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Empowering Youths and Renewing the Love for country: Nigeria’s N-Power Programme

By Sam Edem
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Probably one of the most remarkable government programs in history aside the New Deal was the American Peace Corp initiated under its 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Although aimed at reaching other countries outside the United States of America, the most exciting aspect of that initiative was not the fact that thousands of young educated Americans had the opportunity for employment or to travel outside their country as crown ambassadors: it was in the fact that though part an economic empowerment initiative of the President Kennedy administration, it was largely aimed at reigniting the flame of patriotism among those who were the next generation leaders of their country – a flame that had become faint from the complacency of a post-World War II victory era.

Now, nearly 60 years since that initiative was launched in America, several other countries round the globe have developed similar programmes for their youth population.

Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria is no exception to this rule. First it was the National Youth Service Corp initiated as part of the reconstruction agenda in 1973 for graduates from the country’s tertiary institutions.

Now for a second year, as part of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration’s effort to combat massive youth unemployment, the government of Nigeria has announced the e-portal will be open for applications from Wednesday 14th June 2017 for this year’s recruits for its laudable N-Power project.

N-Power is a job creation and empowerment initiative of the Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

It designed to help young Nigerians acquire and develop life-long skills to become solution providers in their communities and to become players in the domestic and global markets through a two year participation in training and public service in various fields or sectors of the nation’s economy.

Last year, an estimated 300 thousand Nigerian youths benefited from the initiative and the 2017 edition is expected to increase that number by 200 thousand: bringing the number of beneficiaries to about 800 thousand within a two-year period of the Programme.

In a retweet of the N-Power’s announcement for applications for the graduates and non-graduates categories on Tuesday 13th June 2017, Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – Prof. Yemi Osibanjo termed the disclosure as “very important information”, emphasizing the significance of the Programme to the nation’s current leadership.

More so it’s noteworthy that at a time when the unity of the country has been so threatened by the actions and inactions of some leaders and groups, the N-Power initiative provides a flicker of hope for the unity and progress of Nigeria.