Uzodimma’s 4000 Skilled Foreign Jobs: Another Jinx-Breaker

Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma

By Deacon Chike Okafor PhD

It is a truism that what attracts wealth and fame is usually wrapped in mysteries and hidden away from the eyes of mortals, in imaginable depth beneath the surface.

Who would have believed that resources as precious as crude oil, gold, diamond, and other essential mineral wealth could be found deposited deep in the Earth crust beneath the ocean?

Humanity is inherently imbued with a mindset of doubt, disbelief,cynicism, and suspicion over new and novel ideas no matter how sound and constructive they may be.

This state of mind appears not to have fizzled out, even in this era where digital technology has transformed the world to make apparent impossibilities possible.

To that extent, one would have expected a change of attitude from the cynics and pessimists given the glaring fact that a number of developments that were doubted when their ideas were initially mooted or propounded eventually got accomplished and have since become normalized in our daily existence.

Before the industrial revolution in Europe, slavery and slave labor were deployed in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. When machine was invented and a vigorous campaign was mounted against slavery, it was a Herculean task to get things fixed under the new industrial policy. It was this same disagreement between the Southern American planters who relied so much on Slave labour and the industrialized North that had adapted to the use of machines that sparked off the American Civil war.

One can see how the world transits from one pattern to another, from the use of coal as a source of energy to petroleum; from analogue to digital technology.

The world has seen the wonders of science and technology with its indescribable and unbelievable feats recorded in the areas of power generation, medicine, communication, aeronautics, marine transportation, building and the most recent which is rooted in computer and digitalization could be rightly described as the ‘end of discussion’ or the climax of it all.

Despite these breakthroughs and their glaring evidence, many are still full of doubts over unbelievable things that can happen through the digital technology that has conquered the world. Emphasis needs not to be made on how almost every sector of the socio-economic system has been digitalized, thereby making services more effective, massive, cheaper, and realizable.

The digital world has opened windows and doors for the creation of more jobs and opportunities due to diverse activities that are made possible in the digital space, hence every sector has gradually surrendered their independence to one or two applications derived from digital technology.

For instance; banking, shipping, Accounting, communication, education, judiciary, printing, media, manufacturing, construction, transportation, music, Arts, fashion, drama, religion, Medicine and virtually everything on the face of the earth currently depends on the digital technology to function and stay relevant.

The good news is that the developed parts of the world have already started putting digital technology to good use and exploiting its derivable benefits. As a result of that, they are in dire need of tech-skilled manpower to work and aggregate productive input in various sectors of their society.

The need for these specialized manpower constrains the host countries to partly relax their immigration policies to encourage skilled migrants from overseas to boost their tech-skilled workforce. This has been the trend for decades and even centuries, long before the advent of the digital technology industry.

At one point in Nigeria, government establishments made relevant immigration policies that provided expatriate quota for employment of specialized skill manpower from foreign nations.

It could be remembered that in the 80s, expatriate quota was worked out for Hospital entrepreneurs in Nigeria who utilized such to bring in Indian and Pakistan Medical doctors.

Institutions of learning were also granted such approval to bring in science teachers from mostly the South-East Asian region.

Hon. Chike Okafor

Some of our universities and secondary schools were flooded with teachers and lecturers who handled special subjects. Those immigrants were manpower exports from other nations whose citizens needed foreign job opportunities for survival, decent living and also to repatriate funds to the homeland to care for their dependants and by extension boost foreign exchange inflow to their fatherland and stimulate the local economy.

It is a well known fact all over the world that a very poor country like Bangladesh that produces nothing for export was able to harness the potentials in welding by empowering it’s citizens with welding and fabrication skills which they later utilize to export its welders to different parts of the World.

This policy has helped Bangladesh to earn foreign exchange from its citizens abroad and has also created well-paid jobs for them across the globe.

The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma, has promised to create 4,000 foreign skilled jobs for Imo youths who would be engaged in European and American companies, but political haters and naysayers have called him unprintable names. It is regrettable that this novel idea of the Governor to explore the global job opportunities offered through the digital technology in the advanced countries of Europe and America, should be ridiculed, misunderstood and reduced to partisan shenanigans.

Those ridiculing the Governor are merely mischievous, having refused to be tutored that digital supremacy across the globe gave rise to the current trend of skilled labour export, which is churning out billionaires in their numbers through knowledge-driven tech-based enterprises.

It is on record that it is this same digital revolution that produced the present day World richest men like Elon Musk, Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg, and a host of others.

Who said that when Imo youths are empowered with tech skills that they won’t compete favorably with their contemporaries across the globe?

The beautiful prospects of keying into the wealth-creating opportunities in the global digital technology market must have inspired a foresighted leader like Governor Uzodimma to think inward and out of the box on how to empower our teeming youths and solve the protracted problem of unemployment and poverty.

Every sound leader who has been around knows that our past empowerment and poverty alleviation policies cum programs hardly made the desired impact, given the unfortunate situation that prevailed, when such programs did not go beyond giving motorcycles, Tricycles (Keke NAPEP), Small generator sets and electric clippers, stipends and other palliatives that could not change anybody’s deplorable condition, not to talk of becoming billionaires or employers of labour.

The Governor, having seen an opening and the opportunities presented by the tech revolution, embarked on genuine empowerment and lifting of the people out of poverty.

As a realist that he is, Governor Uzodimma took off with the establishment of the Ministry of Digital Economy through which his massive and realistic empowerment project would be anchored. His Cohort 1 and 2 so far have trained 20,000 Imo youths in different digital skills, and on completion of training, they were empowered with start-up kits and laptops.

Most of these youths have been gainfully employed both at home and abroad. Some are self-employed and doing well from the comforts of their homes and offices as wealth creators and employers of labor.

Having just concluded the Cohort 2 program, the Cohort 3 will soon take off with the target of training 40,000 youths. The government is targeting to churn out 300,000 tech-skilled manpower through this ambitious program.

In realization of the wave being made in the world through this sector and offshore opportunities therein, the Governor while speaking during the graduation ceremony of the Cohort 2 batch beneficiaries announced his plans with European and Canadian Companies to get 4000 digital skilled Imo youths absorbed into such foreign Companies. As usual, the naysayers and Imo hate campaigners immediately returned to the trenches of mudslinging and narrative twisting.

They accused the Governor of deceit and talking of impossibility because of political gains. Others insinuated that he was about to traffic Imo youths into modern day slavery, and the less hostile alleges that he is rather worsening the already existing brain drain syndrome biting hard on the economy and so on and so forth.

The bottom line is that the blinded opposition in the state that doesn’t see anything good in the Governor even if he builds houses and feeds every Imo citizen has oiled its propaganda machinery to mislead the citizens over a practicable policy that has worked for other nations.

The probing question should have been if the Governor’s 4000 foreign jobs were feasible? Yes, they are!

Already, the youths have been empowered with the digital skills, and with the instrument of government, the Governor has what it takes to secure such jobs for them, which are, of course, available.

The countries involved like Canada have made publications to that effect of their need for digital skilled manpower.

Vanguard, June 28th, 2023 edition had such publication on Canada’s search and offer for such opportunities. Why doubt the Governor? Even digital technology guru like Leo Stan Ekeh of Zinox fame has corroborated the foresight of the Governor and eulogized him for exploring the lucrative path of digital technology to create future billionaires among Imo youths.

Another tech expert, Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy who was present during the graduation of the Cohort 2 batch, lauded the Governor for his foresight and promised that the federal government will partner with Imo State Government to carry it out for the teeming Nigerian youths. Remarkably, Imo State is a pathfinder in this all-important initiative in Nigeria, and soon, other states will start coming to the state to learn and tap from the oasis of the Governor’s wisdom and knowledge.

So, why can’t we jettison partisanship and think of the Imo State of our collective dream?

The Governor has since the inception of his administration in January 2020 initiated projects and programs that were perceived as impossiblities, which he eventually prosecuted successfully to their logical conclusions.

When he signed a memorandum of understanding with the German Construction giant, Julius Berger over the construction of Owerri/ Orlu road, nobody believed him.

The naysayers accused him of playing pranks but he proved doubting Thomases wrong by bringing in another German Construction giant, Craneburg who took over from Berger when things didn’t work out with the former and today the roads have been delivered to globally accepted standards, with street lights. From the completed Owerri-Orlu, Owerri-Okigwe roads to the ongoing Owerri-Egbu-Emekuku-Mbaise-Obowo-Umuahia highway.

Uzodimma promised to recover diverted public assets, land, and funds, and nobody believed him, but we are living witnesses to thousands of lands, institutions, funds, and other things recovered by him.

He promised to open a brand new University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences but he was scorned with doubts and disbelief, he shocked everyone when he established a brand new University at the former Campus of Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo and relocated the polytechnic to Omuma, Oru East.

When the Governor promised to empower over 200 Imo youths with an empowerment fund in 2021, again nobody believed him until he delivered on his promise to their utter chagrin.

When he talked of paying the 13th month salary to Imo workers, the same doubt saturated everywhere, and he did it, and since its takeoff in December 2021, it has remained a yearly ritual.

There is nothing the Governor promised that he has not fulfilled. He promised prompt payment of salaries and pensions, and that has been fulfilled. He promised vehicles for permanent secretaries, free transport scheme, and lunch for the civil servants, and those promises were kept.

Imo Civil Servants have not been promoted for over a decade before he came on board. He promised to change the narratives, and as usual, he was doubted, but he fulfilled his promise. Governor Uzodimma has a good history of fulfilling his promises with all manner of people and institutions, and even as a private citizen, he lived a life of benevolence and magnanimity.

If the Governor could empower thousands of people whom he sent overseas for greener pastures as an ordinary citizen, why is it difficult to believe he can do more than that now as a Governor who has the instrument of power and authority at his disposal?

Before Uzodimma came on board as a Governor there was nothing like state sponsorship of pilgrims to the holy lands of Israel and Mecca but when he promised to revive it with sponsorship of over 1000 pilgrims to Jerusalem and hundreds to Mecca, the naysayers said that he was lying but he did it to their consternation.

If the Governor was able to sponsor over one thousand pilgrims, what is too big about securing 4000 foreign jobs for tech-skilled Imo youths in European and Canadian Companies?

This Governor knows the benefits and multiplier effects of such engagements and can not fail to take advantage of the trending global wealth creation models and opportunities for Imo youths.

Being a jinx breaker who was doubted in almost everything he set out to do, which he eventually accomplished excellently, it needs no saying that Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State will through his pet project of digital skill empowerment program for Imo youths lift thousands of families out of poverty in Imo State and also go the extra mile to raise the first generation of globally affirmed billionaires through his innovative digital skill manpower exports to Europe and America.

Let us give a chance to this modern-day jinx-breaker.

Governor Hope Uzodimma deserves his flowers.

Chike Okafor is a former commissioner for Finance in Imo and a two-term member of the House of Representatives. He wrote in from Abuja

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