Empowering The Youths Of Abia With Skills: The Way To Go

Empowering The Youths Of Abia With Skills: The Way To Go

February 23, 2024 NewsOrient
By Emeka Nwosu, PhD.

As I noted recently in a public article, many good things are happening in Abia State under the watch of the Labour Party-controlled government of Dr. Alex Chioma Otti.

These heart-warming developments are certainly not happening by chance. Providence and good fortunes may have been on the side of Governor Otti. But what cannot be disputed is that the Governor has a well thought-out development blue-print that is guiding his approach to the administration of the State.

Speaking recently to the press after a meeting of the Abia State Executive Council in Umuahia, the Honourable Commissioner for Information, Prince Okey Kanu, disclosed that the State government has concluded arrangements to set up tuition-free schools in the three senatorial districts of the State for empowering the youths in the State with skills that would enable them to stand on their own and become employers of labour.

He also disclosed that participants would be supported with funds to set up their own businesses upon the conclusion of the skills acquisition programme.

The areas to be covered, according to the Commissioner, include solar power assembling and installation, POP (Plaster of Paris) designing and installation, painting, tiling and masonry amongst others.

He noted that as a serious-minded government, the Otti administration was not interested in the distribution of tricycles otherwise known as Keke to Abia youths as form of empowerment as such pedestrian gestures by governments in the past were misplaced actions that neither provided any useful skills nor accorded any form of dignity to our talented youths.

The position of the Otti administration can hardly be faulted on this score. Giving our teeming but idle youths skills in the aforementioned areas is the best way to go, especially as there is growing shortage of such skilled manpower in not only Abia State, but regrettably in the whole of Igbo land where most of the youths have embraced the short cuts to wealth acquisition with its dire consequences to the well-being of our society.

Like the Honourable Commissioner observed at his press briefing, most of the artisans who currently provide these essential skills come from outside Abia State and Igboland. It is really worrying to note that the skilled artisans that populate Igboland today are mainly from the South West of Nigeria, and Togo and Benin Republic.

They are making it big, given the ever growing expansion in the building and construction sector in the South East.
With the scheduled commissioning of the Geometric Power station in Aba which is expected to guarantee steady power supply to Aba and by extension to the rest of the State, it is envisaged that there would be an explosion in industrial and construction activities in the State. The youths to benefit from the skills acquisition programme would have quite a lot to do.

There is no doubt this is going to be an era of economic boom to this category of Abia youths who are willing to embrace this wonderful gesture of the Otti administration.

The decision to empower our youths with such specialized skills, in my considered opinion, is very thoughtful and imaginative.

The government must be encouraged to go the whole hog and ensure that all Abia youths willing to participate in the programme are accommodated.

Our traditional rulers and community leaders should take advantage of this offer by government by reaching out to all the idle youths in their domains to come forward and enlist in the programme.

Our youths should know that there is no substitute for hard work and excellence. Engaging in yahoo yahoo business, kidnappings, banditry, touting and sundry criminalities can never be the route to self-actualization.

Rather, they are sure route to perfidy and damnation. It is in the enlightened self-interest of our youths to embrace these skills and live decent lives and become wealth creators, ultimately.

I believe with this skills acquisition programme and other creative plans to engage our youths coming into fruition, the Keke business should be phased out completely from all our major urban centres or restricted only to the inaccessible hinterlands.

The introduction of Keke which was embraced by graduates with no jobs has not done much to ease transportation difficulties or promote good civic culture. Rather, the Keke business has unfortunately affected the psyche of the operators, including graduate riders amongst them who now exhibit the mentalities of touts and street urchins.

It is my hope that our hard-working governor will put in place a more efficient public transportation system by the time the Keke or Okada operators are phased out.

Umuahia and Aba deserve the best. The current riotous scenes of Okada populating the landscapes of Abia cities and towns constitute a blight in these places. All decent places in the world have good and efficient public transportation system. It is possible in Abia State with Dr. Alex Otti.

The youths should embrace the skills acquisition programme and quit from all anti-social behaviours. It is the best way to go.

Dr. Nwosu, a Public Policy Analyst, writes from Umuahia.
Email: cdnwosu2@gmail.com

~ NewsOrient