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As IYC spokesman gives Niger Delta youths ICT training

Away from oil, the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) Spokesman, Abilade Ekerefe has trained some youths in the region on information communication technology a feat he said will make them rely less on oil and become self-reliant especially now that ICT is the main thing driving the economy of the world. To this end Ebilade recently trained 301 youths on ICT which according to him will make them become entrepreneurs. The graduation ceremony was done in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Background

Speaking on why he ventured into training some youths of the region on ICT, Ekerefe said: “IYC has been in existence for over 24 years, we cannot continue to agitate, fight for resource control, self-determination without looking inward.

“The question we should be asking is as leaders of the Ijaw Youth Council, what have we been able to do with the platform given to us to empower and encourage our people and that is exactly what I have done. “Beyond speaking and defending the interest of Ijaw, I believe that I owe my people a duty to use my platform to build their capacity especially in the area of ICT which is the major driver of economies all over the world. “We cannot continue to believe that the only sustenance of the national economy is oil.

What if the oil dries up, how are we going to sustain ourselves? So we should begin to look beyond oil and see how we can empower the youths, build their capacities so that even without oil, they will be able to be self-sufficient and self-reliant and this also reduces crime and criminality in our nation.

“And so we cannot blame the Federal Government for not doing everything for us when we as a people are also not doing enough with the opportunity that has been given to us. That is basically my motivation and I’m happy that this event was a huge success and of course the process was transparent and today we have developed Ijaw youths in the area of ICT but these are ambassadors of Ijaw nation. We will keep a close eye on them and watch them grow from strength to strength.

Stakeholders

Encouraging all the relevant stakeholders to key into the project, he said: “It is also not encouraging that multinational oil companies are not doing enough in terms of supporting programmes that will better the lots of our people. Let them always understand that when this place becomes violent and when there is violence, it is they who are doing business in this environment that will suffer first.

“And so when as youth leaders of this region, we are doing everything within our powers to take our youths away from crime and criminality and we are not getting support from them, it is not encouraging but all hopes are not yet lost. We have written to the multifunctional oil companies, including local content, to support the Ijaw Council in this drive to empowering and building the capacities of our youths and empowering them and if they don’t do that, we have every legitimate and justifiable reason to shut them down because whose interest are they protecting. “If you are doing businesses in our environment and we are taking up the challenge to train and build the capacities of our youth to make this environment very peaceful and stabilized for you to do business here and you can’t meet up to your corporate social responsibility, that is an eye-sour.

“So going forward, we are changing our approach in engaging this people and we are building the capacities of our youths and those who are competent and qualified, we will recommend them to this IOCs and of course, other agencies who are doing business in our environment and they fail to comply, we have every reason to shut them down. “Our own is to continue to be by you and lead as good examples as we are leading. All the beneficiaries will go home with one computer each.

Chairman, others speak

The National President of the Ijaw National Congress who spoke as the Chairman of the occasion, Benjamin Okaba said: “Over the years, we have been christened warriors, as gbege group, revolutionists, oil thieves with the general notion that nothing good can come out our from Ijaw nation.

“But we are all out to change that narrative. This young man here started it. What he has done is worthy of emulation by all of us. “There is joy that flows in my heart that this is happening among us. “This is very commendable investing in the future of people. If we have another person like this churning out 80 well trained computer persons, in another five years, you can imagine where we are going to be. When we approach the oil companies to ask for employment, they will say do you have the certification and manpower; this is an answer to that question. This is worthy of emulation by everybody.

“They always say that Ijaw people don’t want to learn. If you engage them in something like tailoring, two weeks after they run away in fact they will sell the starter packs and use the money to smoke hemp. But the way I’m looking at your faces, you guys will be different. These starter packs that will be given to you and the training that you have acquired is the foundation to live a prosperous life. Getting into technology is a way of going into those resources that we have not tapped.” Also Patrick Erasmus, Commissioner Ijaw National Affairs, who spoke on behalf of the governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri thanked Abilade Ekerefe for complementing the efforts of the government. Advising the beneficiaries, he said: “It is said that to whom much is given, much is expected. So grandaunts go and make good use of this training. It behoves on you to develop the ABC that you have acquired and make a good life out of it. If you can apply all that you have learnt, I assure you that you will be employers of labour tomorrow.

“Ekerefe has added some value to the Ijaw nation and that is what is expected of everyone who has been called upon to serve or who has volunteered to serve to make the best use of it.” Also, his royal majesty, King Bubaraye Dakolo, the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama kingdom said people gave Ebilade money because they knew he was not going to squander the money.

He said: “It means that you have to carry on in a manner that people will respect you. If your attitude is messed up, if you like to train from here to Abuja nothing will come out of it. “For all of you, Ekerefe has your names and your numbers, we must monitor you. You must show that you have been trained. Can we learn to also employ others be entrepreneurs and employers of labour because I don’t like to see broke people in Ijaw. So this type of training that you have, you have to engage yourselves and I can assure you that the Ijaw nation will be proud of you.” Jonathan Obuebite said: “We have to celebrate you but what we are celebrating is the future of the outcome of the training that you partook in.

If we leave here after celebrating and it ends here, and now it means that we have all failed and for us to fail, you are the reason why we all failed. “As Commissioner for Education then, I trained more than 2, 000 students on ICT, about 300 teachers, from that moment till now, how many of those students will say that they have put into practise what they learnt from that process. So as we leave this place, the most important thing for me is how we number you that every one of you will create wealth in this setting. That is very important. “Can I see you after now and you tell me that whatever you are doing is as a result of the training you got from this process. And that is why I want to appeal to all of you that whatever has been impacted is not something that you go home and sleep.

Resource persons

Michael Olomu of Michael Olomu Foundation, who provided the computers, asked Ekerefe not to be distracted. He said: “Remain focused. You have touched lives. A billionaire is not known by how much you have in your account but by how many lives you have touched. You have touched lives irrespective of your lean resources. “I pray that the beneficiaries will not go out and sell the starter packs. They should use them so that they can be tools to be used in society.” Oyeinnoah Paris Digifa, the trainer of the students, called all relevant agencies to support the initiative of the IYC spokesman stating that ICT is the mainstay in the world today.

Beneficiaries

Inikio Treasure said: “This programme is the starting point of my greatness. From here, I will further my knowledge on coding as a whole and take it to places and make wealth with it. “I will use my starter packs to continue with what I have learnt so far. I’m grateful to the spokesman of IYC. I just want to say thank you and to everyone that supported me.” Gowon Peremobowei Mike said: “This programme will help me in so many ways. He has already made it very easy for me. After acquiring the knowledge, instead of going to look for money to buy a laptop to start from where I stopped during the programme, he has actually made it possible by giving us a laptop from now on. If I get home, I will just open my computer and start practising what I have been taught.”

 

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