It is common knowledge that since the return of democracy in 1999, the socio-economic and political equation has been apparently lopsided against the youths. So many policy initiatives and programmes have been put in place in the name of youths’ empowerment, but the reality on ground always paints a disappointing picture.
In an attempt to make the difference, Dr Bello Muhammad Matawalle has been running an administration that is unequivocally pro-youths since he took the mantle of leadership as the Governor of Zamfara State in 2019.
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Youths in the state have, under this administration, enjoyed more than a fair share of dividends of democracy. They have been adequately represented in all political appointments.
Despite the daunting challenges Dr Matawalle inherited in all facets of leadership in the state, including the onerous challenge of insecurity, demoralised civil service and economic woes, he has consciously refused to be distracted.
Perhaps, he has high hopes that youths can contribute meaningfully in solving most of these problems by investing their energy, intellect, modern and emerging technologies, as well as the application of global best practices.
For example, in 2019, the governor established the Zamfara Social Investment Programme (Z-SIP) which commenced with the recruitment of 3,800 youths who were given monthly stipends. The essence of the programme is to reduce youth unemployment. Under Z-SIP, youths are trained in various skills aimed at enabling them to become self-reliant.
Furthermore, the governor has employed health workers from all the 14 local government areas in the state; most of the beneficiaries being youths.
These has helped the youths to fight for their economic security and sustainability, and also has gone a long way in curbing criminality thereby putting in place a mechanism that will help in solving the insecurity problems in the state.
With these and many other laudable programmes targeted at enhancing the socio-economic status of the youths in Zamfara State, I will like to urge my fellow youths to mobilise in 2023 towards ensuring that Dr Matawalle is returned as our governor.
This will give him the opportunity to sustain and consolidate these tremendous efforts and even introduce new social welfare packages for young citizens of the state.