Anambra State’s Commissioner for Youths Empowerment and Creative Economy, Bonaventure Enemali is one of the youngest persons in such position in Nigeria. One of his colleagues, a commissioner in the cabinet of Governor Willie Obiano is of same age, He spoke with IFEANYI NDUKWE on the impact the Obiano-led government is making in affecting the youths, especially in making them productive through creative enterprises and provision of jobs. Excerpts:
HOW has the journey been as a representative of the youths in Anambra State?
So far, the journey has been very interesting and challenging as well which is the demand of every job, public or private. You must agree with me that every society is keyed towards the betterment of its youths. Anambra State Government is specially aimed to arm their youths to be economic giants.
Thus, if there are no youths, there is definitely no future society. Where there is a challenge, the state government comes in to curtail it. Hence, the addition of the later, creative economy, to the ministry to coin it thus, Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy. Previously, it was referred to as the Ministry of Youth’s Empowerment And Sports Development. You would agree with me that sports are other means for empowerment and also a creative economy. For example, if any person having interest in sports is trained to develop and master his skill to become a professional in the aspect, it further incubates to an enablement to earn a living. Meanwhile the Commissioner for Sports is already in the field attending to his primary responsibilities as the various schools in the state have commenced their sports.
What can you say about the impact of the Obiano’s government is making in the lives of Anambra youths?
Considering previous governments before now, it is on record that this past years of His Excellency’s administration has been one of the most youth-inclusive governments so far in Anambra considering a number of youths who have been given the responsibility to hold prominent political offices in terms of youths’ engagement and youth empowerment. Within the remaining years of leadership, I strongly believe that the youth will have cause to smile for good governance and continuous progress. The governor holds the youths in high regard so much that the state 2019 Budget is themed; Budget for Sustainable Growth and Youth Empowerment.
What does the government’s initiative – One Youth, One Skill really mean ?
This is an idea birthed by His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano to ensure that every youth in Anambra must have at least one skill irrespective of academic or family background within this one year of his legacy administration. He made this public on the last celebrated International Youths’ Day being 9th August, 2018.
His vision is to ensure that participants are groomed to become expert in their chosen fields of interest. His idea is to train 10,000 youths resident in the state annually. To make it a realistic vision, the first batch of graduates of the skill acquisition programme was welcomed in the months of November, the previous year.
Recall that such programmes in our dear country- Nigeria, especially in Anambra State focuses more on mere theories than practicals. In the past , you would notice a situation where some set of youths are brought together in a forum kind of environment for a certain number of periods where they are exposed majorly in theories and abstract tutorials. After they are superficially believed to have been trained, they are doled some amount of money or starter packs without considering another angle to the basics. Given some period of time when the call for another skill acquisition is made, you find out that a high percentage of the previous beneficiaries or participants happened to come back again. The question becomes, what did they learn at first? Were they actually trained?
The One Youth, One Skill Initiative of the Anambra State Government dwells more on innate practicals. Every youth must have a skill. You must learn it. The focus is not on the starter packs or money rather the focus is on you.
To create an enabling environment for this programme, the government devised an idea to decentralize it to the three (3) senatorial zones to allow a wide coverage of the initiative.
For instance, the Anambra South point for learning is the Incubation Centre, Nnewi .In Anambra North, the individual can study and be trained at the Skill Acquisition Centre, Aguleri, while, the Anambra Central has two places for learning. Firstly, Skill Acquisition Centre, Nibo, seconded by the other location which is the Education Resources Centre. The centre is owned by the state government and it is managed by the Ministry of Basic Education. The latter is majorly for those youths who are being trained for ICT and other digital issues.
Can you tell us how one can partake in this programme?
Every interested youth is advised to approach the youth development officer assigned to their LGAS. You pick up a form to fill and submit. He could also fill it online. After registration, a special code will be generated that is peculiar to the participant in case he registers online.
The participants are encouraged to write out two areas of interest. He must make his choice willingly. This being done, the individual is allocated a centre for trainings based on the area of proximity to centre
The reason for the verbatim is to x-ray the inner desires to learn and practice a particular skill. This is a strategy to encourage the youth to display traits of extreme determination and certainty. It depends on the number of those who show interest for a particular course which is a minimum of 50 persons. In the case where it is not complete, a certain number is added to make a complete batch of 50. For example, the number of youths with interest on ICT has to reach a target of 50 persons and above to kick start the class.
Another interesting thing about this initiative is the fact that it provides a platform for easy communication and accounts for professionalism. At the end of each set, the group is encouraged to set up a modus operandi in respect to communication and team work spirit.
The programme is a one month programme based on the skill chosen. It is arranged thus; 3 weeks of thorough learning followed by a week for practicals. It is at this stage that we are assured that the individual youth has fully learnt the skill and can use it as an edge in the interest of the society.
Finally at the end of the acquisition period, they are advised to set up an executive committee made of a president, a financial secretary and a secretary in a Whatsapp group chat. This set of alumni makes it an effort to set up meetings and briefings on any upcoming event that is geared towards the progress and success of their group. Also, every batch of graduates is attached a PRS (Public and Research Statistics) officer who supervises and manages their progress.
Notably, there are about six programmes in every batch. For example, the last graduates from the programme were numbering over 750 participants.
What is next after the trainings?
Because the programme is practical inclined, I can confidently tell you that the youth in Anambra State are economically independent and know their onions. For instance, the ICT trainees are professionals and can attend to any computer related problems that springs up.
The government gives out starter packs for the best 50 in every batch. This makes the programme very competitive and goal oriented. Another fact to note is the moral and financial support from various agencies to the youths.
How much has the government done in furthering sports development in Anambra State?
The present government has a special interest for sports. I believe so. That is why the government singled out another agency for sports from the Ministry Of Youth’s Empowerment and Creative Economy. This became effective from the months of March, last year. This is to broaden and cover more grounds in respect to sports development and other developmental areas in the state.
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