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ATEI NIGER : The Post Summit Journey

By Fodio Ahmad (Mai Gemu)
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Being a speech delivered by the Senior Special Assistant to the Executive Governor of Niger State on Youth Entrepreneurship Development at the Justice Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna on 3 March, 2015,

By Shehu Bawa Bwari
The Chief Servant, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu CON, Talban Minna, Chairman Northern Governors Forum, Executive Governor of Niger State.

Founder of the Aisha Babangida Youth Leadership Series, Hajiya Aisha Babangida and all other distinguished personalities, Ladies and Gentle Men. The Arewa Transformation & Empowerment Initiative (ATEI) is a non religious, non partisan, body of Northern Nigerian professionals. One of our major motivations remains, the bridging of the gap between various ethnic and religious groups in the North and espouses the vision of a diverse and still unified north and ensures justice and equality for all. The Niger State Branch of the Arewa Transformation and Empowerment Initiative has over time become a household name in Niger State; this did not happen overnight. It came about as a result of various skill acquisition programmes it has been unfolding through the Arewa Youth Empowerment Program (AYEP), a youth empowerment programme designed to build the capacity of the teeming youths in Northern Nigeria through the provision of context specific capacity building and skills development training programmes that will empower them to be self-employed in ventures that are viable within their localities for which they have comparative advantage hence stimulating local economies. The ATEI Niger with the assistance of the Niger State Government and other well meaning individuals have been partners in this development.

Skill Acquisition plays a pivotal role towards reducing youth restiveness in our society and gone are the days that a society that wished well for its self rely upon the government to provide 100% employment opportunity for its citizens, the government cannot but if the citizens are well equipped with different skills, the government can always provide enabling environment for the acquired skills. Youth self employment is the main commodity towards ending the present Northern predicaments, in other words, the youth engagement more than any form of measures is the best attainable tool for peace, growth and development of every modern society.

It should be recalled that in September 2014, the ATEI Niger with the support of the Niger State Government and Sure P Niger State organized a Northern Youth Summit themed: Youth Sustainable Development And National Integration here in Minna, in the summit over 2500 beneficiaries in various skills where graduated and empowered.

Today's event is yet another milestone that history must reckon with in Niger State, being the post summit trainings that we embarked upon with over 5000 beneficiaries doubling the number of last year's beneficiaries' and this time, we did incorporate new skills; Catering, Shoe Making, Tailoring, Generator Repairs amongst others courtesy of the Aisha Babangida Youth Leadership Series. Through the Niger State AYEP Scheme and the partnership with ABYLS, the leadership series sponsored various skills acquisition empowerment training. This has resulted in the training and empowerment of 500 beneficiaries, who today are graduating, with another set of 500 graduating from the Niger State Sure P's scheme making a total of 1000 beneficiaries. It is our pray and hope that the remaining trained beneficiaries are empowered.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I humbly call and urge the members of the society to embrace and support programmes of this nature; It is also my prayer that the graduants succeed as startups great business men and women who will bring great value to not only their families, Niger State but Nigeria at large. Thank God, we Nigerlites are blessed with patriots who against all odds have place youth empowerment as a topmost priority; so, with this, we appreciate the efforts of the Chief Servant of Niger State, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu and the founder of Aisha Babangida Youth Leadership Series for sponsoring such a viable venture for the benefit of the masses. We as well thank President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for the establishment of Sure P.

I wish you all a safe trip back to your various destinations.

Thank You and God Bless you all ……..
Shehu Bawa Bwari
ATEI Niger Coordinator
Senior Special Assistant to the Chief Servant on Youth Entrepreneurship Development