that this skill acquisition programme, entrepreneurship has been in existence in igboland, in the South East for decades by then called apprentice or better accepted, igbaboyi where young men went to their masters (business executives) to learn some trades and on completing of four or five years as agreed, are “settled” and they leave to set up their own business ventures.
Under their apprenticeship scheme, they’ve connections and can even begin their own businesses after completing the agreed period with their masters (oga) by procuring goods on credit when necessary, to pay after selling them.
In this very circumstance, honesty and hardwork are the key.
As these youths grow, they engaged other apprentices.
This practice has been the cornerstone, the bedrock on which the success of many business tycoons in Igbo land stems from. With these skill acquisition centers at work, it will not be long before we begin seeing the results.
By then, our youths will be off the streets, industrialisation will get a great boost and the state economy will grow.
On Soludo’s unique pattern of governance and its gains terms of sectoral development and quality service delivery
The present Soludo administration is indeed in the vanguard of building a new Anambra State where everyone will attend his full potential, be at liberty and be productive.
We are truly seeing a unique mode of leadership where the state governor has brought scholarship to be in governance with the introduction of various innovations, including checks and balances to ensure that money accruable to the government for development purposes is not siphoned away.
In all sectors of the economy, we’ve witnessed government robust intervention and quality service delivery.
It pursued aggressive road infrastructure development immediately on inception and today, over 290 roads are under construction by both indigenous and foreign construction firms.
Let me add here that for quality roads to be maintained, government should embark on resuscitation of Public Works Department (PWD) within the Ministry of Works.
During the 1st and 2nd republics in Nigeria, there used to be this department.
The department is charged with the responsibility of clearing bushes that encroached into major roads and highways.
It also carries periodic clearing of blocked drains, thereby saving roads from collapsing. Today, this vital department is lacking as there’s no staff or a department bearing that name.
It’s being posited that the revival of Public Works Department by the Anambra State Government and indeed, other governments would serve as a stop gap measure in checkmating the failure of roads and also, reducing the cost of embarking on billons of naira road reconstruction projects.
In the education sector, Anambra takes the lead again.
A student of Anglican Girls Secondary School, Nnewi, Joy Mmesoma Ejikeme, came tops in the recently concluded 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exam (UTME) organised by the Joint Admission Matriculation Board(JAMB) with an aggregate score of 362 in this order; English 98, Physics 89, Biology 94, Chemistry 89.
Education Commissioner, Prof Ngozi Chuma Udeh was quoted as saying that “this performance has again demonstrated the investment and priority Soludo administration accords the education sector”.
This feat is worthy of narrating because in previous administrations, Anambra students have shown extra ordinary prowess in this sector nationally and internationally.
Their wins in the Technovation challenge in USA and international debates and quiz competitions in faraway countries like Singapore and Indonesia are cases in point.
Our teachers have also won various awards in the country.
This UTME feat achieved by Anambra student shows that the present administration has taken the footsteps of its predecessor to entrench robust and quality service delivery in this key sector.
We also see same quality developments in agric sector, in commerce and industry, environment and transport sectors, as well as in human capital development and IGR generation.
Governor Soludo’s infrastructure development score card to me is excellent. The governor himself has remained committed to the core values of discipline, integrity, and dedication.
Even his lieutenants understand that culture of integrity and accountability are crucial for efficient results in governance.
This government understands the role of small and medium enterprises as major driver of any country’s economy and has demonstrated this by its robust human capacity development programmes and the readiness of ASBA to offer helping hand when necessary.
In earlier discussions I’ve highlighted the importance of the state labour force as pivotal engine room of any government; engine room for socio-economic development, and I’m happy for the cordial relationship existing between the State Executive Council and state civil service.
It’s good that this administration has its main focus on job creation because without employment for the youth, danger looms. Even their restiveness can bring down any government.
I think we are seeing in this government a departure from mono cultural economy to economic diversification and the agric sector is leading here; distributing high yield coconut and palm seedling to ndiAnambra and a robust programme of returning to the path of sustainable economic growth as well as re-directing the state resources to priority areas for maximum output.
Government has re-affirmed its commitment to the provision of quality health care delivery. It has entrenched quality service delivery in the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) and made its services reachable to those at the grassroots.
In Anambra, we are witnessing the evolution of a better sustainable development model where all strata of the society are carried along.
In fact, from the score card of this administration, I’ll say that Governor Soludo has achieved a lot within just one year in office.
Commitment, dedication and passion are necessary ingredients for efficiency in governance. We see these vital attributes in this administration.
One remarkable feature of this government is that while it sits in Awka, its eyes are in almost all the nooks and crannies of the state.
In its road construction, virtually all communities both in the rural and urban centres benefit. Its employment programme spreads across the entire state.
No community is left out. In the broad entrepreneurship studies currently going on, no section of any community is omitted.
The ASHIA programme is spread across the entire length and breadth of Anambra. We see no magomago, no partiality.
This is how government should operate, providing democracy dividends to all and sundry without recourse to religious or political affiliations. No government succeeds in an atmosphere of insecurity.
Here in Anambra, the impact of the security blueprint of this government is felt in almost all parts of the state and the culture of peace and unity is entrenched.
The Soludo adminsitration’s programmes and policies and their robust implementation have given the assurance that our state is on the right path for socio-economic development and all hands must be on deck to achieve this great objective.
Even in appointments, this government has remained gender friendly. Health is wealth. Everyone must join to make the Anambra clean and green revolution sustainable.
This administration’s efforts to secure clean environment for all is unprecedented.
In conclusion we must support the present administration to achieve its set goals particularly that of transforming Anambra to a smart mega city. Rome was not built in a day.