Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Wednesday, launched an ICT-based scheme to empower youths in the state.
Under the initiative tagged “Diri Digital Entrepreneurship Empowerment Programme (DDEEP),” 8,000 beneficiaries across the eight local government areas of the state would be trained and equipped with information communication and technology skills.
Governor Diri said during the launch that youth entrepreneurship and empowerment were key to achieving and sustaining prosperity in the state rather than the usual expectations of handouts from public office holders.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as expressing optimism that the DDEEP programme would make the beneficiaries not only self-reliant but also employers of labour.
He stated that his government’s commitment to the programme was premised on the huge opportunities in the ICT sector, which he said drives the global economy.
He charged the beneficiaries to take the training seriously, saying so much was expected of them.
Diri assured that as part of efforts to develop the ICT sector, the government has concluded plans to complete the ICT innovation centre started by the previous administration, which is expected to be a technology hub, and also renovate and equip already existing ICT centres across the eight local government areas.
He called for support and collaboration from the private and public sector as well as public-spirited individuals to enable the state develop its ICT sector.
His words: “This is the prosperity we have been preaching about. Youth entrepreneurship is the only road we can travel and hand over prosperity from one generation to another. Prosperity is not by getting handouts from politicians and relatives. I appreciate the Commissioner and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology for living up to the expectations of the prosperity government.
“From every local government area, we will have 1,000 youths trained for a period of four years. The vision of this programme is to make Bayelsa the ICT capital of Nigeria. I like to caution the trainees to see this as an opportunity to be self-reliant in order to become employers of labour.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Communication, Science and Technology, Dr. Promise Ekio, expressed appreciation to Governor Diri for approving the programme, which he said will affect the economy of the state positively.
He stated that the world of communication is easier through the aid of digital technology and it is necessary for any society to develop, saying the programme would mobilise youths to contribute to development of the state.
Chairman of occasion, Professor Ebitimitula Etebu, said ICT drives the world, stressing that most millionaires were ICT entrepreneurs hence the importance of the programme.
Prof. Etebu, who is also Vice Chancellor of the Bayelsa Medical University, lauded the ministry and the state government for the initiative, which he said would impact positively on the state.
In his keynote address, Dr. Samuel Gambo, the South South Zonal Coordinator, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said ICT can empower youths significantly and lauded the government for the programme while calling for its sustainance.