Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Local government chairmen have been urged to create more opportunities for people at the grassroots to acquire basic skills that would make them economically self-sufficient to wriggle out of the stranglehold of poverty.
Senator Theodore Orji gave this advice at Isiala Ngwa North local government during the recent 4th Otawike annual convention with the theme, â€™the mission continuesâ€™ which featured the empowerment of 220 persons who were trained in various skills by the council chairman, Hon. Ginger Onwusibe.
He noted that by virtue of their position every political office holder was already empowered and should therefore make it a point of duty to empower others; thereby creating a chain reaction of employment opportunities.
Orji, who represents Abia Central senatorial zone in the Senate, noted that the chairman of Isiala Ngwa North local government has demonstrated that the councils have the capacity to drive development and economic empowerment in the third tier of government.
â€œWhen you are empowered, try to empower others,â€ he admonished his fellow political office holders, adding, â€œIf you are in politics, do good to the peopleâ€.
The state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu also expressed the same sentiment as he commended Hon Onwusibe â€œfor the good thingsâ€ he is doing in his local government.
â€œI share in this vision. Keep it up,â€ he said, adding that the most important of aspect of the council chairmanâ€™s achievements was that he gave people the opportunity to acquire skills in various areas of vocation.
Governor Ikpeazu, moved by Onwusibe’s initiative to make a positive impact on the people through skill acquisition, recommended it as the most effective dimension in empowerment programmes, which should be copied by other council chairmen.
To show his encouragement to the newly established entrepreneurs, Ikpeazu promised to patronise 10 persons and purchase their products to the tune of N500,000 each, and called on Abians to always patronise budding businesses in the state to facilitate their growth.
In the keynote address he presented at the event, the Abia state commissioner for works, Hon Eziuche Ubani harped on the need for people to have skills, noting that the nagging issues of unemployment and poverty would never be tackled successfully without sustainable availability of skilled workforce.
The former House of Representatives member spoke on the topic, â€˜Empowering the youth in a recessed economy: panacea for crime and poverty reductionâ€™, and lamented the high level of unemployment and under-employment in the land, adding that it should not be overlooked.
â€œIf you donâ€™t have the skills you canâ€™t participate in the economy of the future,â€ he said, adding that the Otawike Foundation should be supported by well-meaning individuals and organisations to sustain the empowerment programmes.
Various speakers at the event including, Hon Darlington Nwokocha, who represents Isiala Ngwa federal constituency in the House of Representatives, and former Director General of the National Directorate of Employment, Dr. Chukwu Wachukwu all lauded the council chairman for his grassroots development initiatives.
Aside from the empowerment programme the event also featured the inauguration of a four-classroom block, a mini-stadium all built by the council boss as well as a grader he acquired for use in rehabilitating rural roads in Isiala Ngwa North local council. The wife of the council chairman provided free school uniforms, sandals and desks to the pupils of the adopted school.
Chairman of the occasion, Engineer Enyinnaya Nwafor was very impressed by achievements of Hon Onwusibe, saying, â€œImagine how Abia state will be if what happened here (Isiala Ngwa North LG) is replicated in other local governments.