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Gov. Amaechi Tackles Youths Unemployment

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Author: Eze Chukwuemeka
Posted to the web: 11/1/2011 4:11:29 PM

Gov. Amaechi Tackles Youths Unemployment

By Eze Chukwuemeka

I arrived Port Harcourt the Rivers State, Nigeriacapital city on the 22nd October, 2011 after atwo months hiatus away on a much needed vacation to recover from the exhaustionthat was a result of the break neck schedule I had to contend with during the last April Polls in Rivers State; to be flung headlonginto an equally busy schedule as a result of the three major events held in theState to commemorate the historical and landmark judgement by the Supreme Courtof Nigeria that brought Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to power as theGovernor of the State. The first stop was the thanksgiving service on 23rd October, where the Governor described the SupremeCourt Judgement that brought him to power as an Act of God. The second event, acolloquium, featuring an esteemed panel of legal luminaries in thecountry,  was held on 25th October, 2011 theexact date four years ago when the landmark Supreme Court judgement, lauded asunprecedented in judicial rulings in the country, ruled in favour of Rt. Hon.Chibuike Amaechi, endorsing him as the authentic flag-bearer of PDP in theplace of his kinsman Sir Celestine Omehia, who had with the support of partyleadership in the state hijacked Amaechiâ's mandate and following PDPâ's victoryat the polls now held sway as Governor of the State albeit temporarily. Thethird event was an interactive session the Governor held with the Rivers StateYouths on 26th October, 2011.

In a soon to bereleased article titled ‘25th October, 2007 :Supreme Court, Obasanjo, Amaechi, Omehia and the k-leg episode – divine ordevilish? ’ I would be spotlighting the thanksgiving service and thecolloquium on the landmark Supreme Court judgement of 25thOctober, 2007. However for the purpose of this discourse I would like tofocus on the Youth Interactive Session ably anchored by an embodiment of theYouth struggle in the State and member representing the Asari Toru/Degema/AkukuToru Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Dr.Dawari George, who prior to his election into the House, served meritoriouslyas Honourable Commissioner of Energy in the State.

At the interactivesession, various suggestions on strategies to curb he malaise of unemploymentamongst youths where proffered. The Governor used the opportunity of the eventto reiterate Governmentâ's commitment to capacity building and reassured theYouth of that their issues where at the front burner of his administrationâ'spolicies.

My interest in theevent piqued as the Governor took time to enlighten both supporters and criticsof his vision about the immediate needs and most importantly the future ofRivers State Youth. This interactive session was also unique because contraryto what Amaechi critics said when such sessions where held previously, callingit a show to canvass for votes for the election”, this event served to provethe genuine concern the Governor has for this demographic group often times thebrunt of any major lull in the economy.

In choosing tothoroughly handle the subject of unemployment at the event, the Governor whoalso serves as Chairman of the Governors Forum in the country was bringing topublic consciousness the need for immediate intervention by government and theprivate sector working together to ensure that Youth are gainfully employedespecially at a time when anti patriotic elements can prey on them to fermenttrouble in the polity. It is a known fact that the idle mind is the devilâ'sworkshop.

Recent studies haveshown that 90% of crimes being committed today in our nation are mastermindedby the youths, these in itself is considered a direct outcome of unemploymentamongst the youths who after several years of graduation from high institutionsstill find themselves in the job market. A publication of Punch Newspapers of 28th October, 2011 titled “28 millionNigerian Youth unemployed – Minister” brings to fore the inherent danger facingthe nation if efforts are not made at Federal and State level to address thismalaise. In the report, the Minister of Youths Development, Mallam BolajiAbdullahi, said that of the 67million youths in the country, 28.14m (a 42 percent ratio) where unemployed and 80 percent of this number had a maximumqualification of SSCE. He spoke during the inauguration of the Youth EnterpriseWith Innovation in Nigeria Competition for North Central Zone, in Ilorin on Thursday, where he is quoted as saying “The FederalGovernment alone cannot create jobs. No matter how well-intentioned it is.There is the need for the private sector to support government in job creationand youth empowerment. If we do not find jobs for our youths, the devil willfind jobs for them”.

Rt. Hon. ChibuikeRotimi Amaechi the Governor of Rivers State while interacting with the youthsacknowledged this fact of the enormous challenges in tackling youthsunemployment when he said, “youth empowerment is the most challenging and mostdifficult aspect of governance”.


Below are some of theplans highlighted by Amaechi that will hopefully alleviate unemployment:

    He stated that the Rivers State Government has signed a long lease contract with Siat Firm to revamp and manage the RISONPALM. According to him, when fully operational it would create about 4,000 job opportunities.
    Additionally, the Rivers State Government has commenced paper work to establish and develop a N20bn Agric Scheme. According to him, “The scheme would encompass a settlement and cluster units in different areas of agriculture and is geared towards providing jobs for the teeming youths of our State”. He said the project is expected to have about 300 housing units, a processing industry and primary schools. This multi billion Naira Agricultural Scheme will be splintered into three areas of the State housing 100 families each in the 100 housing units to be constructed.
    Construction is now ongoing to construct a multi-purpose Shopping Mall located at the Front gate axis of the Government House. On completion the mall will employ about 600 youths.
    The state is embarking on establishing a Banana Farm at Ogoni where about 200 workers will be engaged.
    The Rivers State Government has established a Fish farm at Buguma where many youths are today engaged.
    He reiterated governmentâ's commitment to revamp most of its ailing companies to create jobs for the youths based on Public/private partnership to avert the pitfalls of the old system. In this regard, both the SUPABOD and the Olympia Hotel will soon be leased out.


Apart from the areasmentioned above, the Governor stated that the Rivers State Government under hiswatch apart from retraining its Teachers has employed more Teachers to teach inthe new model schools. The State he said has offered scholarships to over 2,000students in Nigerian Higher Institutions and has spent about N5bn for herstudents in foreign Intuitions. The State is building a world Class Universitywhich when completed will turn out well equipped graduates that will hold theirown in any field and compete with the best in the world. In Rivers StateUniversity of Science and Technology the Rivers State Government is building ahostel that will accommodate about 6, 000 students and accommodation for allthe Lecturers of the university. The university according to him will be fullyICT compliant.  He stated plans to buy a computer for every student in thesecondary schools to ensure that the state is ICT compliant. Itâ's important topoint out here that the Rivers State Government is among the few States in Nigeria that offer free education and freehealth delivery to its people but stands apart as the only State offering freeeducation, free sandals, free books and free uniform in Nigeria. About200 primaries schools have been set up in 200 communities, a feat that no otherstate is yet to accomplish.


So far, about 100medical Doctors have been employed to staff most of the Health Centres in therural areas. The Rivers State Government has currently embarked upon theexercise to eradicate malaria vectors from the State. The Health Centre at theRivers State University of Science and Technology will soon be opened to thepublic. The State was lauded last year for its daily commissioning of a healthcentre over a 60 day period in 60 communities in its 60-60-60 initiative. The Dental Hospitallocated in the Garrison area of Port Harcourt will soon beopened. All of these will also generate employment amongst the youths in theState.


The State intends topurchase two equipped and modern Helicopters for aerial surveillance to fightcrime in the State. Considering that foreign investors can only operate in anenabling environment, the issue of tackling the state of security is of primaryimportance because it has a multiplier effect that includes employmentgeneration. The Power Sector in the State is working tirelessly to ensure anend to epileptic power supply in the State by the year 2014 this would alsoserve to boost employment in the state and will also encourage entrepreneurshipamong the Youths.

In conclusion, RtHon. Chibuike Amaechi Rivers State Speaker of the StateHouse of Assemble from 1999-2007; Chairman, conference of speakers ofState Houses of Assembly in Nigeria.(1999 – 2000) Governor of Rivers State (2007 – date), Chairman of the GovernorsForum in Nigeria, a humanist, radical and a pragmatist added another feather tohis cap that day of the interactive session by enlightening Nigerians on whatgood governance is all about.. Going by the look of hope on the faces ofmajority of the Youths in attendance at the end of the event, it had becomeglaringly obvious that he had become a symbol of sheer tenacity and resolve tosucceed against all odds. It became quite clear to me that Amaechi had finallyshed whatever “Toga” that had plagued him during the course of his campaign forsecond tenure, when opponents where vocal about his complicity in all thatailed Rivers State giving that he held sway as Speaker for 8 years, 3 of whichwere during the dark days that preceded the end of Sir Peter Odiliâ's tenure.Suffice it to say, Amaechi has proven his mettle and shown in the last fouryears that the fateful decision of 25thOctober 2007 is one that people of the state who thronged out enmasse tothe streets of Port Harcourt on hearing the good news four yearsago will never rue.

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a MediaConsultant based in Port Harcourt,can be reached on ezemediaconcept08@rocketmail.com, 08038199163

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