Empowerment: Ugwuanyi, SDGs trainees and FG’s verdict

By Louis Amoke
IN keeping with his vision to institutionalise an uncommon leadership style that is inclusive, focused, peaceful, godly, result and people-oriented, the Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has on good note continued to uphold decisions that impact the lives of the people positively, especially the poor and rural dwellers.
As a grassroots politician, Ugwuanyi at the inception of his administration disclosed his resolve to redirect the attention of governance from urban centres to the rural areas. The governor’s sense of direction was based on the fact that majority of the people reside in the rural areas.
The decision was also a mélange of his magnanimity, compassionate disposition towards the underprivileged and neglected and the need to give them a sense of belonging as the true heroes of democracy.
This policy direction, which was aptly captured in the four-point agenda of the government, has seen the concentration of more development in the rural areas than in the urban centres. It is also responsible for the avalanche of innovative empowerment programmes carefully designed towards the youths, women and traders, among others – to assist them earn a living and grow their businesses.
For  instance, a visit to Ngenevu, (around the Coal Camp Enugu) a suburb of Enugu in Enugu North Local Government Area of the state shows that Ugwuanyi is a leader who is compassionate and firmly committed to the well-being of the people, especially the poor and less privileged in the society.
The governor in keeping with his promise to take development to the rural areas and highly populated suburbs that have long been  neglected and forgotten, brought joy and  relief to the people of Ngenevu through the ongoing construction of their only access road, which  hitherto  had been in a deplorable condition.
The people of the area are so excited and full of gratitude to Ugwuanyi, whom they  described as a true friend of the poor and underprivileged, for remembering them after many years of neglect.
They were so emotive  when  the governor, (the first since this democracy began) touched down on  Ngenevu soil. Their joy is understandable because not only has their  road been tarred to standard,  but  the governor has also provided and mounted two 500KVA transformers he promised them during his first and second visit to the area.
On empowerment, it would be recalled that the administration, in February last year, launched an empowerment scheme for genuine traders in the state tagged: The Enugu State Traders Empowerment Scheme. The scheme, the first of its kind in the  state, had an annual package of N60million that was won by 1,200 lucky traders through an open raffle draw conducted on a monthly basis among the then 37 registered markets. Consequently, 100 traders won N5 million every month at N50,000 each and invested the money into their various businesses for socio-economic development of the state.
Following the success of the first phase of the scheme, the administration re-launched the programme recently with an annual bumper package of N120 million to be won by 2,400 traders, representing a double increase. In the repackaged scheme, 200 genuine traders will now win N10 million every month at N50,000 each while 17 other markets were added to the existing 37 to ensure that the empowerment scheme was all embracing, reaching every nook and cranny of the state for more winners to benefit.
Not surprising, the excited and fulfilled traders, in appreciation of the governor’s sound vision for the state and his kind thoughts for them, unanimously endorsed him for re-election in 2019.
A few days ago, there was wild jubilation in Enugu the moment 536 trainees of the second batch of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, Skills Acquisition Programme of the Ugwuanyi administration instantly received alert of N100,000 seed money each from the state government at the venue of their graduation ceremony.
The seed money was to assist the graduands start-off their various businesses after they attended a one-year free vocational training in focal areas such as tailoring, hairdressing, barbing and aluminium works apprenticeship.
The 536 trainees, according to the Special Adviser to the Governor on SDGs and Inter-Ministerial Affairs, Hon. Mabel Agbo, were among the 750 participants chosen from the 17 local government areas of the state and enrolled by the state government under its SDGs programme as an empowerment intervention scheme designed to alleviate the sufferings of the people of the state through learning of a vocation that would enable each of them develop a career in life.
It is pertinent to note that the first batch of 214 trainees, got start off grants, accordingly after their graduation in September 2017, and “have been able to set up viable barber’s and hair dressing shops and are now chief executive officers of their own businesses.”
Another climax of the event was the commendation for Ugwuanyi from the Federal Government “for being SDGs-friendly and creating enabling environment for achieving the SDGs goals.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, (represented by her Sector Director, Pharm. Yahaya Hamza), while appreciative of the administration’s contributions towards the success of the programme added: “I also want to encourage other states to borrow a leaf from Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi by ensuring that their plans and projects are targeted towards achieving the goals of SDGs so that our 2030 Agenda will be realised as a nation.”
As the governor congratulated the graduands on their achievements, he stated that the scheme was “undoubtedly a very important and timely intervention that is helping to create wealth, reduce  unemployment and stimulate productivity especially among our youths and women.”
He added that the scheme was a “welcome complement” to the efforts and initiatives of his administration in the area of youth/women empowerment, skills acquisition and poverty alleviation.
He reassured the people thus:“we remain fully committed to our promise to reduce poverty in the state and will continue to do all that is necessary to promote the empowerment and economic emancipation of our youths, women and families.”
In appreciation, Miss Aboh Tochi on behalf of other graduands, described Ugwuanyi as “a man of his environment” and “an impeccable leader” who takes “time to ensure that governance is felt by all and sundry in this state especially the youth.
“The saying that you should not give a fish, rather teach one how to catch fish has been manifested in our lives. Many of us are now viable in different trades/crafts. For instance, I am now a successful fashion designer. In no distant time, you will be amazed at the capacities we have been able to acquire during our period of training.”
 
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