(Codewit) CONTRARY to popular impression, Anambra State is still a highly education-hungry state. From available statistic, it has more students in the universities than any other state in the Nigeria. In the past four years or so, Anambra has steadily enrolled some 9,000 students in the universities each year, slightly more than half of them males (it used to be said that males in Anambra do not go to school!). What that means is that more young people are coming out of higher schools in Anambra than in any other state and, consequently, there are probably more unemployed youths in the state they call home for all than in any other state in the federation.
That poses a lot of challenge for the state government; that is, how to provide employment to such teeming mass of unemployed youth. Fortunately, the Anambra State Government understands the gravity of the situation and is doing a lot to address it. Indeed, the Anambra Youth Re-orientation and Empowerment Programme (ANSYREP), the programme through which the Obi Administration tries to get youths in the state gainfully employed has been widely acclaimed even by those who have good reasons not to commend the actions of the state government.
Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan advised the 36 states and Abuja to cue into the Federal Governmentâ€™s job creation programme to reduce unemployment and crime in the country. The advice came against the backdrop of the disbursement of over N100million to about 1,500 youths by the Obi Administration at the phase II Awards ceremony and flag off of phase III of Anambra Youth Re-orientation and Empowerment Programme (ANSYREP) recently in Awka, where the Minister of Labour Chief Emeka Wogu represented the President. The money was disbursed to the youths who just completed training in skills acquisition in Awka. The President noted that if states cued into the programme known as YOUWIN, for which the Federal government had set aside N50 billion from which cash would be given to over 6000 youths in the first round of the training, they would be complementing the job creation effort of the federal government.
Chief Wogu praised Governor Peter Obi for helping Anambra youths to actualize their dreams through the several job creation initiatives he had implemented through Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS). According to him, empowering the youth gives them a sense of belonging and reduces unemployment.
In a speech to the beneficiaries who were handed cheques, Governor Peter Obi charged them to strive to achieve success in their various training areas because, according to him, from history, the richest men in the world today came from nothing.
â€œYou have the ideas that can change the world,â€ the governor declared. â€œThere are people who want what you can provide. You can do it. It is a matter of saying â€˜I can move from here to there.â€™ You can change here and change Nigeria.â€
He told the youths to be prudent with money they had been given, stressing that this was not the time to change wardrobe and or marry a wife. They must be determined to succeed.
He said Anambra by the empowerment programme, â€œwhich came after a detailed capacity building programme, had set a new standard in youth development by incorporating character and moral values into what would ordinarily have been treated as a vocational training, or skills acquisition programme.â€
Obi noted that the national coordinator of National Poverty Eradication programme, Dr. Magnus Kpakol once rated Anambra lowest in the country but has since singled out the state as foremost in terms of commitment to fighting poverty.
According to Dr. Okey Ikechukwu, coordinator of Anambra ANSYREP, the agency that organized the programme in conjunction with the Anambra State Government, the initial target of the training programme was 3000 but that the number eventually went up to 5131, shared among the communities and non-political groups. After a series of trainings, Ikechukwu said, the youths realized that nothing could happen for them unless they did it themselves, hence their obvious determination to succeed.