By Suoyo Ekubo
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has announced the launch of a new initiative to empower the youth of the Niger Delta region.
The initiative, called “HOPE,” stands for Holistic Opportunity Projects of Engagement, and it aims to create 1,000 jobs per state through strategic partnerships and skill development.
Speaking at the flag off of project “HOPE “in July 12, 2023, the MD/CEO of NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, said: “Today marks a new dawn in the NDDC because we are kicking off project HOPE to touch the lives of youths in the Niger Delta. It is holistic because it will be all-encompassing and sustainable. We encourage every youth in the Niger Delta to take advantage of this program and register through the database because this is a new approach that conforms with the present-day realities. Every Niger Deltan, Entrepreneur, man, and woman are encouraged to register and take advantage of this opportunity.”
Dr. Ogbuku also explained that HOPE is a response to the recent uprising of the youths of the region, who expressed their demands for empowerment, jobs, and concerns. He said that the NDDC held an interactive forum with the youths, where they discussed their needs, measures, and recommendations to address them.
According to Dr. Ogbuku, HOPE will develop an exhaustive digital repository comprising vital information about the youth of the Niger Delta region, including their qualifications, skills, interests, needs, and current employment status. He said that this database will serve as a plank for data-driven planning, enabling the formulation of impactful policies and programs targeted at the youth.
The Executive Director, Projects, Mr. Charles Ogunmola, also spoke at the event and said that HOPE will offer targeted skill development initiatives, foster collaborations with local and international organizations, and promote sustainable development. He noted that HOPE would encourage a culture of transparency, thereby enhancing trust between the commission and the Niger Delta communities.
Mr. Ogunmola also outlined the implementation strategy of HOPE, which will take place in two phases. He said the initial phase will involve developing, designing, and deploying a digital platform that will enable data collection, analysis, and policy formation for NDDC. He said the succeeding phase would see data population, employment creation, and regional industrialization through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models.
Mr. Ogunmola expressed his optimism that HOPE will bring transformative benefits to the region, providing a holistic understanding of the skills, aspirations, and requirements of the Niger Delta youth population and effectively and promptly combat youth unemployment.
Dr. Ogbuku and Mr. Ogunmola invited the region youths to register their skills and interests on the HOPE website. They assured them they would be matched with suitable job opportunities through HOPE. They also appealed to the public and private sectors to support HOPE by providing employment opportunities for the youths.
They concluded by saying that HOPE is a visionary initiative that will change the narrative of the Niger Delta region from one of agitation and unrest to peace and prosperity.