The Managing Director of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Bashorun Askia Ogieh, says Governor Ifeanyi Okowa does not interfere with the running of the commission.
Askia said DESOPADEC, an interventionist agency for oil bearing communities in Delta, is diligently implementing its mandate to change the socio-economic development of host communities within the mandate areas of the commission.
He stated this on Wednesday at the PTI Conference Centre in Effurun, near Warri during the official launch and matriculation ceremony for 160 trainees of the DESOPADEC Skill Academy for unemployed youths from oil bearing communities.
“I wish to briefly address an unsavoury issue that crept up recently. Some people have been promoting false and mischievous narratives on the management of the income accruing to Delta State under the derivation principle.
“Let me make it clear that DESOPADEC is the product of an Act of Parliament, having been passed into law by the Delta State House of Assembly under the administration of His Excellency, Chief James Ibori.
“The provisions of the DESOPADEC Act have been diligently implemented over the years. Under His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, our governor, there has been no interference on the running of DESOPADEC”, Askia stated.
Bashorun Askia, who described the launch of the Academy as unprecedent in the history of the commission, said the programme is designed to tackle rising unemployment and promote entrepreneurial spirit among youths in its mandate area.
He explained that Nigerian youths especially Deltans must embrace entrepreneurship rather than wait for ‘non-existence’ white-collar jobs.
According to him, “ At DESOPADEC, we have always believed that we can provide our willing, teeming youths the oyster that can drain them from the space of helplessness, strongly convinced that entrepreneurship is the antidote to unemployment. This Academy is therefore one of our major pillars designed to deliver our low hanging fruits.
“Today is the beginning of one of our major intervention measures to address a critical issue that plagues not only our youth in Delta State, but the entire country. We are blessed with a large pool of educated and energetic young men and women. However, without technical skills in an increasingly competitive world, many of our youth have been left jobless.
Bashorun Askia said, “Everyone is born with a passion and latent, buried gifts which can be harnessed. Elsewhere, I have said one’s passion, outside academic qualifications, can lead to wealth creation and comfort. The future belongs to the youths with fall back trades, those who create jobs and have become entrepreneurs and not seekers of white-collar jobs.
“The DESOPADEC Academy which we are launching today is a new platform we have created to impact requisite skills on the youth and equip them with the capacity to venture into the exciting world of entrepreneurship. Skills acquisition is the key to building an assured future for the young generation.”
Bashorun Askia said the maiden beneficiaries of the programme will be trained for six months in various skills including catering, confectionery, decorations, electrical and solar energy works, fashion design and textile design, tilling and interlocking, Welding and Fabrications and Information Technology Training Packages.
The DESOPADEC helmsman who used the opportunity to disabuse the minds of wagging tongues about the DESOPADEC Skills Academy, said “We are not building any form of physical structures to house the Academy.
“Instead, we are innovatively using established Trade and Technical Centres across the State, all of which boast of some the best resource persons in Nigeria. These are ongoing commercial workshops where learning is more practical,” he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Okowa, represented by his deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, appealed to youths to acquire skills that will make them entrepreneurs and as a result, free the Nigerian society of crime and strife.
The governor commended the commission for the initiative, stressing that the programme is in line with the human capital development of the Governor Okowa’s administration.
“We knew that if we don’t take our wards, our children off the street, making them meaningful in the society, so that they can put food on their table and on the table of their loved ones, then we have only succeeded in creating a society that is laden with criminality and unrest.
“When we did all that we did at the state level, we instructed the ministries, departments and agencies to identify with what we are doing. And of course, DESOPADEC is just doing what they are supposed to do, following that trajectory of the state government.
“The success of this programme, you being the pioneer students, will encourage DESOPADEC to carry on this skill acquisition training for your brothers and sisters who are not part of this training now. I want to encourage all the matriculants that the Delta State Government is expecting so much from you”.