By Esther Eugene, Warri
Residents of Delta State have decried poor implementation of the empowerment programmes of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led administration in the state.
They alleged that the programmes have been politicized to favour only government’s relations, associates and friends of politicians.
The people also described the empowerment scheme as a
scam, stressing that genuine applicants most times find it difficult to log into the site provided for enrollment.
“Some even spend money to log
into the sites provided but to no avail.
“The empowerment programme is a failure because very few benefit from it as genuine applicants are shut out as a result of the poor
selection processes by those in charge,” they said
The state empowerment programmes included but not limited to Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurship Programme (YAGEP), Delta State ICT Youth Empowerment Programme.
An applicant, Mr. Perekeme Bineibi said that he had logged into the empowerment site more than four times without success.
“The state empowerment programme is a huge fraud. Most of the beneficiaries are connected to top politicians in the state.
“If you are not a relation or friend to any politician or top government official, you will not be selected as a beneficiary of any of the empowerment Programmes.
“The empowerment programmes is used as handout to settle politicians friends and associates as political patronage. They in turn sell out starter packs that are not even enough to commence businesses on their own.” he said.
Bineibi said that the well intended Delta State Wealth Creation Programms had missed it’s purposed because few of the beneficiaries were recycled.
Also speaking, a female beneficiary simply identified as Oritseweyimi said that she was lucky to have been selected to participate in the STEP.
According to her, she was recommended by a political godfather who was not in the main stream of politics in the state saying that restricted her to only one of the programmes
“Some of my friends and other from the same constituency who are highly connected have the opportunity of being beneficiaries of more than one of the empowerment programmes to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of unemployed youths out there,” she said.
Another beneficiary simply known as Kevwe berated the Okowa led administration for poorly equipping the beneficiaries
Kevwe suggested that for the Programmes to be effective, government should target few people based on the available funds and equiped them optimally.
“Government should give the beneficiaries adequate mentorship and monitoring to enable them grow to become employers of labour and start contributing to the socio-economic advancement of their communities and the state.
“Most of us are compelled by the situation we find ourselves to sell starter packs given to us at the end of the programme because they are insufficient for a proper take-off of trades we are trained on.
“Imagine a situation where you are given a sewing machine, threads, needles and a paltry sixty thousand naira (N60,000:00) to rent a shop in Effurun or Warri where such shops go for between N120,000:00 and N150,000:00.
“How do you raise the balance money to get a shop? The government did not even consider source of electricity to power your machine or iron clothes for your clients and critical things you may need to properly kick off your business.
“This is not good enough, the state government should critically reevaluate this situation and act accordingly.” he said
In same vein, Mr. Ike Uzor said, “once governor Ifeanyi Okowa has given you a generating set of thirty-five thousand naira (N35,000:00), the state government has empowered you or given you a job, this ought not to be so. I guess that’s how the state government arrived at creating 200,000 jobs.”