The number of the unemployed keeps increasing, even as white-collar jobs are hard to come by. Those in position of authority encourage the jobless to be self-reliant through the provision of empowerment items. OGOCHUKWU ANIOKE reports that the lawmaker representing Ohaozara-Onicha-Ivo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives Linus Okorie has given empowerment items worth N65m to some of his constituents.
As the country grapples with the challenge of unemployment as a result of lack of white-collar jobs, wealthy individuals and those in position of authority have been encouraging individuals, especially young school leavers and graduates to redirect their attention from being job-seekers to job-creators and employers of labour.
Lawmakers are not left out in the quest to empower members of their constituency through skill acquisition programmes and empowerment items.
In the circumstances, the countrified town of Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State sparkled as residents shirked all their commercial and other activities to converge on Isiama-Onicha, the country home of the member representing Ohaozara-Onicha-Ivo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Linus Okorie. They gathered to join several distinguished guests who came from far and near to witness a unique moment when many members of the lawmaker’s constituency were empowered with various items to make them self-reliant and, possibly employers of labour.
For them, it was a rare opportunity to witness such an event which, they said, was the first in the state since the return of democracy in 1999.
During the event, Hon. Okorie gave out empowerment items valued at over N65m to some of his constituents.
Great crowd of members of his constituency witnessed the event which was described as unprecedented. What made the exercise remarkable was that some members of his constituency went home with cars, motorcycles, tricycles, hairdressers, power generating sets and other empowerment tools worth millions of Naira.
Tagged “Hon. Linus Okorie Empowerment Scheme,” the items distributed included 245 motorcycles, 30 tricycles, 18 cars, 20 grinding machines, 20 industrial sewing machines, 98 power generating sets, 30 hair dressing sets, 10 barbing sets; 10 vulcanising machines, two Dorman sawing machines and 18 computer sets.
Speaking at the event, Hon. Okorie advised his constituents to form agricultural co-operative societies in order to take advantage of the Federal Government’s policies and programmes towards boosting the agro sector as alternative economic base.
Okorie promised to assist co-operative societies that were able to acquire large expanse of land to access Central Bank of Nigeria’s low interest agric loan and other commercial bank loans.
He said with the dwindling price of oil in the international market, Nigeria, which operates a mono-economy based on oil, has no choice than to embrace agriculture which he insisted holds the key to the nation’s economic diversification.
The lawmaker said the Federal Government and banks should do away with collateral as prerequisite to accessing agricultural loans. Instead, he said, it should use lands as the basis for granting of loans.
Hon. Okorie, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions, announced that he secured 56 federal jobs for youths in his first and part of his current second tenure.
Okorie praised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the state governor, Chief David Umahi, noting that there is no amount of empowerment he could provide that could be commensurate with the mandate given to him by his constituents.
He appealed to members of his constituency to make good use of the empowerment items to boost-up their welfare, adding that he will tap from his oversight functions to enhance agricultural practice in his constituency and in the entire state.
The state Governor, Umahi who was represented at the occasion by his Special Adviser on Rural Development, Ogbuefi Enekwachi Akpa commended the lawmaker for the gesture, saying it was the first of its kind since1999.
One of the beneficiaries, who identified himself as Bernard and who received a motorcycle, said he was grateful to Hon. Okorie, saying he would possibly go into commercial motorcycle business.