Monday letter1

In his first address to Adamawa people, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri promised to revive the Youth Skill Acquisition Centres. This is a very good step. Adamawa State needs a paradigm shift and new thinking in her human capital development programmes.

The technical and skills acquisition centres across the state should be resuscitated, redesigned and retooled to serve as a vehicle for jobs and wealth creation, including, as training places for agricultural entrepreneurship. This will go a long way in increasing human capital output that will speed up and sustain economic growth. A well-funded, adequately tooled and efficiently manned skill acquisition centre will nurture the youths, encourage private sector and help the rural poor to be strong participants in the economic development of Adamawa State. In fact, it will free the state from the prison of always waiting for handouts from the FG- free petrol-dollars.

Gov. Fintiri’s government has promised to make youth and women as the centre-piece of its attention. Therefore, as one of its most important strategies to tackle unemployment in the state, the government should use the centres as one of its focal points of agricultural entrepreneurship programme for youth and women- especially the rural poor. The government should go into partnership with private sector to establish poultry, fisheries, dairy, plantations, etc., in various locations in the state.

Furthermore, the centres should be well funded to serve as ‘ideas development hubs’- because; ‘ideas development is also an excellent way to create employment for bright youths i.e. the well-known concept of innovate, create, invent and invest. Experts say it is the most difficult but most effective way to create long-term employment. Adamawa State churns out thousands of graduates- engineers, computers programmers, architects, operations researchers, chemists, surveyors, agric-economists, designers, etc., yearly.

The Fintiri government should see the skill acquisition centres as goldmines as well as a sociopolitical weapon. The centres should be re-energized to work in such a way that it can assist graduates with technical skills and entrepreneurship passion to have access to facilities and environment that support thinking for invention and innovation.

Poverty alleviation and wealth creation are weapons in human capital development. The Fintiri government should take advantage of supports from international NGOs and donor agencies. Furthermore,  the government should collaborate as well as take advantage of programmes and projects of some federal government agencies  – The Raw Material Research and Development Agency, National Technology Incubation Centre, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria [SMEDAN], National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, National Poverty Alleviation Programme, National Directorate of Employment (NDE) as well as Bank of Industries, The North East Development Commission including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). These agencies will play a vital role for the centre’s youths and women programmes especially in areas affected by Boko Haram senseless war. Moreover, private investors can also be major participants, as they can play the role of fund providers for any invention or innovation that has market potential. With this kind of scheme, it is possible to see new industries surface; the economy gradually grow and lots of good paying jobs created for Adamawa youths.

There are expectations on Gov. Fintiri to utilize the human capital potential in the state to take Adamawa people out of poverty.  The resuscitation of the youth skill acquisition centres is a good step to meet peoples’ expectations.

Zayyad I. Muhammad, Jimeta, Adamawa State