Delta Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has said that the entrepreneurship development initiative of his administration in vocational skills was a deliberate effort to mitigate poverty, stamp out youth restiveness and meaningfully engage the unemployed youths in the state in productive ventures.
Okowa made this known on Thursday while inaugurating the second cycle of Girls Entrepreneurship and SkillsTraining (GEST) programme at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Issele-Uku, Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state.
He said that his administration had always believed that the solution to the current unemployment quagmire in the state was through entrepreneurship development, which would also help in curbing youth restiveness.
The governor stated that the strategy of his administration was to equip the youths with relevant knowledge and resources to engage in vocational skills-based micro and cottage enterprises.
According to him, this becomes more exigent with fewer job vacancies in the civil service and the oil and gas sector, especially as the future of the global oil and gas industry is hanging in the balance with the development of alternative sources of energy.
He called on beneficiaries of the GEST scheme to demonstrate willingness to learn and show capacity to grow in their respective vocations.
“I must say that the pioneer set has set a good example for you to follow; they are partly the reason we doubled the number of beneficiaries from 450.
“You have even better reason to excel because unlike them, you are having the benefit of a three-day residential orientation programme,” the governor said.
He implored the 900 beneficiaries of the programme to justify the trust and confidence of government in choosing to invest in their future by leveraging on the programme to enhance their socio-economic status.
He expressed satisfaction with the praise reports about the pioneer set of GEST, noting that many of the first set of beneficiaries of the programme had proved to be worthy of the state government’s investment in them.
“We are pleased with the praise reports we keep hearing about the pioneer set of GEST. Many of them have proved to be worthy of our investment; they have impressed with their passion, resourcefulness, creativity and determination to succeed,” Okowa said.
While commending the Girl-Child Empowerment Office for its focus and dedication and for being able to select 900 participants from the pool of no fewer than 21,000 applications, he said that the list of beneficiaries was representative enough, using objective data and indices peculiar to the socio-political environment in the state, was worthy of applause.
He said that his administration did not measure success by efforts but by output, adding that focus should be on outcomes and not inputs.
The governor urged people in the state to eschew sentiments and shun parochial considerations.
In her goodwill message, the wife of the governor, Dame Edith Okowa, expressed joy with the pedigree of beneficiaries of the programme most of whom, she said, had sound academic qualifications.
She underscored the importance of vocational skills and charged the beneficiaries to ensure that they became new crop of entrepreneurs by putting the knowledge that they would acquire at the end of the day into maximum use.
On her part, the Commissioner for Humanitarian and Community Support Services, Bridget Anyafulu, said that the Girl-Child Office was created to bridge the gap of girls between the ages of 18 and 30 years in skills development and empowerment.
Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Girl-Child Empowerment, Mrs Marilyn Daramola, had said that out of 21,000 applicants who wished to be part of the programme, 900 met the criteria and were selected.
She urged them to ensure that they gave their best so as to enjoy the gains tied to the programme.
Daramola called on the private sector to partner the state government in job creation and youth empowerment, adding that no government can provide for the masses all alone.
She disclosed that she was impressed with the success recorded in raising the pioneer set of the programme and urged the new set of beneficiaries to maximize the opportunity.