The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has said he will declare his presidential ambition in April 2023.
Ngige stated this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, over the weekend, during the empowerment of some graduate trainees in the state by his ministry.
Some beneficiaries of the empowerment led by one Nancy Okafor had raised a motion on the occasion asking Ngige to join the 2023 presidential race without further delay.
Describing the former Anambra State governor as a man of the people who had shown demonstrable effectiveness in leadership, the beneficiaries, mostly women, unanimously asked him not to delay a minute anymore in declaring his presidential ambition.
Responding, Ngige said, “My Easter terminal date for consultations has not expired. So, I am begging you, people, to concede me my right to do consultations till Easter. Easter is not too far away. It is two months away. Easter is in April.
So, let us exercise some patients. By Easter, we shall have something like this( empowerment) again and we shall talk.
He said the empowerment which was phase II in the series was for those who would use the items allotted to them to further their businesses.
“The generators here will help those who have barbing shops to increase the number of barbing shops they have. If you have one, you are starting a second one now. The women here who are also hairdressers, the generators will also help you in starting the second branch of your hair salon; even if you’re going to combine with another person so that you can share the profits.
“This generator will make you an investor and an entrepreneur. That is empowerment. Many people misunderstand empowerment. It is not a dash for you to go and carry the material and sell. If you sell any of these items we will arrest you with the police. You must use it to create further employment. It is a job creation programme.
“For the women again, you can see your grinders, industrial grinders called threshers. They are here for you. You will grind times 10 of whatever you have been doing before with these big ones. You will use them to earn a living.
“We do not want to discourage farmers. There are water pumps there to suck water from streams or rivers to irrigate your farms, mild irrigation especially vegetable producers. Most of the women produce vegetables that they sell.
“When women make money, they use it to buy food and other important things for their children. But when men make money, sometimes they may spend it at the beer parlour but you spend your own at home. So, the water pumping machines are for mild irrigation, small scale agriculture. You use it to suck out water from the water reservoir into your farms. We have other things here but these bags of rice here are my own personal donation,” Ngige stated.
The Minister said the empowerment items were in the neighbourhood of about N45 to N50 million, adding that “before the end of the year, our target is to touch close to 3,000 people from Anambra on blue-collar jobs; train them well, give them the skills and empowerment so that they can employ themselves.
“Like the director from the skills department of my ministry said, the white-collar jobs are scarce now. We are creating blue-collar jobs with these. There are very few vacancies. But if you employ yourselves with these materials, you will be happy. You will feed yourselves and be able to take care of your family needs.
“Today, the preponderance is that we give APC members “addresses”. You must have an address where one can locate you as your business enterprise. So, I congratulate all of you.
“I want to use this opportunity to tell you to inform others at home that this is phase two, that we are planning phase three. More members of the party will benefit from phase three. We’ll even do phase four.
“And when we do programme phase four, other members of the party who didn’t get now will get. The essence is that I want our party members to have addresses; I want them to have skills.
“So, be patient. We will be doing it stage by stage. We have programme number three which will come in three months time; programme number four will come in another three or two months time after that.
“We have two specialist skills acquisition centres in Anambra. We have one in Alor and another in Ifitedunu. They’re all going on seeing for training as from the end of next month; February ending or latest March.
“We will be having a series of training there. And after the training, you will be given certificates as graduates. When you get certificates, you will either get our empowerment or you go to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and they will then do something for you.
“Same goes for NDE which is our parastatal. NDE will start up their own programmes too and you will all join the programme. These programmes are being facilitated by the Department of Skills in my ministry,” Ngige stated.