Editor's note: Chikezie Onuigbo, a public affairs commentator based in Owerri, writes on the recent N4billion youth empowerment program of the Hope Uzodimma-led administration in Imo state, describing it as a timely intervention by an active state chief executive.
The Dan Anyiam Stadium Owerri was bursting to its full capacity on Saturday, June 26 as Governor Hope Uzodinma scored another home run. True to his promise, 15,000 Imo youths who had received training in various vocations were empowered with a seed capital of N250,000. It is safe to say that this is the first of its kind in Imo state.
The N4billion empowerment program which was designed as a business stimulus to create jobs and stimulate the economy has been a major source of controversy in the past few days. While the enemies of our dear state are still shocked that Governor Hope Uzodinma could fulfill his promise to empower as many youths as possible, others couldn't help but only stare in disbelief. In all of the deserved media attention that has trailed the historical occasion, there is one fact that has remained incontrovertible -- it cannot be denied that unemployment is a big issue in Nigeria, no matter your political affiliation.
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According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate in Nigeria is estimated to reach 32.5 percent in 2021. This figure is projected to increase further in 2022 if nothing is done. When you put these cold facts together, you will begin to appreciate the wisdom in Governor Hope Uzodinma's timely intervention. These youths will go back to their local governments and start-up businesses in diverse areas. From fashion designing and electrical repairs to hairdressing and mobile phone repairs.
Considering the huge unemployment issue that has plagued Nigeria, this is a big breath of fresh air for these 15,000 households and their kin. These small businesses are the heart and soul of the economy. While a N250,000 seed capital to 15,000 trained Imo youths may not seem to like a lot to the rumour mongers and the naysayers of our state, it is a glaring certainty that Imo state is on the path to better days.
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