By Emeka Chiakwelu
The fundamental role of government, which is without doubt the most important function of government, is the protection of life and property. Anambra States center of normality is being swept away and distorted by insecurity. The adverse effect of this phenomenon contributed immensely to the retardation of economic growth in both urban and rural areas of Anambra State. Capital flight, poor harnessing of human capital and dwindling of home coming of Anambra Diasporas can all be attributed to insecurity in the state.
To liquidate the ugly head of kidnapping and armed robbery in Anambra State, the massive unemployment must be tackled head-on by Governor Peter Obi. The government of Anambra State should generate jobs by itself to fight against apathy and hopelessness among the youths that led them to criminal enterprise.
There are many positive developments and good news coming from Anambra State. The leader of Nigeria, President Good luck Jonathan was in Anambra State to commission new industries including Orient Petroleum, SABMiller brewery and Onitsha Inland water port.
Governor Obi deserved some credits for facilitating the process and by making sure that these industries came to fruition. There are criticisms to be made but this article is not about that, for I am more interested in finding the ways to elevate standard of living in Anambra State and to slow down joblessness among our youths. There is time and season for everything but for now let us finish the job at hand, which is to find ways to provide jobs to the people of the state especially the youths.
The new industries in the state will surely make a difference by providing jobs to the people. Notwithstanding, the new jobs will not change the picture of unemployment in the state nor absolutely reverse the state of unemployment among the youths. Without doubt, it is a down payment and a foundation to build on. With same spirit of revitalization, new ideas and breakthrough can be lunched to make a real dent on joblessness in Anambra State. Therefore kudos must go to those that are working for a new reality in the state including the responsible citizens of the state, business community and Governor Obi.
The stubborn truth is that unemployment among the Anambra youths is overwhelming. Those in the age bracket of 18-27 years have it real bad. I do not have any credible statistics to back up my assertions but my wild guess is that unemployment among the youths should be over 60 percent. When those that returned back to school for advance degrees as a result of unemployment are factor in, the number will be probably higher.
And here lies the major problem of Anambra State – the high and massive unemployment including underemployment among the youths do spur and became the gate way to petty crimes that eventually led to kidnapping, highway robbery and massive insecurity in Anambra State. Therefore this is not the time to fold our hands and continue to pray for manna to fall from the sky. God help those that help themselves.
Governor Peter Obi must take the bull by its horns and raise some revenues to create jobs for the youths. With the recent admission of Anambra as an oil producing states, more revenue allocations will be coming to the coffins of the state. The types of jobs that the government can create more quickly are as follows:
a) Environmental Enforcement Officers (Refuse Police)
b) Traffic Wardens
c) Building Inspectors and Code Enforcement Officers
The job responsibility of the Environmental Enforcement Officer or Refuse Police is to enhance and protect the environmental and ecosystem integrity of Anambra Sate. They will be parading on foots and bicycles looking out for those that are throwing rubbish and wastes on the street and into the storm drains. The officers will safeguard the refuse disposal containers and enforce the proper discharge of refuse. They will visit numerous auto repair workshops in Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi and others making sure that stores are kept clean and spent oil are kept with best management practice and disposed properly.
Traffic Wardens will be helping the police to make sure that traffic rules and regulations are maintained and obeyed. Traffic Warders can be of great important especially in rural areas and places were the presences of traffic law enforcement officers are limited.
Building Inspectors and Code Enforcement Officers will be inspecting buildings in urban areas and making sure that the houses are kept clean and maintained to the standard of the original building plans. In most cases especially in Onitsha houses are left deteriorated and paints become worn out. To make Onitsha a tourist destination, the building codes must be maintained.
The main intention for calling for these jobs to be created is to uplift the quality of life of the youths thereby occupying their idle minds and bodies. You know that Idle mind is devils workshop. The idea is to give the youths less time to dabble into criminal enterprise. We cannot be naïve to believe that these jobs or any jobs for that matter will eradicate crime in a society. But by providing these jobs, the government will fulfill its own portion of social contract thereby compelling the people to live up to the responsibilities of citizenship.
This is not time to argue and critic these proposals to death. Of course in capitalistic society government does not necessarily create jobs but government makes the environment for job creation to thrive and propitious by having a conducive economic landscape. By offering youths these job opportunities, the government is laying the foundation for the economy to thrive when insecurity and criminality are minimized.
Emeka Chiakwelu, Analyst and Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization.Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.