The Importance of Human Capital Development part 2

Source: Prof. Protists Uzoma Nathan
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Sociologically, the term ‘community’ insinuates relativism in a people’s ways of life, which implies relative needs, realities and challenges of human development. But given the universal nature of underdevelopment in Nigeria and in Imo State in particular, which is mostly witnessed in our local communities, there are certain peculiar challenges in all our local communities. These challenges include:

a. Disinterestedness on the future of our Community’s teeming population, by the affluent in the society, who are business tycoons, educational and professional dons, politicians and public appointees, the comprador bourgeoisies and the relatively grand capitalists of our communities. Instead, such funds are wasted on hotel business, chieftaincy titles, numerous luxurious vehicles, land acquisitions and estate developments, shares buying and other personal capital investments.

b. Little and insignificant skill acquisition programs, making technical skills acquisitions low and ensuring constant rise of quackeries. Nowadays, the pursuit of white-collar jobs have diminished zeal in trade-learning and skill acquisition, which are considered to be the appurtenance of the low-witted, the relegated and the most impoverished who could not afford formal education.

c. Inordinate and inconsistent empowerment programs from our representatives in federal, State and local council assemblies, who ought to support their constituencies in socioeconomic developments.

d. General discontinuity principles of series of poverty alleviation programs in the State by previous Governors, NASS and State House of Assembly members.

e. Lack of willing affluent individuals in sponsoring youths that form their social-class wards in their local communities and their larger extensions.

f. General believe in education for self-subsistence and thus focus on white-collar jobs, and quick-money-making ventures than in learning skills, arts, etc.

g. The discouragement of the ravaging corruption in our society where the social value system is placed on “making it,” the means of this ‘making it’ being insignificant.

These notwithstanding, there are certain ways out. Our people’s representatives in the legislative arms of government should build interest in the future of the teeming population in their areas and increase their standard of living. This entails making long and short terms skill acquisition programs, aiming at training and retraining, as well as periodic follow-up of the trained and equipped persons to ascertain their progress.

More so, internalizing and motivating schemes should be added to the present day entrepreneur studies in Imo schools of today as the students are privileged than their parents and elderly ones in having these inserted in the curriculum of studies. Our wealthy sons and daughters, our people’s representative such as: The Local Councilors, House of Assembly Members, National Assembly members should ensure consistent and adequate empowerment programs in their constituencies. Such empowerment has to take cognizance of the needs of the people and ensure possible perspective planning on either long or short term vision of alleviation made in line with the programs. Thus, for a member of for an affluent member of a Community to empower his people with wheelbarrow, shovels, head-pans defines the category of progress being aimed on the beneficiaries; just as to empower one’s Community with bags of rice, wrappers, loaves of breads and tubers of yams, are definitive of emergency interventions than human capital development, and this consequently undermines human development.

Our local Communities’ affluent who are business tycoons, government and leaders at the Local Council, State and Federal levels have to make it a habit to see the continuity of human capital projects of their predecessors than allowing them to die off, and initiating their proper schemes. Perhaps, needful moderations could be effectuated than discarding them. This calls for a proper analysis of the people’s actual needs by the stakeholders of the area than imagining and universalizing what is most needful in some parts of the society to all. On the Community level, the administration and youth leadership need to be consulted in order know the most proper channel for human development needed at any epoch.

The above discussion is also an encouragement and patriotic call to willing affluent in the Community to help sponsor their youths with part of their wealth in learning skills and formal education, and helping those that have acquired skills which are capital intensive to take off. This increases not only their popularity and value-assessment in their areas, but in increasing rapid human capital development in the Community.

During primary and secondary schools, the better positioned citizens of our Communities should embark on talent hunts biannually, to catch them young that have extraordinary talents, and let the children know that education is not only for self-subsistence, but that there are other areas for self-subsistence, which involve their natural talents. Thus, education should not be viewed by students as culminating in white-collar jobs but ought to assist one in thinking out proper areas where one can initiate for survival. The traditional rulers, religious leaders, stakeholders of the Communities and government should constantly de-emphasis the social value system on ‘making it,’ which has led most of our youths into making it in diverse means- rituals, yahoo, yahoo-plus, kidnapping, armed robbery, human parts sales, baby factory operations (formal and informal), etc.

The solutions above have several future impacts. It will not only boom self-employment by dint of emergent small and medium scale (SME) industries and workshops, but will boost home economy and internally generated revenue for the Local Government Areas and State. It will also result to the emergence of craftsmanship and artisanship, which cause inventions and creativity, as well as productivity competition that leads to enhancement of produce qualities, alternative market products, low costs of produce and their utter visibility. It decreases unemployment, idleness and the resultant criminality. It also creates competitiveness and emulations amongst youths of a society, which ends in rapid development of the Community and constant increase in human capital development.

There is need of constant empowerment for the teeming population of our youths. The virtual outcome of the youths not being employed or empowered, which is a socioeconomic absorption into labour force and productivity, consists in declined situation of living and continuous dependence at the age of independence. Sometimes, the elders and those better placed to empower our youths, feel that empowerment is giving the youths money, buying them Keke, taxi or buses. Though these as strategy of avoiding penury of the beneficiary is fair, they are nonetheless not enough for our present day Community Youths, and as such I propel today a paradigm shift to old values of empowerment under present day realities and socioeconomic advancements.

I stand here today to declare a new era of empowerment sans Keke Napep, Okada, Taxi and Bus Imo, etc, and thus a transition into standard empowerment that not only empowers the empowered beneficiaries, but its dependants and future generations. There are for instance, sponsorship for ateliers and craftsmanship abroad. Most of our youths are highly skilled and can make terrible impacts in our Community if they have their ways to such technology advancing countries as Japan, Thailand, Korea, China, etc.

Most of our youths have spent years learning trades and acquiring skills, and only to end up staying like those that went to formal education, unemployed and not-empowered. Empowerment in this regard needs to consider the true disposition and visions of the person, its background and life aspirations. Thus, to empower one that learnt shoes fabrications with Keke or taxi is no empowerment, as we are not encouraging others to go and learn trades or acquire skills for self subsistence.

To sponsor football tournaments during festive times and at intervals is not empowerment, but social entertainment that has no personal, lasting benefit to the players. Instead, inviting coaches of our national leagues to witness and assess such soccer, is a strategy of empowerment, as it has the propensity of having some skillful players coming to national and international limelight. Inviting some international football stars that are our friends in abroad and are famous worldwide, to witness such football tournament is a pure service than disservice for the future of Community youths. So also it is in other fields of professionalism and talent hunts.

Empowering our youths today has to look beyond prejudices and vexations, and thus a patriotic reaction that is disinterested in any past historic that may debar the empowering privileged Community patriot from not helping his brothers and sisters. To help your worthy cousin sister get married to an affluent friend’s son or ward, which brings light to the entire family is a better empowerment than sponsoring her to contest for Miss Imo or Big Brother Naija. To assist technicians and talented Community artisans travel into developing countries where technology is the seat of wealth, such as Europe, Asia, etc., is better than paying house rents for them or paying their children’s school fees. Last year, I saw in Face-Book that it was Jay-Jay Okocha that invited his cousin brother, Alex Iwobi to England and today, he is out of the world-football scenario but his empowered brother Iwobi is making waves in England and has virtually added better life to Delta State and to Nigeria at large. Such is an imitable empowerment that is needed today in Community. Most of our skilled talented footballers are languishing with their talents, while most of us have valid connections that can pick as many of them and bring them up in class-limelight, and they could be picked as world-class players. Is such venture an impossible possibility?

Most of us are renowned and successful politicians with classical connections and employment opportunities on our office tables, which should be for the benefits of many of our educated youths who are wandering about. We need to rethink today and begin a new life. Instead of returning home empty-handed after a political elephant chase, it is better to carry as many antelopes as possible and give to those whose social class would certainly remain ever grateful for such assistance. How many of us have assisted our youths to gain employment in the areas where they serve as political appointees or apex office administrators?

Truly, altruism and patriotism seem to have gone and it is in just few families that such concepts never die. I confront today, any sort of empowerment that is not focused on genuine and perspective human capital development for our Community youths. And thus, agitate for a new paradigm shift in empowerment mentality for our youths such that from the forthcoming year 2021, things would definitely turn around for good, for our youths and generation. This is the best service to our fatherland.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Prof. Protists Uzoma Nathan and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."