The Niger Delta Development Commission has deployed 370 collation officers and supervisors from the 185 local government areas in the nine Niger Delta states for the registration of youths to benefit from its Holistic Opportunity Projects of Engagement, known as Project HOPE.
Speaking during the deployment ceremony at the Rivers State Information, Communication, and Technology Centre in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, charged the collation officers and supervisors to register the youths, following the transparent process already established by the commission.
This was contained in a statement issued by the NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs, Pius Ughakpoteni, in Port Harcourt on Wednesday and sent to newsmen.
Ogbuku said that the youth development and empowerment scheme was designed to create a comprehensive resource database of the youth population of the Niger Delta region, noting that it would provide a platform to empower youths in the region on a sustainable basis.
The NDDC boss said that the Project HOPE initiative, coming after many years of unplanned and mismanaged project execution in the region, would focus on the needs of the youths, their qualifications, skills, passion, interests, and employment status.
Ogbuku said, “Project HOPE has come to stay. When it was launched on July 12, 2023, some skeptics thought it was not going to be feasible. The initial rush by youths to register on the platform crashed the system, but it was quickly restored.”
He described the collation officers and supervisors as the real hope of the Niger Delta region, saying, “The trainees come from all the local government areas in the region, and the selection process was strictly online, making it very transparent.
“I assure you that the HOPE initiative is real and will be sustained. The database that we are building will not only help us to select the right persons, but it will also help us to monitor their progress. We are using technology to ensure that you do not need to know anybody to be enlisted into the programme.”
The Rivers State Commissioner for Youth Development, Dr Chisom Kenneth Gbali, said that the HOPE project represented what capacity-building programmes should be.
He said, “We must commend the NDDC for the initiative. The process of selection was very transparent, and this gives credibility to the programme.”
He charged the collation officers and supervisors to go out to train others, stating that the Rivers State Government was very passionate about the programme.
Dr Gbali congratulated the NDDC and the Rivers State Government for achieving what he called a significant milestone.
He added, “The NDDC has indeed changed the narrative. The selection process is excellent and transparent. We want the Niger Delta youths to excel and we want to train people and equip them with useful skill sets. This is a big milestone. For once, we are getting it right.”
The consultant for NDDC Project HOPE, Ambassador Blessing Fubara, thanked the NDDC for initiating the novel project in youth empowerment.
He pledged to cooperate with the Commission to ensure the success and sustainability of the programme.
Responding on behalf of the Collation Officers and Supervisors, the Ogbia Local Government trainee, Mr Azibator Azimo, thanked the NDDC for allowing them to contribute to building a comprehensive database for youth development.
He remarked that he was not assisted in any way before being selected, stating, “I did not know anyone. It was God that did it for me.”