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Vision 2020: Obasanjo’s Agenda, Dead On Arrival, Mere Joke – APC

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Programme Ruined By Complacency, Infrastructural Decay, Lack Of Human Capital –Soludo

Most APC, PDP Leaders Are Totally Incompetent – CUPP

Successive Governments Abandoned The Vision – -Johnson Chukwu, MD Cowries Asset

LUKMON AKINTOLA

LAGOS

Vision 2020: The Birth

In 2006 when Vision 2020 was conceived by erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo, the idea was genius-like, a magical route to utopia.

The need to plan on a noticeable growth pattern after almost 30 years of underdevelopment was really exciting such that it was quickly executed.

It was the same excitement that gripped Nigerians, especially those languishing in poverty. For this sect, Vision 2020, was the road to the promised land, as all they had to do was hold on and survive till 2020, and they would be home and dry.

For them, the country would have made a turn for good, and become the global destination for businessmen and women, one of the 20 largest economies in the world.

In the eye of the common man, simply put, the dividends of Vision 2020 would rid the country of all suffering, sickness, poverty, unemployment among other challenges. Such was the expectation from Vision 2020.

“They told us in secondary school then that by 2020 all would be okay, Nigerians won’t have to travel abroad again, we won’t have to import anything, we would be self-reliant, but I am married today with children, and it is all the same thing, in fact even worse, “ Bukola Ajasa, a Lagos-based lawyer told Saturday INDEPENDENT.

Drafted by some of the greatest eggheads from Nigeria and abroad, they toiled night and day for over nine months to achieve a draft of the document, before it was officially launched in September 2009.

Though considered ambitious by some, some insisted that if properly articulated and executed to its fullest capacity, and with other rightful indices in place, the policy was capable of turning Nigeria into one of the biggest economies in the world, making it consolidate its leadership role in Africa and turning the country into a significant player in the global political arena.

Why not, after all the country had already been recognised as possessing the biggest economy in the West African sub-region due to its resource endowment and coastal location. Indeed, such potentials made world powers.

Aside from this, there were provisions for almost all concerns in the policy, as the draft covered matters concerning special interest groups such as women, people with disabilities, media, labour, youth and what have you.

The policy was also robust, as it had the National Council on Vision 2020, National Steering Committee, National Technical Working Group, The Stakeholder Development Committee, the Economic Management Team and many others.

Despite all of these, there were however problems likely to affect the proper execution of the policy. The issues put were teething problems.

A country highly dependent on positive fluctuating crude oil prices, also lacking in infrastructure development, poor distribution of electric power, and a poor manufacturing industry among others, it would indeed be hard to achieve some of the goals of the policy with these issues.

But Nigerians who hoped to benefit from the policy were comforted by the fact that the target year was several years away.

Planning Stage

A policy well-drafted, its executors realised that for it to become a reality, it had to be broken down into sections, and hence there was the Building Solid Foundation stage. This was projected to last between 2008 and 2010. This stage was to see to the execution of the first two components of the framework, the National Council on Vision 2020 (NCV2020) and the National Steering Committee (NSCV 2020) by April 2007, with a review of the NSCV2020 and all current strategies and related documents. It was also supposed to refine the framework of the Vision 2020 development process.

Achieving the MDGS enroute 2020, was the next phase and it was also to run between 2011 and 2015.

By end of January 2008, the NSCV2020 was expected to set up the National Technical Working Groups, one in each of the key areas of national priority and all stakeholder groups were expected to establish their Vision 2020 Committees. The committees were to work closely with stakeholder vision committees to develop detailed action plans and implement strategies, and commence execution of stage one of the vision.

The third stage was tagged Becoming A Top 20 Economy By 2020, expected to span between 2015 and 2020. At this stage, the NSC would have developed detailed key goals and targets that must be met to achieve convergence with the projected position of the top 20 economies. The goals and targets would be cascaded into sectors and sub-national levels.

Actualised, Nigeria would have been a fantasy land flowing with milk and honey by 2020.

The Reality

But what obtains today is the opposite of expectations. Hardly has any of the goals in the vision been achieved. There is hardly qualitative education for the average Nigerian. Also, the state of the country’s infrastructure continues to decline, as there is hardly infrastructure to mobilise all economic sectors. Yet there is a lack of a manufacturing sector that can add at least 40 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Nigeria can hardly boast of a health sector that can sustain life expectancy of not less than 70 years, a modern technologically enabled agricultural sector that fully exploits the vast economic resources of the country. All of these and more were the anticipated dividends of the Vision 2020 policy.

Though economists say that Nigeria is currently the 27th biggest economy in the world, there are hardly visible parameters to prove this.

But how did Nigeria as a country get it wrong, how did all of the promises of Vision 2020 die, bearing in mind that almost all the BRIC nations covered by the Goldman Sach’s report which initiated the Vision 2020 policy are now leading economies?

The Problems

Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chukwuma Soludo painted a clear picture of the futility that Vision 2020 was from the start when he created the impression in an article that the concept wasn’t adequately researched and studied before its total execution.

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Soludo, who was also one of the think-tanks of the planning process of Vision 2020, narrated how he drew the attention of then, President Olusegun Obasanjo, to a Goldman Sach’s report on the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), and the next 11 countries expected to have the largest economies by 2025.

According to him, the report had speculated a lower growth rate than what Nigeria had between 2004 and 2005. Soludo, in his article revealed that Obasanjo’s conclusion following his mention of the growth rate was that Nigeria could even achieve the vision by 2020, hence the conceptualisation and adaptation of Vision 2020, as against an unbiased position by Goldman Sach’s report.

As if that was not bad enough, the Vision 2020 policy was officially unveiled to top-level government officials that very day. This was done without any recourse for the validation of the Goldman Sach’s report, and indeed independent research by elite stakeholders to confirm the possibility of such a report being adapted in Nigeria, and to what scale.

In 2008, while speaking as guest speaker at the 6th Convocation of Babcock University, Ilishan, Ogun State, Soludo revealed the failure that the vision was likely to become when he said: “If Nigeria is to achieve the quest of becoming one of the global economic powers in 2020, the country must radically change its complacent attitude to work and decisively tackle the problem of infrastructural decay.”

Soludo also said: “We must be ready to work for 72 hours in a 24 hour day if Nigeria is to achieve the 2020 vision of becoming one of the great economies in the world.”

He also advocated for the development of a robust human capital base, adding that the country would need to establish structures that would empower Nigerians to develop their potentials.

On his part, Johnson Chukwu, Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited blamed the failure of the policy on a lack of continuity, adding that there was no government to pursue it, as respective governments after the policy had evolved have been coming with their policies which were not aligned with the Vision 2020 policy.

Chukwu said: “If you look at Vision 2020, the performance target that was defined, I would think that most of the targets were observed in abeyance, they were observed in abeyance. If you look at the target in terms of educational coverage, we have never had this number of school-age children who are out of school. At the last count, we had more than 13,000,000 out of school-age children. In terms of poverty, the number has been more than 34,000,000, more than 40 percent of the nation’s population. In terms of housing deficit, we have not made any progress because we still have more housing deficit, we have about 17,000,000 housing deficit currently in the country. In terms of eradication of communicable diseases, maybe one or two like meningitis are said to have been eradicated. Maybe, on that front, we can say we have eradicated a few of the communicable diseases. So, that could count as a positive. In terms of infrastructure, we have not done well. So, on a score of 1 to 10, one could say most of the targets set for Vision 2020 were not met.”

Explaining the failure of Vision 2020, Chukwu said he doubted if anyone was ever focused on Vision 2020 after it was launched. According to him: “Each government has had its policy. The Yar’adua government came up with its Seven-Point Agenda. Then under Jonathan, they had the Transformation Agenda which was not exactly aligned to the Vision 2020 policy. Under the Buhari government, we have the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. On that basis, I will say none of the governments that came after the evolution of the Vision 2020 plan was focused on driving it.”

Asked if the policy was too ambitious, Chukwu disagreed, stating that the issue was the absence of a Nigerian government to drive the policy. “If you look at the plan, there is no doubting the fact that should it have been achieved, the country would have leapfrogged in terms of social-economic development,” he concluded.

Detailing why the policy and others subsequently made by governments of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed, National Publicity Secretary, All Progressive Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said: “Part of the problem we have in this country is to put policies in place and not execute them or implement them haphazardly or half-heartedly. Obasanjo, who put the policy in place, how much of structure did he put to ensure the fulfillment of that vision? And the same thing you have under him, we had under subsequent PDP governments. They can’t see anything through because they have never focused on governance. They have focused on some other primordial issues, and are concerned about self-aggrandisement. Otherwise, why didn’t Yar’adua whose government was also a PDP government continue with the Vision 2020 policy? He abandoned it, even Obasanjo didn’t lay any foundation for it. How much of structure did he put in place for the transformation agenda? The next government came, the Jonathan government, and did not have anything to do with it, rather, it came with its transformation agenda. How much of transformation did we see under him? We only saw a few people whose lives were transformed by a form of massive stealing of public funds that they took, and they became overnight millionaires. And don’t also forget that even the millennium goals was also under the PDP government, and you know that Nigeria performed woefully because even that which was an international benchmark; we never met any of them. So, we are not surprised that nobody remembers that vision because right from President Obasanjo who put it in place, the whole thing was a joke. It was just a mere joke. It’s only now that you have a structured approach to governance. You can clearly define what this government is doing, and progressively you can see how it is advancing in terms of infrastructure, in terms of providing security. Obasanjo saw no vision, and if you can’t see any vision, you can’t implement one.”

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All efforts to get the reactions from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed as the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan neither picked his calls nor replied the messages sent to him.

Mallam Issa-Onilu, while evaluating the Change Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari said: “We are supposed to be building on an existing foundation. But there is no existing foundation. You lay a foundation on infrastructure road maps. You lay a foundation with economic blueprint. You lay a foundation by putting in place a security strategy for the country. None of this was available in 2015. Now you can see clearly that Nigeria is becoming a massive construction site in terms of road, railway, waterways, and airports. And nobody can deny this, and it is in every one of the 36 states of the country including the Federal Capital Territory. So, people can follow the map, they can follow the graph, they can see what is going on. People in Lagos know that in a few months, they can take a modern railway to Ibadan, Abeokuta. People in Kwara know that in three years, it will be their turn. People in Kaduna know that after Kwara, it will come to them. The same thing in the coastal area of the South-South and southeast and also in Maiduguri. In the same way, we are having gradual and steady developments of road networks. And we knew what the security condition was before this government took over. If you were living in Abuja in 2015 and you are still living there now, you will know what I am talking about. You know half of Abuja was barricaded because of the tendency of someone bombing a public building; many of the roads were divided into two. We don’t have that anymore. There was a time in Abuja that you couldn’t just walk into a mall. If you are walking into one, it is with your heart in your mouth, but today you can walk into any mall without thinking of anything. There are still challenges, a lot of challenges, but nobody can deny that we are not making progress.”

Analysing the successes and failures of Vision 2020, spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere said: “The vision is a total failure because if it had achieved any single thing, Nigeria wouldn’t have been the poverty capital of the world. We wouldn’t have been among the top 10 nations that are not secured. There is no way that if Vision 2020 had worked the banditry activities you are seeing in all parts of the country would be in the increase that is impossible. If vision 2020 which had a component that had to do with economic empowerment had worked and a greater number of people were pulled from the poverty level to a certain economic level, they wouldn’t have been involved in all sorts of petty crimes. Today, we have more petty crimes than we have ever had in the history of Nigeria. Young people are getting involved in all sorts. Even in Vision 2020, there is no room for educational revolution, then what happens to educational enrolment? Enrolment has dropped and about 13 million Nigerians are out of school. So, if you look at all the components that have to do with securing the nation, economic empowerment, education for all, they are a total failure. This thing is becoming a yearly ritual that the government comes with one stupid vision or the other. I call it stupid vision because they have no plan of building institutions that will sustain those visions. When a new government comes, they abandon the vision, which is one of the challenges. We are already hearing the present government talking about a Development Plan which is not a part of what we had in vision 2020.

“All these development plans, when a new government comes are thrown away. Those projects are not continued because everybody wants to play to the gallery, and the institutions are not there. And that is why we as the opposition have been shouting that it is better to have a strong institution than to have a strong leader. Whosoever might have proposed Vision 2020 might have been a strong leader, but now he has gone; now you have nonentity as leaders at different levels. So, there is no way that those visions can be implemented. And this continues to be a style with which they keep looting the resources of the people. There is not going to be an improvement with the kind of leaders that we have, not just because President Buhari is incompetent which is not in doubt, but other leaders at different levels. Most of the leaders in the PDP and the APC are totally incompetent. So, how do incompetent leaders drive a vision? They don’t even know what a vision is asides from giving Wheel Barrows and Sewing Machines as empowerment. And that is why we said in our 2020 message that the future of economic development in the country and accountable leadership rest with the people. The people should stop being cowards and rise up against these leaders who are stealing their resources. Rise against any leader who is breaching the law. That is the only way that we can have a sustainable vision, if not politicians will continue to make decisions for you and continue to steal your money.”

However, a paper by the duo of K. Asaju and A. Albert titled ‘Vision 20: 2020 Realities and Challenges’ identified issues such as low development of science and technology, inadequate infrastructural facilities in terms of good roads, power, low level of industrialisation, lack of budget, policy inconsistency and continuity as challenges that hampered the actualisation of the policy.

The duo also listed ineffective human resources development, high rate of poverty and unemployment, high rate of corruption, and lack of good governance as other challenges of the Vision 2020 policy.

A failed policy, the implication is a worsening country, even as the dream of being one of the 20 largest economies stares the nation from millions and millions of miles afar.

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Opinion

Let this be the Year you Really COMMITT to a New Year’s Resolution!

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By: Tony Ogunlowo

It’s 2020, a new year and a new decade. You spent the latter part of last year putting together a list of New Year resolutions – things to do, things to stop doing and things you aspire to do.

It all looks good. Come January the 1st and you’re all fired up and ready to go and you start in earnest: you go on a diet and go to the gym every day to lose weight; you stop drinking and smoking or start work on that dream project.


Every day of January you are still busy implementing your New Year’s Resolution (- and talking about it non-stop!), by the middle of February your enthusiasm begins to drop and you start slacking, skipping things to do. By the end of March most people would have abandoned their New Year’s resolution altogether and gone back to their old habits: they don’t go to the gym anymore and forget their diet, others start drinking and smoking again and dream projects start to gather dust.

Why?
The answer is simply a lack of commitment. It’s a ‘fad’ to have a New Year’s Resolution: everyone else has one so why not you? It becomes a talking point in the December of the preceding year and to not have one probably means you’re from another planet! So you come up with one.

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And this is where the next problem comes in – a New Year’s Resolution is not a carefully thought out plan but rather a hastily crafted spur-of-the-moment thought – “I’m going to stop smoking next year”, “I’m going to lose weight next year” or “I’m going to start my own business next year”.
My first question would be to ask why wait till the New Year?  START NOW!!

And if you intend to start now or next year, where’s your action plan? And this is where everybody’s New Year Resolution falls apart – there is no plan! There is the will (or intention) to do it but no concrete step-by-step plan to achieve it. Say you want to stop smoking are you going to cut down gradually till you stop completely or are you going to stop and use nicotine patches to wean yourself off it or are you going to go full cold turkey ? If you are starting a new business what is your action plan for Month 1, Month 2, Month 3 and so on? Without an action plan for your New Year’s Resolution your enthusiasm will be limited. The enthusiasm for “I’m building a house next year” is different to that of “I’m laying the foundation for my new house in February next year”.

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And then there comes “commitment”: you show a different kind of commitment to studying hard and passing your final exams than you do to keeping a New Year’s Resolution. Is passing your exams more important than keeping a New Year’s resolution? NO! Anything we aspire to do in life requires the same level of commitment – and this is what a lot of people need to work on; commitment, commitment, commitment. Even if you are in a relationship and you don’t show the right level of commitment it’ll fall apart.

The best way to be more committed to achieving anything in life is to burn your bridges – it’s the best recipe for success! It sounds drastic but it works! It changes your mindset and is a great motivator. If you burn your bridges and can’t retreat you’ll be forced to force yourself to succeed no matter what because you’ll have no other option, nothing to fall back on to so you have to make it work!

So if you start something, have a good action plan, the right enthusiasm and the right commitment and you’ll finish it. You won’t drop out and you won’t quit! So let this be the year you really commit to effecting change in your life.

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Opinion

Youth Unemployment: Another Disaster Waiting

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Bad roads
Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Works

 

-After 10 Years Of Unemployment, I Resort To Learning New Things To Earn A Living, Man Cries

-Government Jobs Are Difficult To Get Except You Buy Them-Shola Akintunde, Job Seeker 

-Unemployment In FCT Is Growing Geometrically, Kelvin Ike, Director of Statistics

 

Lukmon Akintola, Felix Igbekoyi, Justice Iyasere, Toyin Adebayo, Yaqoub Popoola, Christian Nwokocha

Lagos, Owerri, Asaba, Warri, Abuja, Ekiti

Youth unemployment is fast becoming a global trend, as countries all over the world have a varying percentage.

Economist considers unemployment rate as the number of people in the workforce divided by the number of people looking for jobs but not working.

This number does not include students and retirees due to the fact that they are not considered as looking for work. It also does not include discouraged workers, people who have given up on finding a job.

According to a research conducted by Statista, the global youth unemployment rate stood at 13.2 in 2019, the rate at which it had been since 2016. Prior to then, it fluctuated between 12. 9 and 13.1.

In 2017, Burkina Faso led the global unemployment chart with 77 percent. Basically, it meant that for every 100 members of the workforce, 77 did not have jobs at the time of the survey.

Other countries with a huge percentage in terms of unemployment as at 2017 included Syria with 50 percent, Senegal with 48 percent, Haiti with 40.6 and Kenya with 40 percent.

Djibouti also had an alarming unemployment rate with 40 percent, while Marshall Islands had 36 percent, and Namibia’s percentage stood 36.

Unemployment is not peculiar with African countries alone as it is also a problem in more developed countries although in less percentage.

In 2018, the unemployment rate in the United Kingdom (UK); was put at 4.1 percent, the lowest it has been since the mid-1970s.

Between 2000 and 2008, unemployment in the UK fluctuated between 4.8 and 5.7 percent, before it rose suddenly in 2009 to 7.6 percent. After peaking at 8.1 percent in 2011, the unemployment rate gradually declined before returning to the level seen in the early 2000s.

Statistics show that in the first quarter of 2019, the unemployment rate in the UK fell even further to 3.8 percent, before increasing slightly in the second quarter to 3.9 percent. This amounted to approximately 1.3 million unemployed people, which was around 700 thousand fewer than it was just five years earlier.

In Nigeria, the youth unemployment rate is also at an alarming rate with young men and women being pushed into the labour market annually randomly.

While it is naturally assumed that conflict is the main cause of migration leading to unemployment in developing countries, there are peculiarities with each and every country.

In 2012, the number of unemployed youths in Nigeria was put at about 11.1 million, 12.9 percent.

By the third quarter of 2018, it had risen to 23.1 percent of the workforce, up from 18.1 percent a year earlier. This is according to Statistician General of the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria (NBSN), Yemi Kale.

Statistic from various states and Abuja, the capital of Nigeria make up these figures. The NBS put the rate of unemployed Abuja residents as 8.74.

The state of unemployment in the capital city of Abuja is better understood in the words of some of the city’s residents. 40 years old Stephen Acka said: “I have been unemployed for the past 10 years. Every effort to get another job is yet to yield fruit. I have to rely on learning new things in order to earn an income. The income though has not been regular, it is better than nothing.”

 25-year-old Grace Samuel stated that she has never had a steady job since graduating.  “I graduated over five years ago. Most of the companies I have been involved with either folded up or are unable to pay my salary at some point in time,” she said.

“I cannot say I have had any fantastic job. In Nigeria, you get jobs easily when you are connected. Government jobs are more difficult to get except you have someone that can help you or you buy the job,” Shola Akintunde said.

On his part, Sikiru Usman revealed that most of the jobs he has had have been in the private sector, but with ridiculous salaries. He now drives a Taxi in Abuja to make ends meet. Such are the experiences of a few residents of Abuja, but it is indeed a reflection of a bigger picture.

The alarming rate of unemployment in the FCT is also buttressed by the Director of Statistics, FCTA Department of Economic Planning Research and Statistics, Kevin Ike.

According to Ike, “Unemployment in Federal Capital Territory (FCT); is growing geometrically instead of arithmetically although none of the proportions are good. When it’s growing on a geometric proportion, it means it is growing at a supersonic speed. How did we get to this level? It is because of both Nigerians in the FCT and the city administrators. They were not prepared for it, we are not prepared to have this number of people looking for jobs in FCT, the jobs were not created.

“We don’t have seaports, no airport, what we have is just passenger airport and there are no industries.  Many people would want to invest in FCT. I think the bureaucracy of going into business here is something the government should look into. There should be a deliberate attempt to attract large industries, manufacturing industries, and corporate organisations in order to accommodate the number of school leavers who are looking for jobs here.

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“FCT is the seat of government, so almost all the corp members who passed out don’t go anywhere; they stay in Abuja looking for greener pastures.  The rate of job seekers in the capital is alarming. All these politicians that come to Abuja, they don’t come to FCT alone they come with legions of men and women. So, Abuja will continue to be a host of all these job seekers until we are able to turn the city into both an administrative and business capital.

“A large portion of Abuja land should be dedicated to investors, especially large industries such as petrochemical companies, production companies, and marketing companies. Companies should also come in. We have a chunk of land for Agriculture and there is no mechanised means of Agriculture in FCT. If it continues like this, in the nearest future, people will start running from Abuja instead of running into Abuja. The rate of vices will grow to a level that they are going to pursue us from the city. The decentralisation of places like Maitama and Asokoro within the seat of power would also help,” Ike said.

The situation is no different in Delta State, a state located in the South-South region of Nigeria. The troubling reality was made vivid when the Delta State Government recently announced vacancies for 1000 classroom teachers specifically targeted at the riverine areas of the state.

For the 1000 vacancies, over 50,000 qualified persons applied. This is the true situation of things. The situation is not helped by the loss of jobs arising from hitherto buoyant businesses folding up.

Saturday INDEPENDENT’s visit to Premium Steel and Mines Limited formerly known as Delta Steel Company, Ovwian-Aladja confirmed the already known fact that there is a high percentage of unemployed youths in the state, as a heap of unsolicited applications from job seekers was seen in the office of the Human Resources Manager (HRM).

At McDermott Yard in Warri which used to house as many as 20 companies, the situation was not better, as the bubbling business location had turned a shadow of itself, with most of the companies shut down and their staffs plunged back into the labour market.

The situation has thus seen individuals with Masters Degree turning to tricycle riders, all in a bid to make ends meet.  The ugly picture of graduates turning tricycle drivers is common at Udu Local Government where an average of over 5000 commercial riders operates.

The unemployment rate in the state is also visible in the number of Nigerian graduates visiting the website of the Nigerian Federal Government, N-Power for a monthly stipends of N30,000,oo, while female graduates are forced into prostitution with some even leaving the country for places such as Italy where they can ply the trade internationally.

While it would be expected that the state government would be able to alleviate the problems of the people, it appears that it is beyond them.

Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeayin Okowa painted this picture recently when he said that the Federal government allocation to the state had dropped drastically from what it used to be, adding that a state which used to be paid N 7billion now gets N 3billion. He revealed that the present economic down tune, coupled with the debt profile of the state, which runs into N637.22 billion had not helped the situation.

Okowa was quoted saying: “I just learnt from the Accountant General of the state that this month allocation is about N3 billion. This cannot even pay the wage bill of workers. The low allocation is as a result of the recent pipeline vandalism in the state, this will also affect our allocation up to the month of August. This criminal act is destroying our state and preventing Deltans from enjoying the dividends of democracy to the fullest.

“It would be illogical for a state that is grappling to meet its payroll obligation to start employing more persons,” Okowa said, adding that his administration has done its best to meet up with its electoral promises through infrastructural development, and youth empowerment programmes as encapsulated in his SMART agenda.

Indeed, the Senator Okowa-led government has been diversifying the state’s economy via the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneur Programme (YAGEP) and the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) under which over 17,000 employment opportunities have been supposedly provided.

At a recent Orientation and Personal Effectiveness Workshop for trainees, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Youth Monitoring and Mentoring, Eddy Mekwuye, represented by Senior Special Assistant to the Government on Youth Monitoring and Mentoring, Olorogun Frank Ozue, said the Governor’s vision was to take youths off the streets in order to create employment for them, curb youth restiveness and to build entrepreneurs that would drive the economy of the state.

He reiterated the state government’s commitment to monitoring and mentoring of trainees during training and after establishment to ensure sustainability of the programmes.

The trainees were enrolled in various STEP skills such as Catering and Confectionery; Decoration and Event Management; Fashion Design and Textile Design; Cosmetology (Skin and Facial Care); Hairdressing and Makeover, including Braiding; Information Technology Services (Open to youths with a minimum of OND/NCE; and Welding and Fabrication. Other skills are Electrical and Solar Works; Carpentry and Joinery; Tiling and Interlocking; Plumbing; Production of Cleaning Agents; POP, Screed-Making and Painting; and Audio-visual Services.

Aside from that, the government has also embarked on a weeding process of ghost workers in the state’s employ; a move which it has assured would yield results that will help the economy.

Despite this, there have been questions regarding the cancellation of created jobs such as EduMarshal and Environmental Marshals that were already playing significant role in the state.

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If the situation is bad in Delta State, it is worse in Ekiti State, a state referred to as Civil Service State due to its lack of employment from industries, a state dominated by government-owned agencies and institutions.

With arguably the highest number of workforce in the South West, the state is said to have as high as 50,000 workers while almost same number of youths are also unemployed.

Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) remains the largest private employers of labour in the state with staff strength of about 3000.

The unemployment level is mirrored by the governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, when he decried the over 20,000 applicants into the University Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

Seeking solutions to the problem of huge unemployment in the state, the governor, like his counterparts in other states advocated entrepreneurial skills and knowledge-based economy to address the sharp shortfall in jobs, while allegedly considering the sack of some of the state’s staff.

Reacting to the move by the state government, the Chairmen of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Com. Sola Adigun, Nigerian Labour Congress (NBC), Com. Kolapo Olatunde and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Com Kayode Fatomiluyi, Adigun advocated the an increase in internally generated revenues.

“Government must look inwards and increase its IGR. Nigeria Customs Service has increased its monthly revenue generations, by plugging all loopholes. There is also increment in oil supply at the international level, all these will help Ekiti economy in 2020, as sacking civil servants is not the best option,” he said.

The NLC chairman, Com Olatunde and his counterpart in JNC, Com. Fatomiluyi advised that government shouldn’t perceive sack as panacea to irregular payment of salaries.

It is also not different in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria, as residents of the zone are groaning over the high rate of unemployment too. This is despite the years of resourceful efforts and entrepreneurship drives by different governments.

According to the former Minister of National Planning Commission, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman who spoke during the opening of Gross Domestic Computation in Nigeria for the South East located in Awka, Anambra State had the lowest unemployment rate with 10% in 2012, while Enugu State recorded 18.7% in 2018. The situation has since increased leaving young school leavers on the streets looking for jobs to help family members who spent their hard-earned resources to get them educated.

In the South East, residents of cities like Aba, Nnewi, Onitsha appears to be self-sufficient judging from the volume of commerce and industrialisation from the area. These are cities where everybody seems to have something doing to earn a living.

However, the story is different in states such as Awka, Abakiliki, Enugu, Owerri and Umuahia known for Civil Service jobs. Interestingly, there are also millions of youth and others above 50 years looking for jobs.

While it might be hard to show adequate data to confirm the alarming rate of unemployment in the South East, one fact remains that universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and vocational schools in the zone like other zones in Nigeria continue to push new graduates into the labour despite the fact that previous graduates continue to seek jobs.

In Ebonyi State, the commissioner for Information, Barrister Uchenna Orji said the state has an office for Planning and Statistics responsible for issues relating to employment and unemployment.

Speaking on the state’s unemployment level, Orji said: “The unemployment rate had reduced to 30%, stating that the state had been reduced to a construction site and people are usefully engaged. You can determine this when you check the crime rate. When there is employment, the crime rate reduces.

“We have empowerment programmes of government and attitudinal change. You can also measure this with the outstanding records of unemployment. Over N7m has been earmarked for children out of schools. We have a database and it targeted at University graduates, vocational, entrepreneur, technicians and Craftsmen.”

While statistics for unemployment in Abia State are not readily available, the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu is known to have inaugurated “Education for Employment Scheme,” a move to reduce unemployment and elevate Small and Medium Scale Entreprises (SME). While some say that the move has yielded results, others maintain that an unemployment rate of 17.5% as at April 2019 is not good enough.

Like many other states in Nigeria, Imo State has also not feared better, as the state’s established office for Directorate for employment which was set up in 1988, and attached to the office of the then military governor to create and supplement the efforts of the Federal Government at reducing unemployment appears not to have yielded any meaningful result.

Meant to help the youth to articulate, implement and create self-employment jobs that will form the basis for self-reliance, our correspondent could not find out from the office of the state statistics what the official record of unemployment was. However, unofficial sources put it as the highest in the South East at 31.3%.

While it might be difficult to talk about total eradication of youth unemployment and individual states continue to advocate self-employment, one fact which stares Nigerians both old and young in the face remains that there is an alarming rate of youth unemployment which is likely to trigger other negative and damning vices, even as more people not considered youths continue to seek jobs to do.
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Opinion

Ihedioha’s Sack Is Prophecy Fulfilled For Primate Ayodele

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Associates of Primate Elijah Ayodele, founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke Afa, Ejigbo, Lagos State, have reacted to the Supreme Court judgment of Tuesday, January 14th which kicked Emeka Ihedioha out of office as Imo State Governor.

Recall that Ihedioha was sacked by a Supreme Court judgment with All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate Hope Uzodinma named the governor of the state.

A consensus of reactions that that have surfaced since the judgment have described the development as a prophecy fulfilled for Primate Ayodele who had earlier prophesied about the situation in January.

While speaking with a cross-section of journalist in Ekiti State sometime ago, Prophet Ayodele had stated that not all Governors, Senator, and members of House of Representatives elected into office will see the end of their first term.

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The man of God had said: “APC is very spiritual, the PDP should note this and work on it. APC will take Kaduna, Kano, Gombe Jigawa, and Nasarawa, but they won’t take Adamawa.

”Jigawa, Gombe Adamawa, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers will be war zones in the coming polls. Governor Akeredolu should be prayerful so he won’t face daunting challenges. He must work so well on the court case. Not all the governors will complete their time.”

For associates of the man of God, the latter part of the prophecy which stated that not all the governors will complete their term has validated Ihedioha’s sack from office, and thus is a prophecy fulfilled.

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Later this year, Primate Ayodele who is described as one of Nigeria’s leading prophets notable for prophesying long before incidents will release a new book detailing his 10, 000 fulfilled prophesies, an achievement which no prophet has ever done.

Some of his 2019 prophesies which have since been fulfilled include his advice to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to adopt Senator Bukola Saraki as he is the only person that can oust President Buhari from office. Primate Ayodele is also known to have prophesied about the outcome of the Kogi and Bayelsa States elections, the emergence of Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK) among others.

 

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