By Jhon Oghojafor
Political office holders, elected representatives, Local Government Council Chairmen and philanthropists in Delta State have been urged to, henceforth, adopt an enduring and result-oriented poverty alleviation strategies rather than mere provision of motor bikes and tricycles for constituents and members of their various communities.
The Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa made the call while addressing participants at the maiden edition of Ika Economic Forum put together by Ika Village Square (IVS), a vibrant socioeconomic and political pressure group in Ika nation.
Speaking with The New Diplomat, the Executive Assistant on Communication to the Delta State Governor, Dr. Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, stated that the governor reiterated the call as part of his resolve to achieve a prosperous Delta, urging philanthropists, public office holders, local government council chairmen, political appointees, corporate citizens and other categories of persons to partner with government towards the attainment of a virile economy, adding that there has to be a paradigm shift from mere distribution of motor bikes and tricycles (Keke) to their constituents.
“Let me use the opportunity offered by this unique summit to appeal to us that it is no longer the best option to distribute commercial motor bikes and keke to our people. Rather, our constituents need long term economic benefits which can be made possible through vocational and specialized skills training and acquisition.
“Keke and motor bikes may either be stolen or sold, and in that case the beneficiary is back to zero level. It is therefore more reasonable to sponsor vocational training and skills acquisition for our youths and women and thereafter empower them further by providing start-up funds, equipment or tools needed so as to become self employed and in the same token to enable them employ and train others.
“Henceforth, I may not attend empowerment programmes where keke and commercial bikes are to be distributed. We need to take positive and proactive steps in getting our people out of poverty and create an atmosphere of strong and virile economy that truly guarantees Prosperity For All Deltans, going forward.
“The ongoing Youth Agriculture and Skills Training Entrepreneurship Programmes (YAGEP AND STEP) are deliberately tailored towards growing Delta State economy and to raise millions of young successful entrepreneurs who will in turn trend the progressive chain of socioeconomic boom in the state.
“It is therefore very important that our people must remain as the major focus of this administration and in that vein, it is only long term self-sustaining and progressive empowerment strategies and programmes that is good enough for the good people of Delta State. Distribution of Keke and commercial motor bikes may no longer conjure my attention, going forward.”
Gov. Okowa also used the occasion to advise parents to closely monitor the activities of their children and provide the much-needed moral instructions as candid and proactive measures to curb moral decadence especially cultism which, he identified, as a major problem in nation building in the 21st century.
He offered to be enlisted as a member of the prestigious Ika Village Square and urged the IVF executives to henceforth convey quarterly appraisal meetings to evaluate and implement socioeconomic programmes of the organisation and decisions reached at the Ika Economic Summit.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of OUTSTANDING SON OF IKA NATION LEADERSHIP AWARD to the Smart Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, by the Board of Trustees of Ika Village Square, a vibrant Socio-economic group in Ika nation.
Participants and facilitators at the summit include: Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, Major-General Leo Irabor who spoke brilliantly on the role of effective security measures in a growing economy and Prof Eric Eboh, Chief Job Creation Officer in Delta State.
Others are; the Secretary to Delta State Government, Hon Festus Ovie Agas, Hon Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Kingsley Emu and that of the Ministry of Information, Hon. Patrick Ukah, Sir. Tony Chucks Obuh, Principal Secretary to Governor of Delta State, Hilary Obi Ibegbulem, Representative of the CBN Governor, Traditional Rulers, some members of Delta State Executive Council, Captains of Industry, Politicians and personal aides of the governor.