Poverty and unemployment in Nigeria have remained hydra-headed in spite of many government intervention programmes.
The situation is even worsened yearly as the country’s tertiary institutions turn out graduates, who join the endless search for elusive jobs.
The reality is that every job seeker can no longer be guaranteed a paid job but every citizen is entitled to decent living, which in developed countries, is regarded as fundamental human right.
The consensus of opinion of experts is that the surest way to guarantee jobs, boost the economy, create wealth and escape from poverty is entrepreneurship.
J.A. Schumpeter, in the book, “The Theory of Economic Development,’’ described entrepreneurship as a process of change, where innovation is the most vital function of the entrepreneur.
He opined that it is a basic requirement for economic development in free enterprise or mixed economy, where innovation is the basis of development.
In a special article for CNN, titled: “Entrepreneurship key to escaping poverty, Mr Reuben Abraham, “ said China lifted millions of its citizens out of poverty through entrepreneurship.
“China has pulled approximately 600 million people out of absolute poverty since Deng Xiaoping unleashed market reforms in the late 1970s.
“Never in human history have so many people been pulled out of grinding poverty in such a short span of time.
“Similarly, South Korea has gone from a per capita income of 291 dollars in 1970 to 20,000 dollars today. Even reform laggards like India have managed to pull a couple of hundred million people out of grinding poverty since economic reforms were initiated.’’
He said that across the world, countries that created an entrepreneurship and business-friendly environment were successful in reducing poverty drastically.
“One can only redistribute wealth, and to redistribute it, you have to create the wealth first.
“And the only agent of society that can create wealth is entrepreneurship.
“Clearly then, more needs to be done to promote entrepreneurship as an agent of economic development,’’ he added.
Craig and Marc Kielburger, co-founders of international charity and educational partner, Free the Children, also stressed the importance of entrepreneurship.
“Entrepreneurship is a key player in ending global poverty by reversing the cycle of dependency with a cycle of self-sufficiency and employment.
“Entrepreneurs build economies. Charity can help people grab the first rung of the development ladder, but only their own enterprise will allow them to climb the rest of the way.
“Entrepreneurs are motivated and able to innovate, devising new ways to farm, provide basic goods and services, and solve social problems.’’
Prof. Ifeoma Nwoye has also underscored the importance of entrepreneurship and urged government at all levels to implement poverty alleviation solutions that can foster and stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit in poverty–stricken areas of Nigeria.
Nwoye made the call when she delivered the 10th Inaugural Lecture of Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger, with the title, “That Evil Called Poverty: Entrepreneurial Escape to Comfort Zone.’’
She said that if the government wanted to offer resource-assistance to the poor, “ the leaders should do so not through handouts.’’
Nwoye said instead of handouts, the poor should be empowered through boosting of programmes to be “handled by the poor themselves and non-governmental organisations and through programmes with features of sustainability’’.
She said charity and almsgiving played good roles in efforts to help the poor” but the goal for even charitable organisation should be to help the poor move beyond dependency.
“No person ever became wealthy or self-sufficient through handouts,’’ Nwoye pointed out.
She stressed that “ only entrepreneurial intervention, with its scalable nature can pull the poor from the war zone unto the voyage to COMFORT ZONE and ensure sustainable quality life.’’
The professor of management sciences said civil servants should not be involved in poverty alleviation programmes but “ should focus on policies for creating positive climate for business and creativity.’’
Nwoye listed previous poverty alleviation programmes carried out by the government in Nigeria and noted that “ in all the attempted programmes, no administration ever mentioned the statistics of the poor they were trying to help.’’
She decried the alarming rate of poverty in Nigeria and noted that as the “ population increases, the poverty level is also multiplying in spite of the country’s natural resources.’’
She said that investment on business enterprises was the surest way that poor communities would have economic independence and move from poverty to prosperity.
“This is one of the reasons why government policies need to become more pro-business to be able to promote self-reliant enterprises as well as employment opportunities.
“This should be made possible by elements of business education.’’
Nwoye said states and local governments should broaden their vision of entrepreneurial policy.
“The main task is to put in place a broad environment that can attract people and in which creativity and entrepreneurship can flourish.
“In an entrepreneurial society, job creation is a common feature as new actors in the economy have new characteristics through open source-philosophy.
“Entrepreneurship culture is an environment, where someone is motivated to innovate, to create and take risks.’’
Nwoye also said government must “ review intervention strategy of one size fits all.’’
She said that there was no easy answer to poverty eradication but that implementation of poverty related programmes must be shifted from politicians and civil servants to the poor themselves and groups they trusted.
She noted that the major drawback in self-help of the individual poor was low rate of capital formation.
Nwoye said that government should provide the enabling environment to avail the real sector of the economy credit to establish sustainable businesses.
“The handout being given to selected poor should be channelled to important areas of support towards self-reliance,’’ she said.
Nwoye said entrepreneurship contributed in an immeasurable way toward new job creation, wealth mobilisation, poverty reduction and income generation for both government and individuals.
“Entrepreneurship creates value by seizing opportunity through risk taking and mobilisation of human, social, financial and physical capital, wherever individuals have had opportunity to take economic initiative.’’
Nwoye said that where an entrepreneurship culture existed, wealth was created in abundance, and hence the quality of the life of people assured.
As articulated by experts, including Nwoye, entrepreneurship holds the key to economic prosperity and reduction of unemployment. Government should, therefore, initiate and sustain programmes that will promote entrepreneurship.
Ukoh writes for News Agency of Nigeria.
NEW Rivers: A Glorious Second Term Is In Progress
During his first term, 2015 to 2019, award winning Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike put up a splendid performance that earned him the trust and respect of Rivers people. It was for this reason that Rivers people stood their ground despite the invading prowess of the AAC/APC/ARMY/FSARS Alliance.
On 3rd April, 2019 when INEC concluded the collation of results and declared Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, winner of the Rivers State Governorship election, the Rivers State Governor made a commitment to the people of the state to serve them diligently. He acknowledged the sacrifices of Rivers people in the process of his emergence as second term Governor.
On that day, he said: ”I want to thank the people of Rivers State for showing the kind of love we have never seen before. I thank them for showing the kind of support we have never seen before.
“Those who died not because they were criminals, but because they wanted to defend their votes. We dedicate this victory to God those who were killed .
“They protected our votes and they defended us. We pray God to grant their families the strength to bear the losses. We shall continue to support the families .We will not disappoint the PDP. We will not disappoint Rivers people. We shall continue to serve. “
Truly, Governor Wike has continued to serve Rivers people in the actual sense of the word. All sectors of the economy have been positively impacted for the good of Rivers people.
OPERATION STING FOR RIVERS SECURITY
One of the key areas where Governor Wike has excelled, is the promotion of security of lives and property. Though the state is yet to reach the desired point, marked improvement has been experienced in all 23 Local Government Areas.
This is a fallout of the launch of Operation Sting. This is a security architecture designed by the Wike Administration during his second term.
Governor Wike said Operation Sting will be fully funded by the Rivers State Government with the aim of tackling criminal elements and reducing crime and criminality in all parts of the state.
He said: “OPERATION STING” is therefore, our own specialized and dedicated security initiative anchored on an integrated and complementary approach, fully funded by the Rivers State Government to effectively tackle both the sources and drivers of insecurity in their diverse criminal manifestations and operations and nib them in their buds or rout and root them out of existence.
”Under Operation Sting we have taking concrete steps to strengthen the logistics and operational capability of the civil and armed security forces”.
PROFOUND MEASURES TO IMPROVE THE STANDARD OF LIVING OF RIVERS PEOPLE
Governor Wike has taken very profound measures to improve the standard of living of Rivers people.
In the course of his second term, Governor Wike abolished the payments of user-fees for persons living with HIV/AIDS who want to access treatment at State-owned Health facilities.
Governor Wike said that the State Government will take over the payment of the user-fees to encourage more Rivers people to seek treatment for HIV/AIDS.
To ensure access to education for the less privileged, Governor Wike abolished all forms of fees and levies in public primary, junior and senior secondary schools in Rivers State.
This was a major second term action. He has since released funds for the running of the schools for the 2019/2020 academic session.
The funds released by the Rivers State Governor would be used by the schools for registers, chalks, dusters, markers, notebooks, pens and other consumables
Governor Wike approved that the State Government will henceforth bankroll the form fees for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB) for all Indigenes and non-indigenes in the state.
This approval by Governor Wike has been implemented for the 2020 UTME to be conducted by JAMB.
APPROVAL FOR UNDERGRADUATE MEDICAL STUDIES AT THE RSU
During the closing days of his first term, Governor Wike ensured that the relevant facilities were on ground for the successful take off of the College of Medical Sciences and the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital.
Since commencing his second term, Governor Wike has created the right environment for the accreditation of the College of Medical Sciences at the Rivers State University.
The National Universities Commission in recognition of the facilities and personnel on ground, approved that the Rivers State University run full-time undergraduate programmes from the 2019/2020 Academic Session in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) and Nursing Science, BNsc.
RADIOLOGY DEPARTMENT, RIVERS STATE UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL
In November 2019, Governor Wike commissioned the New Radiology Department of the State University Teaching Hospital, upgraded and re-equipped by his administration.
Commissioning the new health facility, Governor Wike reiterated his commitment to quality healthcare for the people of Rivers State.
Governor Wike described the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital and the College of Medicine as his initiative, saying that he will continue to invest in their rapid development.
“We will do everything possible to promote quality healthcare for our people. We need good healthcare for people to carry out their daily activities.
“We have good doctors, but there are no good equipment. What we are doing is to provide the right equipment “, he said.
EXCELLENT FIRST 100DAYS
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike took the entire country by storm during the first 100days of his second term.
For three weeks, Governor Wike rolled out very significant projects that touched the lives of Rivers people. Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi who commissioned the Rumuwoji Market confessed that he has seen why people insist that Governor Wike is Mr Projects.
The projects rolled out during the first 100days of the governor’s second term include:
.Bonny Street, Adaka , Boro/Elliot Henry Streets
• Government Secondary School, Ubima
(Formerly Community Secondary School, Ubima)
•Sea bed Model School , Port Harcourt
•Port Harcourt Pleasure Park Cinema
•Dualised – Birabi Street
•Justice Iche Ndu (Formerly Rumukwurusi -Elelenwo –Akpajo Road )
•Government Craft Development Centre, Port Harcourt
•Civil Servants’ Quarters
•Rivers State NLC Secretariat
•Ogbum-Nu-Abali Fruit Garden Market
•Rivers State University, Students Union Secretariat
•Real Madrid Academy.
KEY PROJECTS SET FOR COMMISSIONING:
MOTHER AND CHILD HOSPITAL, PORT HARCOURT
This is a legacy project that will soon be commissioned by the Rivers State Government.
It was to be a Joint project with the NDDC, but the commission, reneged and Governor Wike had to drive the execution of the project alone.
The contractors are putting finishing touches to the modification works at the facility. Similarly, the equipment contractor is installing the equipment procured by the Wike Administration for the specialist hospital.
This is a mega hospital, the very first in the Niger Delta that will improve access to tertiary healthcare for Women and Children.
This is a legendary project initiated by Governor Wike to promote the Independence of the Judiciary. It is also aimed at ensuring that the welfare of Judges is taken care during and after their service.
The Judges Quarters has been completed. It has been furnished. It will soon be commissioned for use.
RECONSTRUCTION OF OVER 100 BASIC EDUCATION AND SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
This is a state-wide intervention programme continued from the first term. During his first term, Governor Wike reconstructed and equipped over 250 schools through the Universal Basic Education Commission counterpart fund scheme and through the state’s direct funding.
Once again, the Rivers State Governor is using the two funding models to address issues relating to educational facilities in all the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE REBISI, RUMUOGBA AND OKORO-NU-ODO FLYOVER BRIDGES
The three Flyover Bridges already under construction in Port Harcourt are meant to improve traffic flow in the Rivers State capital.
These projects form the most ambitious developmental intervention by any Governor. The construction of the three Flyover Bridges is progressing simultaneously.
To icing on the cake is that Governor Wike has already paid 70 Percent of the contract sum. The contractor, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc is expected to deliver the Bridges by February 2021.
The length of the Flyover Bridges include: Rumuogba (Formerly Artillery 1 and 2) : 517.5 metres, Okoro-Nu-Odo 360 metres and Rebisi (formerly Garrison 360 metres)
MASSIVE URBAN RENEWAL PROGRAMME
Port Harcourt and its environs have become a huge construction site. The Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike is remodelling different parts of the state capital.
Other key projects like the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro Unity Road, Zonal Hospitals, Sakpenwa-Bori Road, upgrade of different iconic secondary schools are progressing in different parts of the State.
BRIGHTER DAYS AHEAD
Governor Wike is yet to conclude the first year of his second term and the results are everywhere. The future is bright for the state. The Governor has emphasized at every point that he will never be party to the second term failures of State Governors.
His administration will be a departure from the discouraging norm. Every step of the way will be decorated with pro-people projects and programmes to improve the lives of Rivers people.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.
FG Should Wake Up
I get so pissed off each time the news of insurgents’ attack on Nigerians begins to make the rounds in quick succession. My emotion gets worse when Federal Government, the supposed custodian of the people’s peace and safety appears so handicapped and helpless in situations they are looked upon to deliver.
While the nation yet mourns the Kogi and Delta killings of less than two weeks ago, fresh revelations have emerged on how Boko Haram insurgents attacked Garkida town in Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State for six hours on Friday night.
According to media report, many persons were feared killed by the invaders who announced their entry into the town by shooting aimlessly, looting the rural health centre, burning two ambulances and carting away another two.The source said, “they had unfettered access because a battalion of troops in the town was withdrawn sometime back, leaving behind just a few soldiers who could not repel the insurgents.
At the end of the day, the devastation of police barrack, police station, two churches; Living Faith and EYN, and a shopping mall, as well as a house belonging to Gen Paul Tarfa (retd.) in addition to lives either maimed or lost or captured, were relics of their heinuous visitation. This is not only frightening, it is sad.
This development does not in one bit present Nigeria as a country ready to combat insurgency which had lived with us before the advent of this administration.I do not want to be misled into believing that Nigeria has lost direction. Thus, I encourage the Federal Government to rise up to its responsibility before it is too late
By: Goodnews Mbachu, Owerri.
Talk About Sanitation Marshals, Not Cart Pushers
Going through the immediate past Wednesday edition of your paper, I came across a headline that captivated my attention; “RIWAMA Warns Cart Pushers To Steer off Streets”. I got to know that the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) under the leadership of Bro. Felix Obuah had, before now, ordered cart pushers to leave the streets and roads of Port Harcourt and its environ, an order which deadline ended February 17, 2020.
The waste management agency boss explained that the ban became necessary as the activities of the cart pushers have become a nuisance, turning some areas to an eyesore with indiscriminate dumping of refuse on the streets and roads.
In fairness to Obua, whose fears may not be far-fetched, I do not see the riddance of the cart pushers from the roads and streets of Port Harcourt as a panacea to the continuous ailing environmental state of the metropolitan capital city of the oil rich- state.
Instead, the realization of the adoption of sanitation marshals, will go a long way in solving the state’s sanitation problems. Recall that people were delighted with news of Rivers State government approving the appointment of sanitation marshals, which featured in your paper on Thursday, January 30, 2020. The subsequent approval that a bill be sent to the State House of Assembly to give legal backing to the appointments, gladdened their hearts the more.
Rather than chasing away these scavengers from their source of livelihood, it will be better to empower the sanitation marshals to check the activities of the former. With this in place, the state will not only have continued to sustain the economy of these peasants, it will have also created employment for the marshals thus providing a level playing ground for all.
I, therefore, suggest that the RIWAMA boss should consider hastening the bill that will give a legal backing to the marshals so they could be empowered to enforce the required sanitary practices and habits especially as it concerns strict compliance to the bagging of refuse, expected to be kept at authorised places for onward pick-up.
I hope that the coming of the sanitation marshals will, among other roles, end indiscriminate disposal of refuse on road medians and other unlawful places. Most importantly, ensure that residents of Port Harcourt city practise good sanitary habits.
By: Chinyere Ikpo, Ngbuoba.
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