The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has flagged off a youth development and empowerment scheme designed to create a comprehensive resources database of the youth population of the Niger Delta region.
Flagging off the project at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Commission’s Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, said the scheme known as Holistic Opportunities, Projects and Engagement, HOPE, would provide a platform to empower youths of the region on sustainable basis.
He stated: “This project, spearheaded by the NDDC, marks the dawn of a new beginning in our region. This is because ‘Project HOPE’ marks a turning point in our youth development and empowerment.
“The project is holistic and designed for sustainability because things can only be sustainable when they are data-driven. The project would create a database for youths, women, and entrepreneurs. This would enable us to see clearly what the youths want.
“The NDDC is striving for sustainability and this new approach is in conformity with international best practices and development. This opportunity rebrands the NDDC; we have decided to do things differently.”
Dr Ogbuku said that the new initiative, which was coming after many years of unplanned and mismanaged projects execution in the region, would focus on the needs of the youths, their qualifications, skills, passion, interests, and employment status.
He advised: “Youths in the Niger Delta should seize the opportunity and register on the database. We believe it is an opportunity that no youth should miss. You can only participate if you are registered on the database.”
The NDDC boss assured that Project HOPE, would create at least 1,000 jobs in each of the nine states of the region in the areas of agro-allied production, technology, among others.
Ogbuku said that the HOPE project was birthed during the Commission’s Youth Interactive Forum in March, noting: “The Consultant was present at the event as a stakeholder and offered to work with us.
In his remarks, the NDDC Executive Director Projects, Mr. Charles Ogunmola, said the management team was initiating new ideas to focus, execute the right programmes and deliver people-oriented projects.
He noted: “All things seem impossible until they are done. Today, what seemed difficult, has come to birth. The database, solutions and scheme will bring us closer to the new renaissance we seek at the NDDC.”
The Director, Skills Development and Empowerment, Mrs. Winifred Madume, explained that the scheme was meant to empower the youths with legitimate means of livelihood, in line with their educational directions, qualification and skills.
She said: “HOPE will give us an all-round understanding of who our youths are and what they want. It would enable a transparent selection process of Niger Delta youths. It ensures employment generation and industrialization which would see to the Public-Private Partnership model of the Commission.”
Also speaking, the resource person for Project HOPE, Ambassador Blessing Fubara, said the time had come for a serious development model to kick-off in the Niger Delta region.
He noted that the data base would provide the parameters for employment generation, youth empowerment and capacity development in the region.