Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji has called for an end to the era of playing politics with technical and vocational skill acquisition programmes in Nigeria.
He stated this in Aba during the graduation ceremony of 1000 Abia youths who were trained by the Industrial Training Fund Institute (ITF) and National Industrial Skill Development Programme (NISP) on garment manufacturing and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Orji who was represented by his Commissioner for Youth Development, Barr. Akujuobi Oscar Nkoro said that as a largely agrarian economy, which depends on crude oil production for its survival, it will be perilous if Nigeria continues to play politics with technical and vocational skill acquisition programmes.
The governor noted that the Asians tigers like Japan and India made their marks in the world today because acquisition of skills was the most important item on their National Development Plans.
He appealed to all the stakeholders to join hands in ensuring that the graduates of the National Industrial skills Development Programme (NISDP) were gainfully employed or assisted to set up their own businesses through the granting of loan facilities.
Keynote speaker at the event, Prof. Longmas Wampmuk, said that the programme highlights the commitment by the Federal Government to empower the youths through provision of technical and vocational skills training.
” The course would be a guarantee for the speedy attainment of Nigeria’s quest to become one of the twenty most industrialized countries by the year 2020.”
Wampmuk who was represented by the chairman South-East, South-South Area Managers Forum of ITF, Ben Ngwu added that the NISDP and some other Youth Empowerment Programmes such as You Win and SURE-P demonstrate Government’s commitment to transforming the Nigerian economy to a Technology-driven and production-based economy.
“Other similar programmes being initiated by respective State Governments are also aimed at complimenting the Federal government’s efforts,” he said.
He expressed hope that by 2015, the rate of youth unemployment would drastically drop from the present 20million as was reported by the National Bureau of Statistics to 1million.
The Abia Area Manager of ITF, Mr. Gabriel Olatunji in his address stated that the Training Institute after a research on the needs assessment of the people of the State, discovered that garment manufacturing and ICT were the most pressing need of the people, which prompted them to commence the training of 500 unemployed youths on the two areas.
Olatunji added that the training of the youths on the two skills was geared towards reducing poverty and unemployment rate in the state as the trained youths were expected to become employers of labour upon graduation.