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OKOWA OUTLINES EFFORTS TO TACKLE UNEMPLOYMENT, AS CONFERENCE OF UNEMPLOYED GRADUATES HOLDS IN ASABA

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Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has urged unemployed graduates to actively play their role in the effort to tackle the huge challenge of unemployment in the state by embracing the entrepreneurship schemes initiated by his administration, even as he noted that the solution to the challenge unemployment cannot be fully addressed when people still remain unemployed.

Governor Okowa equally charged all unemployed graduates to consider the entrepreneurship and skills acquisition schemes of the government, not just primarily with the aim of making brisk wealth, but rather in line with the objective of creating value in the system, which he averred, would not only enhance sustainable development, but also contribute positively towards the quest of bringing prosperity to all Deltans, successful.

The Delta State Governor, who made these remarks during the inaugural conference of the Nigerian National Union of Unemployed Graduates (NNUUG), Delta State chapter, held at the Express Hope Christian Centre, Asaba, equally pointed out that the hydra-headed socio-economic challenge of unemployment is on a national scale with multidimensional problems which have, over the years, struggled to defy possible solutions.

Governor Okowa, who was represented by the Delta State Chief Job Creation Officer, Professor Eric Eboh, further opined that the challenges of unemployment can be viewed from both its demand and supply sides, adding that, while there was a structural inadequacy in the country such that the economy is growing but jobs are not being created to address the demand commensurate with the growth of the economy, the educational system on the other hand has not being able to respond to the qualitative manpower and supply needs of the society and the economy.

Speaking specifically of the job creation schemes already rolled out by his administration, the Delta state Governor stated that the Administration’s job creation scheme is a programme designed for only willing, interested and able youths in the state, adding that the government had to make this clarification at this early stage of the programme so that, intending beneficiaries would know the seriousness the government is attaching to the success of the programme, because of past experiences in running such empowerment schemes.

According to the Governor, the six schemes are fashioned to fulfil his campaign promises and theme, “Prosperity for All Deltans”, which is embedded in the government SMART agenda, which is to equip the average “Deltans, youths and job seekers with skills, resources and the right orientation, to become more productively equipped, self-employed or to become more ready for employment in agriculture, industry, and the rest of the economy”. He said.

Speaking, further the government stated that, the Youth, Agricultural Development Entrepreneur Programme (YAGEP), and the other five schemes are focussed in the training, supporting and establishing willing, interested and able youths in agricultural enterprises for decent and gainful self-employment and wealth creation, he therefore used the opportunity of the conference to call on the intending participants to first be willing, interested and be readily able to execute the plans of the government after the completion of the training which will start as the necessary data capturing ends.

The governor disclosed that the National Bureau of Statistics reveals that one out of every four unemployed persons cannot find job, but quickly added however, that the Nigerian situation is not necessarily the absence of job opportunities but rather, it is the lack of job-ready skills on the part of the job seekers.

The state government also used the occasion to express its willingness to work with the NNUUG, to solve the unemployment programme in the state, saying, “With such body as the unemployed graduates, it means part of the solution to the job problem in the State is solved, since there is evidence that there are people who are employable, but they have no job”.

He advised the hundreds of youths, who gathered at the event to be observant enough to identify the major demands in the market and, then, devise a means to innovate them so as to create values for the consumers.

His words: “do not be deceived that entrepreneurship is not about making money. Leadership by product is not about money-making because when you have good products, money follows: it is a principle that applies in all professions.

Speaking further the Governor said, “I want you to go home with this admonition of trying to create value. Look at your environment and identify the missing gap which needs to be filled. When you fill that gap, you will create goods and services that will be demanded by people; you will create revenue for the state, generate income for yourself and create jobs for others. That is how societies are built and, anything other than that is not sustainable”.

He continued that his administration is willing to accept and integrate worthy development proposals from any Deltan. “If you have any entrepreneurial proposal that is feasible, particularly the one that people can come together to execute as group, put it in writing and, then, come to discuss it with us at the office of the chief job creation officer of the state”, added Okowa, who was invested with the honour of friendliness with the unemployed in Delta state.

The governor, who reiterated that job creation was central to his campaign promises, enjoined the unemployed graduates to see their current situation as a spring board to a brighter future. Consequently, he added, the philosophy behind the SMART agenda is to equip all job seekers with the requisite skills, resources and the right orientation to be more productively engaged and self employed.

To this end, he continued, the government has rolled out six jobs creation schemes which are geared towards creating the needed jobs and wealth for all Deltans.

Earlier, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Delta State University, Abraka, Prof. Austine Anigala, in a lecture entitled: “Factors Required to be a Graduate that can Assist in Nation-Building”, identified the celebration of excellence, promotion of patriotism and restructuring of the educational curriculum, among others, as the urgent steps that will rejuvenate the unemployed citizen.

He stressed that “graduates need to be persuaded to pull off the garment of pessimism and be made to re-affirm their belief in the Nigerian project”, adding that “they should be properly harnessed and coordinated unto productive ends, without which, nation-building would be a speculative mirage”.

In his address, the National Patron of NNUUG, Bishop Greatman Nmalagu, described an unemployed graduate as “a male or female who had gone through the due process of education, studied at the higher institution either trained academically or skillfully, yet after graduation had not got job directly or indirectly”.

Bishop Nmalagu believed that the spate of violence in the country was borne out of the challenge of unemployment among the youths, noting that “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.

The one day conference of the Nigeria National Union of the Unemployed Graduates (NNUUG), Delta State Chapter, which had thousands of unemployed youths in attendance had the theme “Graduates for National Development”, as the main thrust of the discussions.

Highlight of the occasion was the presentation of Award and investiture of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as the “Most Friendly Governor to the Unemployed”.

 

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