Imolites and Broken Promises of Job Creation


By Stanley Achonu, KSC.0810607362

t is a common practice in our nation, Nigeria and the world for political aspirants to woo the electorates with promises and hopes of things they will do if elected. Political manifestoes are usually fashioned to closely attend to pressing needs of the populace. Recently, Imolites are bombarded with promises on how to tackle the problem of unemployment by the incumbent government and gubernatorial aspirants. While the incumbent administration is pounding its chest on its achievement and plans, the aspirants are engaged in promises of things they want to do. All these promises are made to the masses in an effort to attract Imolites and their votes. Often times, these pre-election promises, particularly, that of job creation are given little or no consideration when these politicians get their ways into office. One thing remains clear; unemployment is a common challenge to Imolites and it needs real solution. Our elected representatives and their appointees have engaged in all forms of deceptive manipulation of the people with no real agenda to improve the unemployment challenges of our dear state. Their act, I am certain, is a sharp contrast from promises they made and keep making to the Imolites on job creation.
How are the mighty fallen? How on earth are our so called excellent, distinguished and honorable men and women in governance going astray in the whirlwind of corruption, nepotism, and deceit? The socio-economic state of Nigeria and Imo state in particular is heart breaking. Unemployment level is at an unimaginable high rate and none of our so called elected representatives blinks an eye on sustainable and real job creation. I will commend our governor, His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha for his Youth Must Work Program. 25, 000 Imolites are at work and ‘our governor, our governor’ has added this to the fulfillment of his campaign promises on job creation to Imolites whom he addresses as, ‘my people, my people.’ His Excellency and his aides are giving themselves kudos for a job well done; nevertheless I have to objectively express my opinion on the shortcomings of this program because I do not see it as a real solution to our unemployment problem.
From all indications, the employed 25,000 youths are graduates of tertiary institutions. My questions to the initiators of the Youth Must Work Program are pooled from Imolites’ opinion and they are: Will those in governance let their biological sons and daughters who are graduates to work in this program? Is the monthly pay for workers in this program equitable with our current cost of living? What is the rationale for employing these youths when their salaries are not paid promptly? Will the payment of these workers generate another government bill or will the employed 25,000 youths produce resources to offset their salaries? Were these youths selected on merit or on their loyalty and affiliation to the ruling party? Are these 25,000 jobs temporary economic stimulus jobs or permanent jobs? When will all these youths receive their job appointment letters stating their job responsibilities and remuneration? What are the chances of sustaining these jobs beyond the tenure of the current administration?
Those are critical questions that challenge the credibility and sustainability of the Youth Must Work Program. From the trend of events, the Youth Must Work Program looks like a failure from inception and Imolites are aggrieved by this deception. There are better and sustainable ways of creating meaningful employment through industrialization and private sector investments than compilation of names of 25,000 Imo youths to work as pooling station guards in 2015. The Imo Transport Corporation workers are still carrying placards on the street for non-payment of salaries and allowances and here we are creating more salaries and allowances for 25,000 youth to be paid by the state government. Since this administration is bent on fulfilling their campaign promise of creating 25,000 jobs, why are they violating their promise to the likes of ITC by non-payment of wages?
For twelve long years, the People Democratic Party, PDP, of Imo state offered two administrations that failed to see the importance of free education. Free education is a wonderful thing and I sincerely thank this administration for doing what Chief Udenwa and Chief Ohakim’s administrations were unable to do. However, the Maslow’s hierarchy of human need teaches us that basic human need such as food and shelter are priorities. Putting food on the table is becoming mission impossible in many homes. Children and wards are going to school in hunger. Of what benefit will it be that children on free education are subjected to selling of sachet water, fruits, vegetables and beverages on the street to help make families’ financial ends meet? With meaningful employment or means of livelihood, parents and guardians will have the financial capacity to provide for their children and wards. Certainly, this will limit and possibly, stop the abuse on children going on in our state and the nation in general. I am of the humble opinion that getting Imolites back to real work with good pay is as important as the free education scheme.
Imo is blessed with a lot of natural and human resources and it will take a competent leader to harness the clay in Amuro, Okigwe zone into the production of ceramic tiles, imported and used in almost every new house built in Nigeria. It will take a dynamic leader to mechanize agriculture and produce more garri from Ohaji/Egbema so Imolites will buy less of the Umunede and Auchi garri. It will take an efficient leader to restore or reinvent the Imo Modern Poultry of Late Chief Samuel Mbakwe era. It will take a visionary leader to turn the vast land in Owerri zone into an international market center like the city of Dubai in United Arab Emirates. It will take a creative leader to turn Oguta Lake to an international tourism and resort center. It will take an endowed leader to expand the curriculum of our state owned tertiary schools to embrace skill acquisition to enable Imolites face the challenges of globalized twenty-first century world. I am certain there are a hundred and one other things government can do to reduce high rate of unemployment starring in the face of Imolites. These projects will in turn create alternative revenue needed by our state; rather than oil revenue dependence.
Human capital development should be a real issue for the government. Imo state cannot, continue on this lane of high unemployment rate and those in government are playing political gimmicks with job opportunities. As 2015 gubernatorial election is drawing near, the gubernatorial aspirants are saying how they will employ the entire Imolites. This has been a common practice with some politicians who talk the talk but cannot walk the walk. The good thing about Imolites is their ability to assess these aspirants and detect, through their records and achievements, their abilities and inabilities. Questions about the pedigree and experience of these aspirants as it concerns job creation will, no doubt, be up in the air of consideration for Imolites to make sound judgment and choice of leadership. The saying goes that, ‘you cannot give what you do not possess. Creation of real jobs is a leadership skill and those who are not experienced in this skill cannot offer it. There is no room for learning on the job when it comes to Imo administration and job creation.
Unemployment remains a great challenge to Imolites and it will take an experienced leader with job creation knowledge to salvage the situation. In Imolites’ school of public opinion, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho is leading the pack of these aspirants when it comes to job creation and employment. He has distinguished himself by his achievement as Interior Minister of the Federation. A lot of people became gainfully employed with agencies under his ministry. Captain Ihenacho, a 2015 Imo gubernatorial aspirant on the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, understands how to create real and sustainable jobs. He remains the highest employer of labor amongst the pack of gubernatorial aspirants through his private companies; Integrated Oil and Gas, Genesis Shipping Company and other affiliating investments. His business ventures have in the high hundreds, if not thousands of Nigerians in their direct and extended payroll. Ihenacho’s record on business management and job creation speaks volume and should be embraced by Imolites to get Imolites back to work.