Increasingly, attention is being paid to the reality and the potential of the contribution of Nigerians in the Diaspora to the development of their home country. On the 9th of February 2022, such gesture was recorded in Bayelsa State at the occasion of the 2nd year anniversary of the administration of the Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, when he laid the foundation stone of the Smart Digital House Building, which will be a centre for 600 Trainees when completed.
The construction of the centre was informed by the necessity for industrial practical placement opportunities for the pioneer students of the project Quatia and Smart House A-Z.
According to the project initiator, Dr RosaLyn Dressman, who is Chairman of AfricanTide and immediate past President of NIDO Germany and current Diaspora Focal Point Officer of Bayelsa State, “Vocational education suffers from several issues such as funding, general apathy etc”.
Dr Dressman also noted that the “pervading negative perception of skills acquisition constitutes a major hindrance to the training model.”
However, she expressed optimism that the German “Dual System” of vocational education, which has attained considerable success in reducing poverty and unemployment while integrating youth into the labour market, would support up to 60% of the youths in Bayelsa State within 3 years and with such diasporic effort, economic hardship, social unrest, political turmoil, and declining work and living conditions at home that intensify brain drain or skilled labour mobility outflow, will be reduced.
The use of Internet and knowledge networks are seen as one solution to a multi-faceted issue that will also be addressed by the institution when completed. Dr Dressman called on the organized private sector (OPS) of the state as well as other multilateral institutions to join hands with her as the education of youths is an onerous task that requires collective commitment from all sectors of the economy.
In his address, the Commissioner of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Hon. Stanley Braboke, explained that the Diri Administration seeks to change the unpleasant narratives in the minds of some persons that Bayelsa youths are unproductive and only agitate for the dividends of oil revenue; that they are unwilling to learn and be trained in entrepreneurial skills; that they would rather go around political leaders in a bid to make ends meet.
He informed that the Prosperity Administration of Governor Diri has established programs to improve the quality of life of Bayelsans, that the Government seeks to build a state that Bayelsans would be proud of irrespective of their political affiliations, religion or local government area.
Speaking also at the event, one of the pioneer trainees, Mr Charles Owebor, narrated that for almost 3 years, the trainees, management, and staff of ATTEC have struggled to keep the vision of the program alive due to lack of full government backing and failure of the previous administration in the state to appreciate the need for training and empowerment of the youths of the state.
He thanked Governor Diri for reviving the program and pleaded with him to use his good offices to re-write the history of governance in the state.
Reacting to the palpable positive emotions expressed during the foundation-stone laying ceremony, the Executive Governor assured the people of Bayelsa of his commitment to the wellbeing of Bayelsa youths. He maintained that his administration would take over the total cost of the project and see it to a successful commissioning. The Governor thanked the German government for their support for the program and commended Dr RosaLyn Dressman for the initiative and commitment to the actualization of the program.