By Gabriel Chy Alonta
No fewer than 200 tertiary students in Anambra state have been empowered in the ongoing skill acquisition programme organised by the Fidelity Bank Youth Empowerment Academy (YEA) in collaboration with Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE).
Orient Daily gathered that the students were selected from Chukwemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam (COOU); Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe; Anambra State Polytechnic, Mgbakwu, and Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, all in Anambra state.
The 5-day skill acquisition training programme and empowerment took place at Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies (COCES), UNIZIK, last Wednesday.
Speaking during the occasion, the wife of the state governor, Dr. Ebelechukwu Obiano, who is also the founder of CAFE, commended the students for their performances throughout the training, and urged them to remain focused by turning their choosing skills into wealth.
Mrs. Obiano also commended the host institution for providing the enabling environment needed for the training, assuring that the group would continue to collaborate with the institution to train students on various skills.
She said that they had trained and empowered over 4,800 persons, while enjoining participants to ensure they put their skills to use by becoming employers of labour upon graduation. This, she said, would make them worthy ambassadors of the state.
In a remark, the vice-chancellor of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Okechukwu Esimone, said the instituton remains centre of excellence, stating that his administration had always ensured that students have skills before graduating.
Esimone, represented by the deputy vice-chancellor, Administration, Prof. Carol Arinze-Umobi, said that the institution was peaceful, while thanking the state government led by Chief Willie Obiano, for ensuring the security of lives and properties in the state.
The head, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Chris Nnakwe, disclosed that the event, the 6th edition, had earlier been hosted by the university of Nigeria Nsukka; Waziri Umar Federal Polytechnic, Birnin-Kebbi; Federal Polytechnic Oko; River State University of Science &Technology, Port Harcourt and Bayero University, Kano.
He said gone were days when youths and graduates depend on white collar jobs, noting that it was one of the ways Fidelity Bank contributes its quota to the development of the society, even as he added that they would subsequently visit all tertiary institutions in the nation.
He said the bank would not only empower the beneficiaries, but would also help them access loans for expanding their small and medium businesses. He said the bank spent more than N25 million on each programme.
He said sustenability remains the goal of the training; adding that they would coninue to mentor beneficiaries in the community of practice. He also extoled the efforts of Mrs. Obiano in empowering youths in the state, urging her not to rest on her oars.
The Commissioner for Youth Entrepreneurship and Creative Economy, Hon. Afam Mbanefo, who was also present at the event, stressed the need to build skills of youths to become employers of labour upon graduation.
Earlier, the director of COCES, UNIZIK, Prof. Ngozi Ijeoma, thanked the benefactors for the initiative, noting that it was overwhelming to touch over 200 students by reshaping their future.
She advised the students to bring out their best in their chosen areas, noting that entrepreneurs were the world shakers, adding that “impart your world and carve a niche for yourselves to have financial abundance”.
In a vote of thanks, one of the beneficiaries, Ahunna Nwigwe, who spoke on behalf of other beneficiaries, commended the benefactor for availing them the opportunity.