agri10Delta State Deputy Governor, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, has identified traditional rulers as key stakeholders and partners in driving the development programmes of the Delta state government, even as he has reaffirmed the resolve of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration to tackle the problem of youth unemployment through agriculture in the State.

Barr. Otuaro made this declaration in an exclusive chat with newsmen following the unveiling of six youth entrepreneurship schemes before an impressive royal gathering of all the key traditional Monarchs from across the state.

The schemes, which were unveiled by the Delta State Government are, the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP), Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP); Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP); Tractorisation; Extension of Loans; and Development of Agro-industries, are expected to create 6,000 direct jobs for Delta youths in the next six months as a result of the scheme,.

Explaining the reason for involving Traditional Rulers in ensuring the success of the YAGEP scheme, Barr. Otuaro said that the Okowa administration had promised at inauguration that it was determined to deliver prosperity to all Deltans, as encapsulated in the SMART agenda and one of the key components of the agenda was Strategic wealth creation which was designed to provide job opportunities for all Deltans, with particular reference to the teeming unemployed youths in the state.

According to him, “The place of the traditional institution cannot be overemphasized in the process of ensuring that our empowerment programme gets to those at the grassroots.  As a government, we feel very strongly that we need to partner with our traditional institution to help us drive this process because they are the custodians of our land, heritage and culture. They are in the best position to know the unemployed youths in their domain and we don’t want to get it wrong, by allowing our job creation programme to be given to those it is not meant for. That is why we consider them as a very necessary part of the programme,” he said.

Barr. Otuaro equally affirmed that the decision to engage the traditional rulers in the programme, was also to serve as one of the safety measures the government has put in place to ensure that the scheme is not hijacked or diverted by politicians by making the traditional ruler in each domain the only custodian through which the application forms will be collected by the government.  

“One of the major safety valves or measures we have put in place, is to ensure that all of the forms that would be given out to Deltans for this particular programme, either directly or through the online format, are collected through the traditional rulers to the consultants who are detailed to ascertain the preparedness of the participants for this programme. This is because we don’t want to get unprepared, unenthusiastic youths to be part of this scheme. We want to ensure we maximize every one kobo government is putting into this programme. That is one major safety valve and measure to ensure that we don’t proliferate and confuse the expectant result of the programme”, the Deputy Governor emphasized.

He further noted that the unveiling ceremony of the job creation schemes was the first batch of the programme and when the entire process of selection, training and assessment, as laid down by the experts, including training them at Songhai Farms, getting them for internship in farm settlements as required and starting them with the starter packs, had been concluded,  the consultants would monitor the progress of the programme to ascertain the successes recorded, after which the second phase of the programme would commence immediately.

Barr. Otuaro then assured Deltans and particularly the youths, who are the primary targets of the programme to take the project seriously because the Delta State government was poised and determined to make the programme a success.

“My advice to Deltans, with particular reference this time to the youth population, which of course is our primary target, is to take this project or programme very seriously, because as a government, we are poised and we are determined.

“It is not going to be one of those wishy-washy programmes that at the end would not achieve the set goals or objectives. That is the primary reason why we have brought in the traditional institution to be part of this process.

“I want to tell everyone in Delta state, especially the youth population as it were to take it seriously and ensure that they reach out to their traditional rulers and obtain their forms and be part of the screening process. Government is very keen on assuring that we would do our very best and play our part to make this programme work and that surely is the way to go”, the Delta Deputy Governor affirmed.


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