by Nnamdi Akpa
An attempt by two politicians from Enugu State to smuggle their names into the Federal Government’s Community Services Women and Youth Empowerment programme failed yesterday as vigilant villagers kicked against it.
The villagers, who assembled at Aguobu-Owa in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State cried foul when ward heads and councillors brought lists of persons selected for the programme without recourse to the guidelines.
During the sensitisation of the people by the implementation committee of the programme, the villagers were told that eight persons would be selected from each political ward, consisting of four men, three women and one vulnerable person.
They were also told that the selection would be by ballot where more people presented themselves for the programme according to the formula.
But trouble started when officials of the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, arrived in the local government headquarters to meet prepared lists which the villagers opposed.
The villagers reported that two senior aides to the state governor, Sullivan Chime had included their names in the programme, which is meant to alleviate poverty among the less privileged.
One angry man said that he was surprised to see their names on the list because they were considered to be “big men”.
“These two people drive jeeps. I don’t know what they want to do with N10,000 jobs,” said the man who preferred to remain anonymous.
The arrival of the State Coordinator of the Directorate, Nnamdi Asomugha, however, settled the matter as he decided on an on the spot referendum to pick the participants from the 20 wards.
It is expected that 3,000 participants would be picked for the exercise from the state.
The programme is designed by SURE-P to engage unemployed youth, women and vulnerable persons for services in their communities at a monthly stipend of N10,000.