By Onomiguren Agbamu
Delta State Governor, Sen.(Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa says one among the greatest legacies of his administration’s in the state is the youths’ empowerment programme.
He said his administration devoted reasonable resources to its various empowerment schemes for the youths to acquire skills that would make them self-reliant and able to contribute to the nation’s economic growth.
Governor Okowa disclosed this at the combined graduation and presentation of starter-packs to beneficiaries of Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurship Programme (YAGEP), Graduates Employment Enhancement Programme (GEEP) and Information and Communication Technology – Youth Empowerment Programme (ICT-YEP) in Asaba.
The governor expressed happiness to have created the platforms, in addition to others by the Ministries of Youths Development, and Women Affairs and Social Development to develop and improve youths in the state to become great entrepreneurs.
According to him, the more youths we take off the street, the more peace we are likely to have in the state, and I have a lot of excitement today because this is an event where we are graduating many of our youths in different entrepreneurship programmes.
“This has been very dear to my heart in the last eight years and I thank God that a few days to my exit, I am participating in the graduation of the last set of entrepreneurs in my tenure.
“I know that by the special grace of God, the incoming administration will continue and improve on the programme.
“From the beginning, we talked about the SMART Agenda and Prosperity for all Deltans. We have laid a foundation for that, and I believe that the foundation will be built upon.
“In our second tenure, we went into the Stronger Delta agenda, and the incoming administration has promised us more with its MORE agenda. This means that you (Deltans) are going to have more of what we have here today,” he said.
The governor commended the people of the state for voting massively for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to ensure continuity and sustainability of the skills development and empowerment programmes.
“I must truly thank Deltans who voted supporting continuity because we need a continued programme of this kind so that we can continue to impact on our youths.
“The stories may not all be told today, but in the years to come, I believe that we are going to have great businesses springing up among the people who are here and those who have graduated from the programmes in the last eight years,” he remarked.
He affirmed that the empowerment and job creation platforms had been institutionalized to ensure continuity, saying “I believe that the very steps we have taken to engage our youths in entrepreneurship are in the best interest of this state.
“We cannot but do all that we can to encourage our youths to believe in our country and our state. And, I believe that the several thousands of entrepreneurs that have grown over these last few years will speak well for us in the future.
“I appreciate the youths of Delta state and the support they have given me in the last eight years. The entrepreneurship programme has already been institutionalized because there is legislation that backs it up.
“So, I am certain that it will continue into the future,” Okowa stated.
Welcoming guests to the ceremony earlier, Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mrs. Jennifer Adasen-Efeviroro, said training youths on ICT was a veritable means of empowering them to become economically independent.
Adasen-Efeviroro lauded Okowa for championing programmes that would break the jinx of poverty and economic deprivation among youths in the state.
In his remarks, Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Eboh, said that Delta State entrepreneurship programmes had had lasting positive impacts on the lives and fortunes of youths, girl-child, women, artisans, traders, and widows.
He said that no fewer than 15,000 brand-new youth entrepreneurs from STEP, YAGEP, RYSA, GEST and ICT-YEP had been created and established in the last eight years.
Eboh further said that Okowa’s job creation, entrepreneurship development, skills training, youth empowerment, microcredit and enterprise grants to small businesses and women-owned enterprises had covered a total of 75,332 beneficiaries from 2015 to date.
In an interview with one of the beneficiaries of Home Security Design and installation, Mr. Ramson Nkwoboko Udoka commends the governor for dishing out youth-driven skills programme saying that skill are helpful to him and vow to impact on the society from his experience.
According to him” the programme is a very welcome development, it exposes me to CCTV installation, Access control installations and home solution networking”.
“ It has been my dream to be self-reliant and, I thank His Excellency, Governor Okowa for giving us the privilege to acquire the skills, the skills are youth-driven that will help us and the society”.
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