By V. AL-PEA
The following is the second half of interview with Special Adviser to the executive governor of Plateau State on Youth Development, Kwamkur Samuel Vondip. Click here to read the first half of the interview.
TMV: Rumors making the rounds are about government’s selective approach towards youth development, especially along tribal line. How can you react to that?
VONDIP: (Chuckles) you know rumours in Plateau State have become like cankerworm. (laughs) People spread rumours all over the place everyday. You will wake up and hear one rumour or the other. The governor was saying the other day, they say he is sick and I just said I went to the airport to see the man off and when I came back because of the high degree of rumour I was tempted to believe that the man collapsed while he was abroad, but in Plateau State, we really need to look back and work on what is concrete. The five-kilometer roads cover all the seventeen local governments of the state. Road constructions cover all the state. He has even called all the chairmen and warned them on the need to develop everybody. Check the appointments it was fairly shared, in fact some tribes have so many appointments that even some other tribes are complaining. Like in Tarok axis now we have two Commissioners in one local government. I mean, what do you have to show that it’s Berom agenda? So people are just saying those things to incite people that are ignorant. I have always challenged people to confirm just like you are doing now from the correct source and you will have the correct answer.
TMV: Does youth development include identification and subsequent development of specific talents?
VONDIP: Yes! I have written to the government on the need, as a Special Adviser my work is not just to sit down and talk when programmes are brought. I can also initiate an idea and I have initiated ideas that cut across three different angles. One idea is on peaceful co-existence among the youths and I have given a consideration for us to mobilize all the tribal groups in this state to make sure that we discuss the future of Plateau. Let us not be talking about one individual tribe, but what do we want on the Plateau? Secondly, on youth mental development. How do we encourage youths that don’t have the skills to acquire skills, because most time people say that when institutions are on strike, you say the government is Boko Haram. They don’t like development but you know that is not true. Those out of school are even more in numbers than those in school and they don’t have the mouth to talk. Now I am saying, let us mobilize the entire youths, get them know they have the strength. Everybody is created with a vision, everybody is created with a skill. What we need to do is help him to discover himself. I am encouraging government to discover the skills in our youths and when we discover the skills we will now expose the skills. So we are encouraging youths with talents to present proposals. This group that just left my office, they are from motion picture association and they just presented a talent to me and I am presenting it to government. If you have any talent that will promote the state let us have it and we will promote it and we are also trusting that there will be a Trust Fund where resources will be channeled.
TMV: What are government’s plans towards rehabilitating youths who have been used as willing tools in orchestrating violence in the state in the recent past?
VONDIP: My office and that of the Special Adviser on peace building have been working on a number of projects. We have identified flash points and of course we have identified youth leaders in those flash points. We have visited youth leaders and we have had meetings with them. We discussed the challenges facing us in the state. We have discussed challenges facing them as youths and most time the problem we have is that the youths are jobless and because you don’t have anything to do, like the saying goes ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’. I have worked with NGOs and my idea is that if you just give somebody money and say go and develop yourself he will just spend that money, or because you have a tailoring training center and you just push him to go into it and may be it is not his desire to do tailoring he will not go and stay. So now what we are trying to do is to know what they have desire to do and we will try and project them towards the angle of their desire. That’s what we are doing with youths in those flash points and we are really achieving. We are now working on collecting data, then subsequently we will present some to the government. And like I said we are trying to put in a trust fund so that we can be able to say like in Jos North these are the group of youth this is what the government have been able to do and I think it’s not done of recent so I want us to achieve it. I am always ready and I said my office is outside the Government House so that the youths can meet with the youths. You see just like you called me I didn’t even know you but I described the place for you to come so that we can talk. I think that is what the youth want, an opening so that we can share idea. And because the government has given me the mandate I am turning the mandate to who ever has something to give us. Please come around so that we can share the ideas. If you check my drawer you will see a lot of proposals, discussions and I am picking them up with the appropriate authorities.