The Managing Director of Midwestern Oil and Gas Company, Mr. Charles Odita, has advised Nigerian youths to utilise every available opportunity to better their lives and to be economically independent especially now that the opportunity for white collar jobs is slimmer.
Odita gave the advice yesterday during the presentation of starter-packs to 26 youths who successfully completed the two-year skills acquisition training organised as part of the company’s empowerment and corporate responsibility, in Kwale, Ndokwa West Local Government Area, Delta State.
He stressed the company’s commitment to the development of its host communities, through the establishment of functional infrastructure and human capacity enhancement and enterprise, aside direct employment of the indigenes. Several amenities provided by the indigenous oil and company for the three host communities in the area, including two health centres and blocks of classrooms in several primary schools in the communities, were also commissioned.
The managing director, who was also the chairman of the starter-pack and merit award presentation ceremony, noted that Midwestern had embarked on the training scheme in order to afford determined but unemployed youths in its host communities “the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty to another level.”
Odita however said that it was disheartening that some past beneficiaries had abandoned their trade as soon as they received the equipment and little capital from the company to start small businesses of their own. He further said that the company had subsequently identified and begun rewarding those who had “done very well” with their starter-packs and seed capital so as to encourage other recipients, in addition to strictly monitoring the activities of the beneficiaries to check abuses.
Also speaking, the Head, Community Affairs of the company, Mr. Williams Eboh, similarly lamented the fact that the execution and inauguration of several community projects initiated by Midwestern Oil and Gas were often hampered by delay in decision making and appropriate response from the three Kwale host communities. He therefore advised the community leaders and representatives to “carry your people along” so that they would know that delay in proper take-off of certain projects were not caused by the company.
Eboh warned that the current year’s Midwestern scholarship scheme might also be forced to be put off till the following year, simply because the communities have been unable to send to the company a final list of qualified beneficiaries from the different areas. The categories of trainees who received the Midwestern starter-packs and seed capital include fashion designers, hair dressers, building material traders as well as welding and fabrication artisans. Some of the beneficiaries who spoke with THISDAY expressed happiness at the opportunity to start a business of their own with prospects for expansion within the shortest possible time.
While indigene, Mr. Enuma Ogochukwu, thanked the company for the two-year training in building materials marketing, Miss Onyeka Oweta and Miss Jennifer Utuodoi said they looked forward to employing between two and five apprentices within the next year. Three past beneficiaries also received awards as role models of the Midwestern empowerment scheme ranging from brand new sewing machines to electric hair-driers.
Among the projects commissioned yesterday were the renovated Umusam-Ogbe Community health centre and Ogbeani Obi-Ogwa town hall. Others were the Ogbea-Ani health centre/staff quarters and blocks of six and three classrooms in Azunze Primary School, Umusadege-Ogbe and Lagos-Ogbe Primary School, Ogbe-Ani, respectively.