By Abubakar Yusuf
Through programmes targeted at empowering young people, the Captain Idris Wada led administration has shown that it places a lot of premium on human capital development. The reason for this premium is not far-fetched-the youths are the future of any society. What this means is that any investment on them is not a waste.
It is an indisputable fact that government that neglects its youths is doomed because the youths are the future of the society. The Kogi State Government under the proactive, focused and dynamic leadership of Captain Wada recognises this fact, hence a deliberate policy to develop the youths of the state in order to prepare them for the challenges ahead as leaders of tomorrow in whose hands lies the destiny of the state.
Apart from its rich programmes which ensures amongst others; quality education, the Wada-led government has also established youth-specific platforms, initiatives, funds and schemes for the engagement and empowerment of young persons.
These include Youth Advancement and Development for Kogi State (YAD4KOOGI), the establishment of the Nigerian/Korean Friendship Institute (NKFI),known as KOICA,including the establishment of a million billion naira Dangote Automation Skill Development Centre in the state.
As a first indication that the government would not be receptive to the dehumanisation of youths, emerged when the governor voiced out against youths being used as political thugs. This, for him, was the height of dehumanisation of the state’s youth population and, therefore, he vowed not to have anything to do with it.
He soon realised that what may have pushed many of the youths into such dangerous venture is poverty. It is not in contention that prior to this time, poverty and unemployment were intertwined in the state and this was largely responsible for the various social vices that the youths were engaged in.
The administration , no doubt, has put in place far-reaching and result-oriented youth programmes that encompasses the formulation and implementation of plans, initiatives, strategies, intervention models and specific measures to achieve sustainable economic development, capacity-building, skill acquisition and alternative sources of livelihood in an environmentally sustainable manner in the state.
The Capt Wada led administration, unlike any other before it, has re-defined a new vision for the youths of the state, a vision founded on ‘youthfulness and usefulness. This, no doubt, was responsible for his uncommon passion and commitment to their advancement and welfare. He is not a leader that delights in seeing the state’s youths waste their usefulness.
As he has repeatedly emphasised; his government had pursued policies and programmes that have direct bearing on the lives of the youths, with specific emphasis on things that would enhance their productivity. He was consistently remained guided by this promise.
As stated earlier, this vision, he has religiously pursued; leaving no gaps in-between his vision and the efforts to see that his dream of building a new generation of industrious, competitive and vibrant youth population in the state is achieved.
In four years, in the life of his administration, this vision has sprouted into practical achievements, bearing visible fruits. This is a clear departure from what obtained in the past when the youths were fed on phantom promises and rhetoric like the present dispensation . They were deceived into being used as political thugs. In other words, they became tools of destruction in the hands of their paymasters.
The Capt. Wada government has given Kogi youth reasons to anticipate a glorious future; a future that would indeed be glorious. He does not pay lip-service to it.
Apart from the YAD4KOGI, KOICA, and the construction of Dangote Automation Skill Development Centre and the YESSO programme, which were strategic initiatives and partnership mid-wifed, initiated and implemented by the Wada administration to give the youths a new lease of life, the administration has in more ways than one, impacted on the lives of the wider spectrum of the state’s population.
For instance; YAD4KOGI programme was specifically meant to stem rural-urban migration, by engaging the youth and women positively for employment and wealth creation. While the Korea-Nigeria Friendly Institute for Vocational and Technology Institute (KOICA), which was described by experts as having the capacity of turning Nigeria into a technology hub of Africa, is primarily designed to train competent graduates with requisite skills in industrial and technological development.
This administration also scored another milestone in its life with the governor performing the historic ground-breaking of a Multi-billion naira, Dangote Automation Skill Development Centre and completed , located along Ganaja-Ajaokuta road in Lokoja, the state capital.
The centre, though a product of the corporate social responsibility(CSR), of the Dangote group, was a confirmation of the successes of Governor Wada’s ingenuous ideas on strategic partnership for the development of the state.
The skill development centre which was mainly conceived to train the youths on various component of automation technology, ranging from factory to processing automation has the capacity to churn hundreds of highly skilled individuals who would be relevant in their field of endeavours. The cheering news is that, the project is already on course and had made alot of impacts on the youths
The immediate past governor also donated operational vehicles and office equipment to the state Youth Employment and Social Support operation (KOGYESSO), a world-Bank sponsored programme which has a specific mandate of complementing the efforts of government in building the capacity of the youth for self-sufficiency. The goal of the programme is to eradicate extreme poverty and dependence among the youths.
Kogi is one out of only eight states in the federation approved by the World-Bank to float the scheme and this was possible because of the pragmatic and passionate commitment to the success of the programme. He saw early enough, even when some of his colleagues’ governor ignored it, that the programme would be spring board to launch the state into a haven of prosperity and productivity, using the youth as the agent of achieving that feat.
Apart from all of the above, the Capt. Idris Wada led administration in the state , pursued people-oriented projects, programmes and was relentless in wooing investors to the state. These were intended and brought succour to the people, and lift the people out of poverty into prosperity.
For Captain Wada, the forst four years on the saddle saw him delivered on his mandate to the youths; who are the future of the state, in particular and the country as a whole. Indeed, it was the dawn of a new beginning for Kogi youths.
Abubakar Yusuf writes from lokoja Kogi State