Juicy Package for Imo Youths
Ikedi Ohakim, governor of Imo State, launches second phase of the state’s youth empowerment programme
For the teeming youths of Imo State, it is another opportunity to reap the dividends of democracy from the administration of Governor Ikedi Ohakim. On Wednesday, March 30, 2011, the governor launched the second phase of the Imo Youth Empowerment Programme, IYEP, at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, the state’s capital.
This phase is the disbursement of the first tranche of a N1 billion enterprise stimulation loan facilities to the youths. It is a joint state and local government project for empowering 12,000 youths. About 10,000 indigenes of the state were absorbed into the public service under the first phase of IYEP.
As early as 9 am, thousands of youths had thronged the venue for the launch. Dressed in T-shirts and face caps, they danced round the football pitch singing praises of the governor. Ezenwa Stephen from Orsu local government area, told Newswatch that he could not wait to take a N50,000 loan to improve his cat fish farming business. “We like it. The government wants to keep the youths out of thuggery,” he said.
The launch coincided with the formal handing over of 27 rehabilitated health centres to the local governments. The governor also gave each centre an ambulance, a 40KVA soundproof generator and a giant refrigerator for the storage of drugs. Also, each local council received sanitation equipment including dustbins and educational materials for their schools.
To the admiration of the people, Governor Ohakim announced the take off of free medical services in all the 27 modern primary health centres. He also issued cheques totaling N32.23 million to 32 communities from 16 local governments for the execution of projects contained in their development plans under the World Bank assisted Community and Social Development Projects, CSDP. The CSDP is targeted at poverty reduction and improvement of living standards of rural poor by increasing their access to social and natural resources. He thereafter appealed to other communities to complete their CSDP to fast track receipt of their funds.
Tagged ‘consolidating the new face of Imo vision,’ the high point of the day was the N1 billion IYEP launch. Ohakim said it was harvest time for the dividends of democracy by the youths and that the day marked another turning point in the administration’s efforts to transform Imo State. “We are empowering Imo youths with N1 billion as part of the overall plan to empower them, give them hope and a future. Never again will our youths be turned into pawns on the chessboard of some politicians that deploy their God-given potentials to devilish end,” he declared, adding “I know the plans I have for Imo youths, a clear guiding purpose to keep you from being distracted by non-essentials.”
Under the programme, the state government is partnering with the 27 local governments in giving enterprise stimulating loans to as many as 12,000 youths from the 305 wards of the state. Twenty boys and girls from each ward are expected to benefit in the first phase of the scheme. Thousands of excited youths have submitted application forms at all the local council headquarters. Submission of applications closed on March 21.
First City Monument Bank, FCMB, is the official banker of the scheme. The interest free enterprise loan would be disbursed through 305 co-operative societies already registered. Each society was given its certificate last Wednesday.
Kezie Ogaziechi, commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, described the project as just one of many good things Ohakim had conceptualised and done in the past four years. He said the decision to launch the scheme was to “show that in Imo State, the local governments are alive and working.”