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Girls Child Training and Okowa’s Sustainable Path

JEROME-MARIO UTOMI

JEROME-MARIO UTOMI

Justice is central in all human issues, and it has a link with common good. To Thomas Aquinas, Justice is more of external action than interior emotion or passion; it is rendering to each person what is properly his or hers; what is equal, fair and balance in any relationship. Justice it added is either commutative or distributive.

While commutative justice is that which governs the relationship between two individuals in matters such as contracts, distributive justice is that which governs the relationship between an individual and the society (a part to the whole) in issues such as economic justice and social justice. Commutative justice calls for equality between two persons, while distributive justice is based on the importance of each individual to the society. He noted.

Indeed, going by the above explanations, coupled with the time-honored saying that the outer traits of a person are correlated to his inner traits and a person will respond to these trait according to their levels or strength present in them, it will not be characterized as hasty or an overstatement to conclude that majority of the public office holders in Nigeria lack the above attributes. They lack the understanding as well as are reputed for not following public leadership rules, laws or willing to mix and interact with the people of different types and classes to participate from their struggles and in the process benefits from such experience.

This painful revelation notwithstanding, there exists however, some hopeful signs that a few public office holders in the country are laced with positive mindset, temperament flexible attitude and enterprising spirit to work hard with concentration in order to improve the social and economic live chances of their people. Thus,, they  truly understand the meaning of social justice, economic justice and lead with strict adherence to the dictates of  social contract.

Thinking of leaders with such frame of minds, the likes of Senator (DR) Ifeanyi Okowa, the Executive Governor of Delta state, pops up. Aside from the fact that his leadership process, is among the few public office holders in the country that understands the true meaning of social, economic justice and social contracts with the governed, there are many examples of actions coming from the Governor Okowa’s led administration that supports this fact.

First, aside from is the tenacity with which the Governor has approached human capital development in the state/youth empowerment in the past six to seven years, the Governor has indeed demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that skill development remains the only major parameter through which the youth in the state who voted for him can achieve competitive advantage edge over their peers in other states and in other parts of the world.

He has sustainably planned, organize and conduct skill development programmes for his subjects as a much better and effective way of adopting suitable corrective measures for controlling negative attitudes among youths in the state.

Very key example is the recent ceremony held in place at Unity Hall, Govern­ment House, Asaba Delta state where Senator (DR) Ifeanyi Okowa, the Executive Governor of Delta state, doled out cash awards to 181 beneficiaries in the Skills Training and Entrepre­neurship Programme (STEP), Youth Agricultural Entre­preneurship Programme (YAGEP), as well as Girls Em­powerment Skill Training (GEST).

Governor Okowa stressed at the event that; the successes of the benefi­ciaries were part of the vision of building a new Delta, where the youths would be able to change the shape of the state. Okowa posited that even though his administration had recorded significant suc­cesses in different sectors of the state, what the youths had achieved in the different skills acquisition programmes was of great value and importance to him. While advising the beneficiaries to be good ambas­sadors of the state, he urged them to always keep records of their business dealings so they would be able to adequately monitor their growth and progress.

He said; we also have a deliberate policy to tackle youth unemployment through skills training and entrepreneurship development programmes. I believe that the way out of the unemployment quagmire is to equip the youth with the technical know-how, vocational skills, values and resources to become self-employed, as distinct from one-off empowerment. This is what my administration has done by instituting various skills training and entrepreneurship development programmes, which include: – Skills- Training and Entrepreneurship Programme(STEP); – Youth Agricultural- Entrepreneurs Programme(YAGEP); – Graduate Employment Enhancement Programme(GEEP); –  Rural Youth Skills- Acquisition Programme(RYSA); –  Girls Entrepreneurship Skills Training (GEST); and – Women Entrepreneurship Skills Acquisition Programme (WESAP).

These programmes are trainee-centred and service-oriented. The sectors and activities covered include agriculture, agricultural value chain services, vocational skills-based microenterprises and cottage enterprises. Furthermore, the training and mentoring processes aim beyond raising entrepreneurs to producing leaders and managers that have high levels of personal responsibility and effectiveness. I am pleased to let you know that after six years of faithful implementation of these programmes, we have trained and given business support packages to several thousands of youths.

Following the success of these interventions and other efforts in promoting technical education, Delta State was ranked the Best State in Human Capital Development in the 2017States Peer Review by the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria. Also in 2020, Delta was adjudged to be the Second Least Poor State, coming only after Lagos, Nigeria’s business hub, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Comparatively, While the Federal Government invests in developing infrastructure even when it is obvious that some of these infrastructures are not only white elephant projects that were politically motivated as they lack economic value, usefulness and flavor, The Delta state government  gives infrastructural development the attention that it deserves without taking human capital development for granted. Okowa evidently recognizes that greater capacity makes possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with more sustainability.

There is still a development worth mentioning about the Governor and that is his understanding of poverty as a state or condition in which a person or community lacks the financial resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living. Like the United Nations (UN) which also defines poverty as a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information, Poverty in the Governor’s estimation means a state of living where the income level from employment is so low that basic human needs cannot be met.

When the leader protects and empowers a girl child in all aspects of her identity, he automatically assists her, take her own decisions as well as ensure the future against absenteeism of women from different socio-political and economical spheres of the country. And demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that Okowa is a believer in the words of the late former Secretary General of the United Nation (UN), Kofi Annan, that there is no tool for development more effective than empowerment of women, and no other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality’.

He has reached out to life. He has touched the untouchable. He has dropped Delta State from a point where the roads are not ploughable to a point where there is massive construction of roads everywhere. He has touched the youths in Delta State through several programmes. He has made sure that programmes for the girl child has emanated in Delta State where the girl child is no longer dependent on her parents. Business opportunities have been provided for them. Sen. Dr. IfeanyiOkowa has made sure that there is peace in all those areas. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has done well.

Also, abundant evidence that Governor Okowa also loves empowering the youth is not delta state specific. To support this claim, Okowa at a function in Lagos stated thus; the disenchantment and alienation of our teeming population of youths is another disuniting factor. They feel hard done by Nigeria’s current climate of hopelessness, massive unemployment, insecurity of lives and property, poor quality disruption-ridden educational system, inaccessibility to quality health care,rising cost of living, and a ruling class living extravagantly in the face of the widening gulf between the rich and poor.

Truth be told, many of our youths see no future for themselves in this country. This was why the EndSARS protest of 2020, which began as a protest against police brutality, quickly snowballed into a mass movement against a country that has failed them. Many parents here can testify that our youths would rather migrate, even illegally, to greener pastures in other countries and, where migration isn’t possible, resort to anti-social behavior inimical to the unity, peace and progress of the country.  He concluded.

 

 

Utomi Jerome-Mario  via Jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374

 

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