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Protest greets youth empowerment programme in Anambra

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Youth-empowerment
Protest greets youth empowerment programme in Anambra

Anambra state government has empowered 53 unemployed youths under the fourth batch of the “One Youth One Skill” training empowerment programme of the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy.

The beneficiaries who were among the over 200 trained in different skills, including cosmetology, barbing, shoe making, confectioneries, solar and CCTV installation were empowered with various starter packs.

While the lucky participants were jubilating after receiving their packages, some trainees whose names did not make the list, however expressed disappointment over the selection process, insisting they were shortchanged.

One of them who preferred anonymity said he had to abandon the menial job he was doing to undergo the training due to the confidence he had in the programme.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes after taking time to check the list because I’m sure of my capabilities and excellence in the exam. I’m totally disappointed in this government and don’t think I’ll have anything to do with them,” he said.

Another trainee, who simply identified herself as Chinenye, alleged what she termed as ‘last minutes manipulation’ of the list. According to her, some of the beneficiaries did not undergo the training.

But the Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Prof. Theresa Obiekezie, dismissed the allegations, insisting the selection process was not faulty but transparent.

She described the protesters as ingrates, but assured that they would be captured in subsequent programmes.

She said, “Out of the 4million youths in the state, you were singled out for the training. Each of you got a transport allowance of N10,000 and you were trained free of charge. Someone paid for the training and that’s the state governor.

“At the beginning, you were told that 50 of you will be empowered and today, we’re empowering 53 persons and you said you are not happy. That’s an unfair statement, very unfair. If there’s something else we want to give you, I won’t ask for that, because a grateful heart gets more.

“So many of you are graduates, yet you’re not working, even after paying for your fees. I don’t think you’ll beat anybody up. Today someone else paid for you, yet you said you’re not happy. Maybe another sets of youths will be happy.

“In every exam, everyone might pass, but some will do better than others. I didn’t examine you. I rather received the scores from your tutors. I personally went round all the centers and the exams were videoed.”

Obiekezie explained that the successful candidates were given starter packs for immediate commencement of business, while those who did not receive would continue with the internship programme.

“We’re not dropping any of them. Rather, they will continue with internship to perfect their skills under couching and mentoring arrangements. We will also source for other ways to assist them, including grants and loans,” she assured.

Also speaking, one of the trainers on Cosmetology, Samuel Otugo said the reactions of the aggrieved trainees were not unexpected, insisting the selection process was based on merit.

He said, “They can’t be too sure of their performance. Truth is that the selection was done by merit because they were all subjected to an examination. It’s only natural that those who didn’t receive start up packs today will feel bad.

“But for me, all of them were empowered because the empowerment starts with knowledge and skills. That’s the real empowerment.”

Profile: From Ozuitem, Bende Local government Area of Anambra State. Political science (B. Sc) from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka & Business Administration (Diploma) from the University of Calabar. Email him at elekwachinedum@yahoo.com

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