Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has expressed gratitude to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for extending its Economic Revitalization Support Programme to the State, noting that the citizens are enterprising.
Governor Uzodimma did on Monday at the Concorde Hotel Owerri in his special remarks at the official launch of the UNDP’s Economic Revitalization Support Programme for Imo and Aba States.
The Governor explained that the programme was important because it was taking place at a time Imo State has lost a lot as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that brought businesses to their knees, left so many people dead, got government challenged and brought about a spike in the number of Orphanage Homes in the State.
Governor Uzodimma said though it is “not easy to eradicate poverty” it is also possible to check poverty so that it does not become cancerous.
He said though his government had put in place measures to check poverty and high rate of vulnerability of the people, the intervention of the UNDP in the State will go a long way in providing direction for the army of youths yearning for what to do as well as encourage women inclusion in the socio-economic scheme of things.
The Governor reminded the UNDP that Imo State has a teeming youth community that are both enterprising and innovative but who require some encouragement to unleash their full potentials.
Governor Uzodimma therefore advised the organizers of the Programme to “be painstaking in identifying those who are truly vulnerable,” noting that “if the programme is religiously implemented it will go a long way in meeting the expectations of the UNDP.”
“Work to ensure that the original objective of the programme is achieved. Follow the rules and the programme the way it has been designed. Those involved in the implementation should ensure that it is done in the way it has been designed because the money to be disbursed seems a lot to the real vulnerable ones.”
However, Governor Uzodimma used the opportunity of the event to remind Imo people that another lesson and probably the greatest lesson to be learnt from the event is that the world cannot wait for Imo State on programmes designed to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic because they chose to stay at home.
His words: “Our people must understand what others are doing globally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our case is not peculiar. We must shun acts that will discourage partners from intervening in our situation. When you kill the economy you are committing murder. The truth is that the world is moving without Imo.
“We are not created to be poor even though the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Imo State has the highest unemployment rate in Nigeria. We are enterprising people and do not have begging mentality. What UNDP has done for us will go a long way in further unearthing the enterprise and innovation in our people and encourage them to do more for them.”
In her key note remarks, the UNDP Regional Bureau Director, Ms. Ahuna Eziakonwa thanked Governor Uzodimma for hosting the programme and for remembering to include so many women in his government.
She said the UNDP was keen on partnering with Imo to ensure that the youths and women benefit from the intervention and also, to ensure that businesses stay alive.
Earlier, UNDP Resident Representative, Mohammed Yahya spoke in the same vein and on the need to eradicate poverty in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular.
The Special Adviser to Governor Uzodimma on Sustainable Development Goals and Focal Person, NSIPs, Princess Christina Ude had welcomed the delegates and wished them a successful outing. She also thanked the Governor for his passion in fighting poverty and diseases through his numerous social intervention programmes.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of a UNDP symbolic Cheque of One hundred and ninety-five million, two hundred and twenty-five Naira only to the Governor by Ms Eziakonwa for the would be beneficiaries of the programme.
CPS/Media Adviser to the Governor of Imo State