Sell your starter packs, sell your future, Okowa tells entrepreneurs

Young entreprenueurs were enthusiastic as they gathered at Songhai Delta, an agricultural training centre in Amukpe in Sapele last week for the inauguration of 2016 cycle of the state government job creation scheme.

Under the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneur Programme (YAGEP), Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and newly introduced Graduate Employment Enhancement Program(GEEP), the teeming youths were there for the 2016 training after which the state government will empower them with starter packs that are expected to make them employers of labour.

No doubt, the success stories that have been recorded in the first cycle, i.e 2015, are testimonies of how job creation scheme has become the key driver for turning unemployed youths into entrepreneurs, business owners and managers etc, all in an attempt to make Delta State, the first to turn into China in Nigeria.

So far, over 17, 173 private jobs have been created by the Okowa administration. This figure consists of 6,800 direct jobs and 10,373 indirect jobs of both skilled and unskilled workers.

This is aside from the disbursement of N546m to over 3.110 persons within the various micro, small and medium enterprises.

However, the experience of the past whereby some trainees, after collecting their starter packs, decided to sell them off did not go down well with the state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, the initiator of the job creation scheme.

Whether on agricultural or vocational skills acquisition, the state government provides tools and cash for the trainees to take off.

Regrettably, one trainee who arranged the sales of his starter pack after collecting N50, 000 from the buyer ,was promptly arrested by the police at the venue of the empowerment in Asaba where the 2015 trainees passed out.

Series of stories abound on how many of them sold out their packs and wasted the money on frivolities, thereby denying more serious persons to become successful through the programme.

Angry with the attitude of those who indulged in such act, Governor Okowa at Amukpe expressed unhappiness, but advised the 2016 batch against selling their future.

He said: “If you want to become successful, you must be passionate about what you are doing. There are some who may want to sell their starter packs, I advise you not to do so because it is like selling your future.

“You can make use of the opportunity you have now to create jobs for yourself and others and as you know, there is no job anywhere. In the first batch, over 1000 youths are doing well.

“Please help me in this programme to be studious, focused and committed because we are training you to become job creators”.

The governor later made them to take an “oath” to be job creators after their training before praying for them.

According to him, starting from 2017, the programme would run in two streams (A and B) in order to drag more youths into the job creation bracket, adding that it was his dream to make the Songhai Delta a functional training ground.