OPENING REMARKS BY CHIEF JOHNSON EBOKPO ESQ, KSM,
CHAIRMAN, AT THE FIRST 2020 OBUBRA SUMMIT HELD AT THE FRANCO TEDDY EVENT HALL, OBUBRA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA,
ON SUNDAY 27TH DECEMBER, 2020
- It is indeed heartwarming for me to have the privilege once again, after a very long time, of welcoming notable Leaders of our beloved Obubra community and friends of Obubra including Political Leaders, Past and Serving Public Officer Holders at different levels of governance, revered Traditional
Leaders, Business Leaders, Religious Leaders, Leading women and Emerging Youth Leaders, to this pioneer 2020 Obubra Summit. My delight
to be at this summit stems basically from the fact that we have been invited to an important dialogue forum that is absolutely non-partisan; not a gathering of the All-Progressives Congress (APC), not a gathering of the Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) or any other of the several Registered Nigerian Political Parties but strictly a gathering of Obubra Community.
It is a gathering that we have all yearned for in order to afford us the opportunity of rescuing and taking back our community, our brotherhood and friendships from the vice-grip of partisan political colorations that have tended to define
us and take away our common humanity and our God-given heritage as a people. This Summit is therefore an important step that will nudge us back to the realization that Political Parties, from time to time, come and go but Obubra Community endures, for as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be politics without end.
- Let me, from the onset, commend the initiators of Obubra Unity Tournament for charting a novel path of seeking the Unity of our Local Government Area through sports, the outcome of which project has definitely been positively impactful. The measure of success that the Tournament recorded clearly provides a ready foundation on which much more can be built in the years ahead. I pray that his worthy initiative is sustained by our rising above all human and environmental challenges that will expectedly confront it and other similar efforts.
I also thank the initiators and the Planning Committee for this maiden Summit for finding me fit to Chair this very distinguished gathering. I am deeply humbled and appreciative. When I was approached to Chair this event and I humbly accepted after receiving all assurances as to its character and goals, I proceeded to make a mental note of the proper meaning to attach and direction that I should attempt to give this Summit. My mind immediately recalled and reflected on the Gospel story in Mark 10:46-52, particularly V51.
The Healing of Bartemaeus, the Blind man of Jericho. In response to a direct question from our Lord Jesus Christ regarding his specific miracle request, Blind Bartemaeus answered “Master, Let me see Again” This response clearly indicated that Bartemaeus was not born blind; but due to some unspecified secondary intervening factors, he became visually impaired or blind. He probably had realized what made him to go blind, hence he needed a second chance to be visually capable-to see again and even clearer.
- As a Community and Local Government Area, Obubra has on record, enjoyed a glorious history in decades past. We have heard stories of how Obubra (both the Old Division and Reconstituted Local Government Area) often took centre stage in several high level political engagements, decision making processes, choices and developments. And then for a combination of various historical factors, Obubra gradually drifted and eclipsed into political, economic, social and moral darkness (or blindness).
As a collective therefore, this Summit, in my view, is a Bartemean cry “that we may see again”. The desire to see again is to enable our community that has, for the last two decades or more, been blinded by so many things such as weakened moral foundation, problem of internal prejudices and division including individualism, unorganized and non-cohesive responses to external political competitions, as well as Economic Developmental Contestations, Diminished Survival Instinct, absence of self-love etc, to see again and more clearly and thereby see new visions, dream new dreams, rebuild our broken foundations and set new development aspirations. I therefore again commend this Nehemian project that this Summit holds itself out to be.
- In the course of the intellectual presentations that will be made at this Summit by erudite scholars of the land and our true friends who have been deservedly selected for that purpose, I imagine that there will be a stream of lamentations of our sad and recent past or even present unfavourable circumstances as a community and people.
There will be little apology for such unburdening of our pain. Such litany of woes notwithstanding, I recall the sharp rebuke of God on the Prophet Samuel “How long will you be grieving over Saul whom I have rejected as King of Israel. Fill your horn with oil and be on your way to Jesse the Bethlehemite for I have chosen for myself a King from among his sons” (I Samuel 16:1). It is important and imperative to understand our
sad past (but not to dwell on it), appreciate the present but immediately get organized, reposition ourselves, re-strategize to guide Obubra (and Mbembe) Transition from our present Political and Economic backwoods position and lunch us into a new social order as an economically, socially and politically self-aware, self-reliant, strong and impactful Community and Nation. That will be my first charge to the organizers of this Summit and the emerging Leadership of our Community as we arm ourselves with new knowledge at this Summit and get empowered by prevailing opportunities.
- My second charge and ultimate outcome atthis Summit is that we should truly seek to know who we are, redefine our founding vision within the context of current realities, re-set and re-establish our moral or ethical foundation and strive to pass unto subsequent generations a culture and new social order of mutual love and self-respect, social justice and strong sense of community. Let us inculcate the knowledge that we are first and foremost Obubra/Mbembe before anything else; working together before seeking and negotiating beneficial external corporate alliances, friendship and cooperation with other peoples, communities and Nations.
This charge advocates no hostility to anyone but merely urges a recognition and compliance with the sublime imperative “Man, know thyself, for whatever a man thinketh, that he is” as a golden rule of life. We are greater than we know and this 2020 Obubra Summit, I believe, will chart the path to bring out the best in Obubra.
- My third and final charge is that, in the courseof time, the initiators and other interested persons should organize subject-specific Summits such as Obubra
Economic and Investment Summit, Obubra Political and Governance Summit, Obubra Security Summit, Obubra Infrastructure Summit, Obubra History, Culture and Language Summit, Obubra Agriculture Summit etc, in order to keep deliberations at plenary, clearly focused and impact spcific.
- Let me at this point pray tribute to ourpioneers and forebears who fought and gave of their best or all in the course of striving to secure a better destiny and pride of place for Obubra/Mbembe. I also pray tribute to a generation that is still engaged in that same struggle with varying degrees of success, their weaknesses and occasional frustrations duly acknowledged. Thirdly, I specially acknowledge the mission for the new Revival, Unity and Strength of Obubra that is being championed by an upcoming generation of intelligent, smart, enterprising, technologically more advantaged and undoubtedly exceedingly committed emerging Leaders of our land, a section of which has put up this well attended Summit.
Finally, I offer special thanks to ourAlmighty and Loving God whose immense graces have been with us throughout the Obubra Unit Tournaments and all Programmes and activities associated with it. Even in our unworthiness, we pray that His divine presence and wisdom will guide the proceedings of this Summit to a successful end.
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, to the glory of God and benefit of mankind, I respectfully declare the 2020 Obubra Summit open.
- I thank you all.
“OBUBRA ULTIMATE GOAL AND THE JOURNEY SO FAR” BEING A PAPER DELIVERED ON THE OCASSION OF THE OBUBRA INTERNATIONAL THANKSGIVING AND SUMMIT AT FRANCO TEDDY HALL, OBUBRA ON 27TH DECEMBER 2020
BY PROFESSOR IGWE O. EWONA
CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE OF DEANS -CROSS RIVER UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
Let me begin by expressing my profound gratitude to the organisers of the Obubra Unity Tournament for a well-conceived idea and for the successful execution of the dream. This is not a common feat amongst us. May the good Lord and the Lord of Christmas grant that your efforts and desire for the unity of Obubra people be fulfiled with good speed, in Jesus name. Amen. As we know, meaningful progress is impossible in the absence of God and in the midst of conflict.
Well, I am here this aftenoon to deliver a talk on the topic, “Obubra ultimate goal and the journey so far”. There seems to be two components to this talk – Ultimate Goal of the Obubra People and how far we have fared. I find it a bit difficult to decipher what the organisers really have in mind or what they mean by “Obubra ultimate goal”. What could possibly be our ultimate goal as a people? This subject is likely to be as broad as it may be ambiguous or unclear.
In any case I am here to do justice to the topic. First I have to define an acceptable premise or a common position to anchor the discourse. So, permit me to approach this from the general outcry of our people for the development of the Area. I guess that, this has to do essentially with the perspective of the underdevelopment of our Lcal Government Area.
While I believe that the organisers are pretty aware that the speaker is not a development expert. I guess that they would like me to talk to our people in the common language that expresses the pains and the passion we all share as a people. I believe that they will be satisfied if I talk to you from the perspective of experience and general or common knowledge. If this be the case, then I shall address our minds, this afternoon, from a layman’s point of view with such audacity that will be able to point us to the major issues that have been the bane of our underdevelopment, as I see it.
When we think of development, what is it that comes to mind? – Economic emancipation, Modern infrastructure, successful business men and women, Political office holders (like Senators, Ministers, Board Chairmen), etc. I suppose! This may be the general idea of development or progress. Isn’t it?
Yes, one of the most important aspects of human development is the ability to have a decent standard of living. The secret of the “economic miracle” of many countries that have high standard of living, is that they are all characterized by high and sustained development of their economy, thriving business enterprises, growth of income and consumption, a greater part of the population with gainful employment with attendant low unemployment rate. This I guess should represent the goal of any organised society. What I may, for the purpose of this talk, loosely characterise as the ultimate goal.
THE ULTIMATE GOAL/ STRATEGIC PLAN
Progress or development is a process that does not happen by wishful thinking. It comes as a result of some effective and concerted thinking and skilful planning. There are basic principles and theories of cause and effect that are basic to any development effort. There are economic models that have been tested and proved which have been successfully applied by developed nations and have created the economic gap that has distinguished them from the rest of the world.
What are some of the development theories that may apply to our situation or explain why we are where we are today, irrespective of the unique advantage that God has placed us in terms of human and natural resources, I may ask?.
Development Theory First, what is a Development theory?
For the records, a development theory is a collection of theories about how desirable change in society is best achieved. Such theories usually draw on a variety of social science disciplines and approaches. Depending on which theory that is being looked at, there are different explanations to the process of development.
For instance, Modernization theory is used to analyze the processes in which modernization in societies take place. The theory looks at which aspects of the society are beneficial and which constitute obstacles for economic development. The idea is that development efforts targeted at particular aspects of the society can lead to modernization of ‘traditional’ or ‘backward’ societies. This is where we need to examine our current methods and adopt or import those practices that can facilitate speedy development.
On the question of the journey so far, we understand that we have not been able to properly articulate the issues that relate to our current practices and how they relate to modern development efforts. The closest we may be going in my opinion is the conception of an economic reform team of the current Local Government Administration–a conceptualization that is yet to see the drawing board or to see its committee take off by way of inauguration. The irony here is that, while majority of Obubra people are crying and yearning for the development of our Local Government Area, there seems to be no blue print to guide successive administrators of our common wealth.
More often than not, our leaders are looking forward to the State Government or the Federal Government to bring the desired development through allocation and establishment of basic infrastructure. But the earliest principles of modernization theory were derived from the idea of progress, which stated that “people can develop and change their society themselves” And this is the stand point of the Sociological and anthropological modernization theory in particular. I leave you with the question, what organised and sustained effort have we made or are we making in this direction, if really desire to see the development of our LGA?
Economic model: Linear stages of growth model
The linear stages of growth model is an economic model which is heavily inspired by the Marshall Plan and which was successfully used to revitalize Europe’s economy after World War II. Simply, the Marshall plan assumes that economic growth can only be achieved by industrialization and that growth can be restricted by local institutions and social attitudes, especially if these aspects influence the savings rate and investments. The constraints impeding economic growth are thus considered by this model to be internal to society. Accordingly, the model assumes that a correctly designed massive injection of capital coupled with intervention by the public sector would ultimately lead to industrialization and economic development through internal mechanism of the key drivers and operators of the system.
Then comes the question of the journey so far?
What economic blue print do we have to drive the development process in Obubra. To the best of my knowledge, I know of none.
Human development theory Human development theory is a theory which uses ideas from different origins, such as ecology, sustainable development, feminism and welfare economics. It wants to avoid normative politics and is focused on how social capital and instructional capital can be deployed to optimize the overall value of human capital in an economy. The work of Amartya Sen is focused on capabilities: what people can do and be. It is these capabilities, rather than the income or goods that they receive, that determine their well being. This core idea also underlies the construction of the Human Development Index, a human-focused measure of development pioneered by the UNDP in its Human Development Reports; this approach has become popular the world over, with indexes and reports published by individual countries.
The journey so far? While Obubra is said to be rich in human capital and natural resources, the LGA has little or nothing to show for it. In recent times, it has been reported that Obubra comes fourth in terms of voting strength in Cross River state, but how much of these that has successfully translated to the development of the local government area is still begging for answers. Some have even said that Obubra has an inconsequential majority.
There can be nothing closer to the truth that this fact. How else can we explain the disparity and dominance of political appointments and elective positions of Etung (Our partner in the Federal Constituency) when it is only about half of Obubra in terms of population. There is also a statement that has been credited to a former governor of Cross River State, that “Obubra was no longer in the political orbit of the state” or so. It goes further to explain the incoherence in the human capital equation, even in a democratic dispensation where numbers should count and are an important index in allocation of political positions, funds and projects. Obubra still remains an inconsequential majority. I stand to be corrected.
Dos Santos (1970), sees dependency theory as ‘a situation in which the economy of certain countries is conditioned by the development and expansion of another’. At the core of this definition is the distinction between centre and periphery, or ‘peripherality’, which indicates that there are constraints related to being a part of the global economy as a relatively weak economy. In addition to dependency being a form of conditioning, it is also necessary to assess how a people or an economy came to be conditioned (e.g. historical circumstances) and in what particular way it is conditioned. This conditioning may be related to ownership of production, inferiority complex or technological dependence. The uneven effects of government investment, consumption patterns, financial constraints, and more are key factors in the dependency theory.
The Shift from Periphery to Centre: The Case of South Korea. The fact that some of the traditional periphery countries have developed over the past half century, suggests that it is possible to break out from dependence ( Amsden, 2003; Booth, 1985). To understand how some countries were able to defy this tendency, it is necessary to understand how planning, strategic policies of government affect the basic constraints to development and the structures of production were scaled in these cases.
While there has been much heated debate regarding the success of Korea, most accounts simply start in 1960 and focus on domestic policies, and most mainstream accounts tend to focus solely on the role of institutions and market‐based policies. Within the dependency research programme, in contrast, it is imperative to go back to the development of capitalism in Korea. An important element in this development was Japan, Korea’s colonizer, which was actively attempting to conquer China (Eckert, 1990; Kohli, 2004). It was beneficial for Japan to integrate the Japanese and Korean economies, which required industrialization in Korea. Faced with opposition from protesting Koreans in 1919, Japan played the capitalist class against the agrarian sector and included Koreans in the industrial commission of 1921, which opened the door for Korean industrial capitalism and the development of a Korean capitalist class with a financial structure intricately linked to the state. Korean businessmen were thus ‘not so much subordinated by the political structure as incorporated into it’ (Eckert, 1990: 125). This is in stark contrast to how capitalism developed in other peripheral economies, which shaped local industry in a much more exploitative and extractive manner (Amin, 1974; Frank, 1967a; Kohli, 2004; Rodney, 1972).
This historical development of capitalist production structures laid the foundations for the industry that later emerged as a part of the well‐documented developmental state (Amsden, 2001; Chibber, 2003; Kim, 2010; Wade, 1990). During this period, Korea actively managed its trade by using both import substitution and export promotion policies, thus largely following the policy prescriptions of dependency theorists (Amin, 1990; Ho, 2012; Margulis, 2017).
Understanding how the production structures were historically and politically shaped within the global economy leads to a much richer and deeper understanding of Korea’s successful industrialization process than approaches that attempt to measure Korea’s policies, human capital or institutions at a certain point in time.
it was important for Korea that it was able to run a large trade deficit for a long period during its industrialization process. Korea’s industrial strategy involved substantial imports of foreign licences in a concerted effort to ensure national ownership and break out of technological dependency (Amsden, 1989).
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
Talking about the journey so far, we are constrained to raise the following observations
The identity question. Who are we? How coherent are we?. What do we have in common that is of mutual benefit or are we simply an accident of history? What are the goals of our founding fathers, if any? Can two walk together unless they agree. As a people, what have we agreed upon? What are our common goals and aspiration? This is where we should really start.
This are questions of SELF DISCOVERY
Sen. Pius Anyim, a former secretary to the government once said, “Indeed, for many a discerning observer, the reality is that we may have now found ourselves at that point in history where we must decide who we are and where we collectively intend to go from here henceforth. According to Anyim, “No nation can afford to be impervious to the forces of change. Even modern Western societies are the refined products of centuries of adjustments and modifications that were engaged in or designed to improve their countries.
“To be sure, building a great society is not rocket science. It has been done and is still being done all over the world. All that is needed is a leadership that is prepared to see the bigger picture of what would accrue to all when it commits itself to the building of a healthy society that is competitive, equitable and fair. Indeed, Nigeria must now change, not just in the context of shallow political sloganeering, but in the more important manner of changing the way things are done”.
- THE LEADERSHIP QUESTION
Who is the leader of Obubra Local Government? I may have as many answers as there are people in this hall. This is an indication of how disorganised we are. Whom do we defer to when we have need of direction? Is the highest political office holder, which is essentially transient our leader? How many leaders should we have? We have tried to identify some leaders at some point or the other but we are unable to pin down any. You will agree with me that we have none. Why? Because we are yet to find a
A selfless person–one who will think, talk and act for the generality of the people without talking about his brothers, Children, cousins and on the broader sense he is not reduced to talking about Osopong, Adun, or Okum alone where he comes from.
A visionary person – I am talking about corporate vision. Looking at where Obubra is and having a desirable destination for the people. Motivating, sensitizing and driving the people towards a common and a well defined goal.
Trustworthy- person – One whom we can entrust our entire destiny to and hope to get the desired results may lead us to our promise land. Here we are looking at a man who has the courage, charisma, carriage, patience and understanding to take the people across huddles without complaining.
Show me a people without a leader and I will show you a people that have no direction and who are destined or bound to fail.
- THE FOLLOWERSHIP QUESTION
While we may be quick to blame our leaders, let us look at our followership pattern.
What do we find in Obubra? We do not seem to have respect for leadership, the reason why our numbers do not count. Anyone can split or divide us for his selfish benefit no matter where he comes from. We are so desperate that we can easily throw away our hard earned reputation for peanuts because we behave as if we are the hungriest people on the planet and perhaps, the poorest people on earth.
We easily throw our integrity and our corporate vision for personal gains without any sense of guilt. We are all generally selfish and self-centred. It is the reason for this pull-down syndrome and petition writing. We do not care if we have to destroy our blood brother for a carrot dangled by an enemy. This is one important reason we cannot produce a leader, because there can be no leader without followers. The story is that bad.
Let me end with this story in the bible. In Gen 11:1-9, God acknowledged the strength of unity in achieving organisational goal. There is something about unity that God acknowledges about human progress; with emphasise on Verse 5-8, we find that as long as you cannot speak in the same language, you cannot build together.
Thus far, we have been speaking in discordant tones and demonstrate little or no respect for leadership. When we fight each other and engage blackmail; when run down candidates of Obubra origin in favour of foreign candidates for whatever reasons, Shall we be building our strengths or tearing down?
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, this the journey so far, as I see it.
Thank you all.
EDUCATION AND YOUTH EMPOWERMENT
Being Paper Presented at a One-Day Obubra Summit 2020
Obubra Development Forum
At Solelcy Event Centre
Professor MBINA, Anthony Adomi
Department of Architecture,
Faculty of Environmental Studies,
University of Uyo, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
Phone: 80853009274; 07037741699
EDUCATION AND YOUTH EMPOWERMENT
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t…you’re right.” Henry Ford
Youths are the most populous group of individuals in the world today; even more so when considering the fluid and often broad definition of the word, youths. Consequently, this group possesses the power to shape the future of every society where they exist as well as the world at large. To experience the benefits of youths through empowerment, education and employment, countries must invest in empowering programs, affordable education and employment opportunities to the advantage of their young people.
According to the UN, there are approximately more than 1.8 billion young people in the world today, representing a bewildering amount of human potential.
Unfortunately, too many of them are trapped in poverty, with limited opportunities to go to school, work or learn a skill to earn a decent living. It is deeply disheartening that the group with the highest potential, given their age, strength, brains, population and willingness is often presented with the least opportunities for personal growth and development. A fact to buttress this point is that over 74 million young people worldwide cannot find work. Given the many benefits of investing in youths therefore, every country needs to make it a national priority. That is why we are here today. And very sincerely the organizers of this forum here in Obubra.
Key words: Education; Empowerment; Schooling; Eentrepreneurial Education; Employment
This discussion will be premised on the study of Human Development Index (HDI) and Human Poverty Index (HPI) for Obubra which was conducted by Okey O. Ovat in 2015.
That showed an average achievement for Obubra, vis-a-vis the rest of the other Local Government Areas of Cross River State in 3 basic dimensions of human development namely:
(i) a long and healthy life as measured by life expectancy at birth (ii) knowledge, as measured by the adult literacy rate (with two thirds weight) and the combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio (with one third weight), and (iii) a decent standard of living, as measured by GDP per capita, Ovat (2015).
This study further shows that Obubra ranks 3rd in HDI out of the 18 local government areas of the State, while Calabar Municipality and Calabar South ranked 1st and 2nd respectively.
But Obubra’s 3rd position in the HDI ranking notwithstanding, judging from the categorization according to range, the Local Government Area falls in the medium range. This is not very healthy for a Local Government Area that is acclaimed to be one of the oldest in Cross River State and indeed Nigeria.
Obubra should have fallen in the high range in the HDI categorization. While the HDI measures average achievement, HPI measures deprivations in the three basic dimensions of human development captured in the HDI namely: (i) a long and healthy life–vulnerability to death at a relatively early age as measured by the probability at birth of not surviving to age 40.
(ii) knowledge –exclusion from the World of reading and communication, as measured by the adult illiteracy rate, and (iii) a decent standard of living–lack of access to overall economic provision, as measured by the percentage of the population not using improved water sourcesand the percentage of children under five who are under weight.
My discussion therefore will be centered on the 2nd aspect of these deficiencies, thus: knowledge or education.
WHAT IS EDUCATION?
Education is the process of acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself. Education is an English word which, according to some experts, originated from the Latin word, “educo”, meaning, “to develop from within”, to grow in mind, to have power. We can also define education as “a process of acquiring knowledge through study or imparting the knowledge by way of instructions or some other practical procedure.
Furthermore, Education also means helping people to learn how to do things and encouraging them to think about what they learn. Through education therefore, the knowledge of society, country, and of the world is passed on from generation to generation. In democracies, through education, children and adults are supposed to learn how to be active and effective citizens. More specific, education helps and guide individuals to transform from one class to other. Education is a gradual process which brings positive changes in human life and behaviour.
IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION
>Education is the foundation for the development and progress of any society.
>It is a base upon which the whole building of human development stands.
>Proper education is necessary for success in life.
>Just like food is necessary for the healthy human body, so is education.
>Good education is constructive in nature and very helpful in future life.
>If we want to change the world, we have to focus on education and increase of knowledge.
>Empowered individuals, societies, countries, by education are taking an edge over individuals stand on the bottom pyramid of growth.
In general, the practical benefits of education in the 21st century can include:
Economic: With some form of higher education one can earn more money and have a lower probability of unemployment.
Health: Gainful employment and a positive cash flow take away the stress factors associated with financial insecurity. As such, you are likelier to live a happier and healthier life with some form of higher education.
Civic involvement: People with gainful employment and financial resources often give back to the community. When you earn well and your network expands, you are more likely to give to charity and become involved in volunteer work.
Personal development: People with careers tend to lead more structured lives and have a stronger sense of responsibility, traits that serve as strength-builders in other areas of life.
Better communication: Most jobs involve some form of written or verbal communication. As such, you will generally improve in both areas during your college and professional career.
Realization of passions: As with most people, the more you learn, the likelier you are to find your true passions in life. Through the education process, you can explore the various facets of a prospective field and find your strengths.
Greater sense of discipline: The regiments of education can instill you with the discipline required in the professional world. By learning to follow complex instructions and meet strict deadlines, you will be better prepared for the rigors of the marketplace.
Sense of accomplishment: Each time you complete a school assignment or job task, it’s the product of your talent and hard work.
As you can see, the benefits of education in the 21st century are not just career-oriented. Being able to develop yourself is invaluable, and having a higher education helps you do that.
SCHOOL AND EDUCATION
Education has nothing to do with school. School does NOT give education, instead it makes children to love and believe in certificates. So many people even define education as certificate. Education does not have anything to do with certificate, but it has everything to do with your brain, your mind and talent. We stated earlier that the Latin word “educo” means, “to develop from within, to grow in mind, to have power”. So, school does not give a child that ability or power to develop, school can only award certificates.
Another source, Dictionary.com defines education as; “The act or process of acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself”. Now if we claim that school give children education–which means preparing them for life, how come school is teaching them to seek for good jobs–which are nowhere to be found? School only makes children to believe that good certificate will make them rich and successful. That is not true. Maybe that was in the 19th century. In 21st century? Your mind determines your success and how you can make it in life.
Come to think of it:
Did Dangote become the richest African because he is a professor? Is Johann Rupert a PhD holder to become the richest man in South Africa? Does Bill Gates have any certificate?
Did Mark Zuckerberg (who founded Facebook) finish school?
Then, how did they become so rich and successful? Behind all these men and other successful people, are well built minds, well prepared for riches and success.
According George Santayana “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child”. What this means is that if all a child knows (about money, life and success) is what school taught him, then this child knows nothing, nothing at all. Let us ask this question, if certificates really matter in life, why are most professors poor? Do you know that many Lawyers and Doctors are now earning as low as #50, 000 or less a month? That is not up to what some brick-layers earn. Then, who can prove the golden worth of certificate in the 21st century? Certificate may earn you big names and titles such as B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc., Ph.D., Prof. etc. no doubt it can also earn you a living, what to eat and drink, but only your mind will earn you riches.
How do you have a mind that makes you rich? No one is born with the mind to be rich, but everybody can build it. How do you build such a wealth attracting mind? It is by what you ‘eat’ with your brain.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” – Joseph Addison. When you eat well and exercise your body, you will become healthier. When you read good books, you become smarter, wiser and eventually richer. Read less of sport news, start reading financial books.
Reduce your hours on movies and games, start reading good books. Watch less of football matches– you need to read some good financial books. Sit down today and fish out two-six hours out of your hours a week. Use this period to read good financial books. There are thousands of good motivational and financial books out there. Read, read and read financial books. Read motivational books, wonderful books and soon you will have a mind that attracts wealth. Your environment will gradually turn to green. You will start seeing business and wealth opportunities you never saw before. You will become loaded and unstoppable.
Isaac Asimov once said “Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” If for any reason you cannot educate yourself, you are an illiterate, even if you have Ph.D.
EMPOWERMENT: WHAT IS IT?
What is empowerment? How can we recognize it? How do we evaluate it? Talk about it with others who are interested in empowerment? Our recent literature review of articles indicating a focus on empowerment, across several scholarly and practical disciplines, resulted in no clear definition of the concept across disciplinary lines. Many using the term cope with its lack of clear, shared meaning by employing the concept very narrowly, using only their specific scholarly discipline or program to inform them. Others do not define the term at all. As a result, many have come to view “empowerment” as nothing more than the most recently popular buzz word to be thrown in to make sure old programs get new funding. This article defines empowerment as a multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives.
We maintain that empowerment is a process that challenges our assumptions about the way things are and can be. It challenges our basic assumptions about power, helping, achieving, and succeeding. To begin to demystify the concept of empowerment, we need to understand the concept broadly in order to be clear about how and why we narrow our focus of empowerment for specific programs and projects (specific dimension or level, etc.) and to allow discussion of empowerment across disciplinary and practice lines. Understanding empowerment became a critical issue for us as we grappled with the task of sharing amenities for our youths.
Furthermore, Empowerment is the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities. This enables them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority. It is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. Empowerment as action refers both to the process of self-empowerment and to professional support of people, which enables them to overcome their sense of powerlessness and lack of influence, and to recognize and use their resources.
As a term, empowerment originates from American community psychology and is associated with the social scientist Julian Rappaport (1981). However, the roots of empowerment theory extend further into history and are linked to Marxist sociological theory. These sociological ideas have continued to be developed and refined through Neo-Marxist Theory (also known as Critical Theory).
In social work, empowerment forms a practical approach of resource-oriented intervention. In the field of citizenship education and democratic education, empowerment is seen as a tool to increase the responsibility of the citizen. Empowerment is a key concept in the discourse on promoting civic engagement. Empowerment as a concept, which is characterized by a move away from a deficit-oriented towards a more strength-oriented perception, can increasingly be found in management concepts, as well as in the areas of continuing education and self-help.
At the core of the concept of empowerment is the idea of power. The possibility of empowerment depends on two things. First, empowerment requires that power can change. If power cannot change, if it is inherent in positions or people, then empowerment is not possible, nor is empowerment conceivable in any meaningful way. In other words, if power can change, then empowerment is possible. Second, the concept of empowerment depends upon the idea that power can expand. This second point reflects our common experiences of power rather than how we think about power. To clarify these points, we first discuss what we mean by power.
Power is often related to our ability to make others do what we want, regardless of their own wishes or interests (Weber, 1946). Traditional social science emphasizes power as influence and control, often treating power as a commodity or structure divorced from human action (Lips, 1991). Conceived in this way, power can be viewed as unchanging or unchangeable. Weber (1946) gives us a key word beyond this limitation by recognizing that power exists within the context of a relationship between people or things. Power does not exist in isolation nor is it inherent in individuals. By implication, since power is created in relationships, power and power relationships can change. Empowerment as a process of change, then, becomes a meaningful concept.
A brief exercise makes the importance of this discussion clear. Quickly, list three words that immediately come to mind when you hear the word power. For most people, words that come to mind when we think about power often revolve around control and domination. Focusing on these aspects of power limit our ability to understand and define empowerment.
The concept of empowerment also depends upon power that can expand, our second stated requirement. Understanding power as zero-sum, as something that you get at my expense, cuts most of us off from power. A zero-sum conception of power means that power will remain in the hands of the powerful unless they give it up. Although this is certainly one way that power can be experienced, it neglects the way power will remain in the hands of the powerful unless they give it up. Although this is certainly one way that power is experienced, it neglects the way power is experienced in most interactions. Another brief exercise highlights the importance of a definition of power that includes expansion. Answer the question; “Have you ever felt powerful?” Was it at someone’s expense? Was it with someone else?
Grounded in an understanding that power will be seen and understood differently by people who inhabit various positions in power structures (Lukes, 1994), contemporary research on power has opened new perspectives that reflect aspects of power that are not zero-sum, but are shared. Feminists (Miller, 1976; Starhawk, 1987), members of grassroots organizations (Bookman & Morgen, 1984), racial and ethnic groups (Nicola-McLaughlin & Chandler, 1984), and even individuals in families bring into focus another aspect of power, one that is characterized by collaboration, sharing and mutuality (Kreisberg, 1992).
Researchers and practitioners call this aspect of power “relational power”(Lappe & DuBois, 1994), generative power (Korten, 1987), “integrative power,” and “power with” (Kreisberg, 1992). This aspect means that gaining power actually strengthens the power of others rather than diminishing it such as occurs with domination/power. Kreisberg has suggested that power defined as “the capacity to implement” (Kreisberg, 1992:57) is broad enough to allow power to mean domination, authority, influence, and shared power or “power with.” It is this definition of power, as a process that occurs in relationships, that gives us the possibility of empowerment.
Empowerment is a construct shared by many disciplines and arenas: community development, psychology, education, economics, and studies of social movements and organizations, among others. How empowerment is understood varies among these perspectives. In recent empowerment literature, the meaning of the term empowerment is often assumed rather than explained or defined. Rappoport (1984) has noted that it is easy to define empowerment by its absence but difficult to define in action as it takes on different forms in different people and contexts. Even defining the concept is subject to debate. Zimmerman (1984) has stated that asserting a single definition of empowerment may make attempts to achieve it formulaic or prescription-like, contradicting the very concept of empowerment.
A common understanding of empowerment is necessary, however, to allow us to know empowerment when we see it in people with whom we are working, and for program evaluation. According to Bailey (1992), how we precisely define empowerment within our projects and programs will depend upon the specific people and context involved.
As a general definition, however, we suggest that empowerment is a multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives. It is a process that fosters power (that is, the capacity to implement) in people, for use in their own lives, their communities, and in their society, by acting on issues that they define as important.
We suggest that three components of our definition are basic to any understanding of empowerment. Empowerment is multi-dimensional, social, and a process. It is multi-dimensional in that it occurs within sociological, psychological, economic, and other dimensions. Empowerment also occurs at various levels, such as individual, group, and community. Empowerment, by definition, is a social process, since it occurs in relationship to others. Empowerment is a process that is similar to a path or journey, one that develops as we work through it. Other aspects of empowerment may vary according to the specific context and people involved, but these remain constant. In addition, one important implication of this definition of empowerment is that the individual and community are fundamentally connected.
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT
In this discussion, the term youth empowerment is broadly employed to explain efforts aimed at providing coping skills and an enabling environment for youths to lead decent lives and contribute meaningfully to national development. It is not the type you may be thinking about – from your politicians. The National Youth Policy (2009) is the official document that stipulates broad guidelines for the implementation of empowerment programmes and projects of youths. The policy document states its goal as follows:
“…the overall policy goal is to provide an appropriate framework that will promote theenjoyment of fundamental human rights and protect the health, social, economic and political wellbeing of all young men and women in order to enhance their participation in the overall development process and improve their quality of life.”
An emerging trend in youth empowerment in Nigeria is therefore entrepreneurship education. In their paper titled, Entrepreneurship Education and Employment Stimulation in Nigeria, Akhuemonkhan et al described entrepreneurship education as:
“…a formal or informal structured learning that inculcates in students/trainees the ability to identify, screen and seize available opportunities in the environment in addition to skill acquisition
The thrust of entrepreneurship training entails identifying the sources of opportunities, the processes of discovery, evaluation, and exploitation of opportunities; and the set of individuals who discover, evaluate and exploit them. The deliverables of entrepreneurship education when properly imbibed by students and learners are:
(a) ability to identify something happening in the environment (resources); and (b) ability to impart something new to trainees, so that that their creativity, innovative abilities, beliefs and recombination skills would be enhanced.
Unemployment has been defined as situation where the people who are willing and able to work are unable to find any suitable job within the reasonable period of time. Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria appears to be the highest in Africa. There are 171 universities in Nigeria as at December 2020, 95 polytechnics and 152 colleges of education.
Despite the effort of the government to create about two million jobs per annum, most tertiary graduates stay far above the age of 35 years before entering their first job. Babalola (2007) reveals that unemployment incidence in Nigeria affects energetic youth within the ages of 20, 25 and 30 years more than any other age groups in Nigeria. This implies that many youths with dynamic resources wonder around without being gainfully engaged.
With this huge human capital waste, the questions which always come to the mind is why do large numbers of university graduates go jobless for years, while labour complain of lack of skilled workers; and how can the higher institutions assist in training skilled graduates for the Nigerian economy? Perhaps the curriculum may have some loop holes in the training of these youths.
These are questions that need to be answered before this situation gets out of control. Findings from Federal Ministry of Education some years back confirms that growing unemployment among recent graduates, especially at the tertiary level, stems in part, from the mismatch between 3 educational output and requirements of the labour market.
Hence skill mismatch is a major concern in Nigeria where tertiary education graduates acquire skills that are not demanded by the labour market. Another important factor for unemployment in Nigeria is the wrong impression of students about the place of technical and vocational education.
There is an enduring societal bias against technical and vocational education. Consequently, a large number of job seekers lack practical skills that could enhance self-employment. That is why, rather than providing jobs for others, the graduate unemployed persons keep depending on the government and the non-vibrant private sector for job offers (Usoro, 2000).
BENEFITS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION
Ubah (2011) posits that Entrepreneurship Education will in addition to helping willing recipients to establish their own small-scale business or company after graduation, also help them to have the knowledge of how entrepreneurial firms operate. It will enable them to acquire the skill for innovation, creativity and opportunity recognition which are very essential for anyone entering the market. They will also learn the skills that are necessary for the various and changing challenges they face in their lifetime.
Ubah suggests that in addition to these, entrepreneurship education will be useful in:
– Enhancement of economic growth for the individual and the nation.
– Poverty alleviation.
– The solving of the problem of youth restiveness, cultism, arm robbery, vandalization of oil pipelines among others.
– Reducing of the issue of kidnapping and insecurity of life and property.
– Minimizing of human trafficking and prostitution.
– The reduction of the level of unemployment and
– The increase of income per capita.
Entrepreneurship education thus assumed importance against the background of poverty, widespread unemployment and the need to shift the attention of the citizenry away from white collar jobs and government patronage. It will be recalled that the earlier generations of educated Nigerians saw government employment as the ultimate, and most citizens (educated or otherwise) have learned to look up to government for the provision of even the basic necessities of life. This “Big Brother” role of government, however, is unsustainable in the light of emerging global realities.
The trend in the world is for more compact governments which are able to channel higher percentages of national earnings to capital rather than recurrent expenditure. Contrary to this popular developmental philosophy of governance, Nigeria for a long time adopted a patronizing, paternalistic and consumerist philosophy of governance where recurrent government expenditure in Nigeria is often in excess of 70% of the national budget11. To reverse this ugly trend, government has made known its intention to promote private enterprise and to stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit in Nigerians.
Given the demographic scenario painted earlier, and the abiding promise of youth, it is of course noteworthy that government recognizes the need to stimulate entrepreneurial orientation among the youths. For this reason, government has launched several initiatives aimed at inculcating entrepreneurial skills in Nigerian youths. Before delving into these schemes, it is valuable to recognize an important stratification of Nigerian youths that bears profound relevance to the subject of this study.
Before I end this discussion, let me ask this question which was asked some twenty eight (28) years ago (1992). Why we are asking this question is to reassess our situation, to confirm if the situation has changed. The question was – what is responsible for the “slow pace of development in Obubra?”. Permit me to quote the answer a renouned engineer, (one of us, an Obubra son) – Engr Pius Okpa, (one time chairman) of this council gave.
He said “… as regards manpower development, our generation could not apprecitae the value of education on time and this has had adverse effect on our development. I say so because I know of many communities where individuals have emerged independent of other people. Besides, it is the awareness of gains inherent in education that gives meaning to the support you enjoy from others. However, the situation is rapidly changing as the younger generation tends to be more aware and appreciate better the value of education”. What Engr. Okpa is saying here is that there is a strong corelation beween education and development.
THE NEW OBUBRA OF OUR DREAM.
A Keynote Address Presented by Comrade Dan Obo Jnr, State Chairman National Youth Council of Nigeria Cross River State Chapter, at the Obubra Interdenominational Thanksgiving Service and Summit 2020, atObubra Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I consider it a privilege and great honour to deliver this keynote address at this very important epoch-making Summit. It is an experience that is both exciting and challenging; one that humbles me greatly. For me, this feels like a homecoming. Let me first of all congratulate the organizers of this event for breaking through the matrix and setting Obubra on the path of Renaissance. Let me also seize this medium to specifically express my gratitude to the leadership of Obubra for the support given to me during the last National Youth Council Election in Cross River state, a support I most honestly cherish and I humbly pledge to use the mandate given to me to also advance the course of a new and better Obubra.
The theme of this Summit “Business, Entrepreneurship and Investment strategies for the obubra people” is one that is apt and timely given that we live in an era where the average Obubra man and woman is faced with the scourge of financial paucity and ravaged by an unquantifiable proliferation of hunger, communal clashes, war and natural disasters such as flooding, which has outrageously affected the socioeconomic development and advancement of an average Obubra man and woman.
It is also very profound for a time where the entire world is plagued by a monstrous pandemic called COVID-19, which has adversely affected the economy of many Nations of the world leading to recent surge in cases unemployment, poverty and harship. In a time like this, it is indeed quite befitting that we are holding this conversation at this Summit. Just like the biblical sons of Issachar that understood the time and knew what Israel ought to do. I make bold to say that there can never be a better time to critically consider all these gray matters of utmost concern than now.
Having given a synopsis of some of the challenges facing us, I will speak specifically on the topic “The New Obubra Of Our Dream; Challenges and Prospect”. This is a topic that is very dear to my heart because it is the focal point wherein lies our hope for socioeconomic and infrastructural development as a people. I would love to further state that this topic of discourse is an inexhaustible subject and one which I cannot judiciously outline in its entirety for want of time. However, for the purpose of this address, we shall attempt to look at this topic from the following perspectives, namely; Economy, Agriculture, Leadership and Infrastructural Development.
Ladies and Gentlemen, today the global economy is being adversely threatened, more worrisome is the fact that our state and particularly our Local Government has little or no economic input. A Local Government where the mainstream economic activity is farming (subsistence and non- mechanized farming), available statistics shows that an average Obubra man lives below $1 daily. The poverty rate is outrageously alarming.
To set Obubra on the path of renaissance is to first empower the Obubra man socioeconomically as we have a lot of young minds in obubra with excellent ideas and raw talents in dire need of economic empowerment. It is high time the leadership of Obubra began setting modalities towards ⁶ our economic output through robust innovations and incentives to farmers, indigenous artisans, and local businesses.
The Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which is the main driver of every economy should be encouraged to thrive in Obubra. The Leadership of Obubra must look inward and seek for new ways to engage and encourage the average Obubra Business owner in Mile 1 Market, Apiapum Market, Ovonum, Ofombongha and also the local Rice farmers in OfouOsopong and Isobo should have a place to mill their produce without travelling down to faraway Ebonyi State in the face of insecurity characterizing the Area.
The place of Agriculture in the socioeconomic advancement of Obubra can never be overemphasized. Agriculture remains our area of comparative advantage and so we must leverage on what we have to advance the course of a New Obubra. With rice cultivation and Garri processing as the major agricultural activity of an average Obubra man, available statistics shows that the consumption of rice and garri has outweighed that of every other common food in any locality. Hence, rice especially has become a global product with its demand increasing by the day.
We as a people must begin to conscientiously invest in our fertile and arable farmlands from the Hills of Adun to the lowlands of Okum, down to the marshy and swampy regions of Osopong and Isobo. There is need for robust investment in Agriculture through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. The Local Government leadership should partner with interested seasoned rice farmers by providing support to these farmers in form of loans, grants, provision of mechanized farming equipment.
Our youths must be encouraged to embrace agriculture as a means of livelihood as Agriculture is the trademark of an Obubra man. The youth have not found agriculture really appealing due to some reasons and one of whih would be the fact that farming is still done the manual way with little or no access to modern equipment available.
I think that with access to modern farming equipment, fertilizer, hybrid species and arable land, our agricultural produce can witness a boost. For the common Obubra man who may want to go into mechanized farming, tractors are not even readily available, fertilizers and other farm supplements are at outrageous high cost. Available statistics shows that 16% of the World Population depends on food produced elsewhere and by 2050, that number is expected to skyrocket to about 50% with the exhaustion of farmland and the ways climate change will adversely affect arable land, half of the world’s population could rely on food imports. This calls for an introspective reflection as a people. We must learn to girdle our loins and be ready for the future, agriculture is the future.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is obviously no gainsaying that the success or failure of any nation rises and falls on Leadership and Obubra is not an exception to this assertion. Like Hersey and Blanchard would say “Leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group in efforts towards goal achievement in a given situation” Hence, we cannot talk about a New Obubra without talking about a pragmatic shift in our leadership mindset.
As a young man growing up in obubra, I remember with a feeling of nostalgia that Obubra was once revered as the Political Mecca of Cross River State, where every politician troop in to solicit for political support courtesy of the sterling leadership dexterity exhibited by our illustrious son of blessed memory, Chief John Oyom Okpa. Obubra became the epicenter of politics in the state with everyone running to solicit for our votes and support.
This is the only Local Government that was once referred to as the Local Government with the JUMBO VOTE. Every politician tremble at the mention of Obubra. Today, things has fallen apart and regrettably the story has never been the same afterwards. Today, I am tempted to ask, “Who has bewitched Obubra? Is Obubra cursed or are we the Cause” These are rhetorical questions but we must live to answer them solemnly in our heart.
Today this same Obubra that gave birth to other Local Government Area in Cross River State Central Senatorial District is now the most economically and socio-politically backward. What a tragedy!. Today, we cannot authoritatively boast of a leadership we can all rally around. Today, we exist as a people conquered in our prime and the spoil shared amongst our invaders. What a Tragedy!.
But then should we continue in this penury? How long do we have to complain over our backwardness? How long do we have to mourn over our plight as a people? To me, now is the time to act and seek a new and better direction of leadership even as we approach 2023, we must understand that the future we all seek is Now and we must all endeavour to Get involved.
A New Obubra is only possible when we elect leaders that understand the pains of the common man in obubra. A new Obubra is only possible when we elect leaders that can boldly defend and speak for the voiceless and defenseless people of Osopong and Isobo ravaged by war and flood. A New Obubra is possible when we elect leaders that understand that in Obubra there is no Adun man, there is no Okum man, there is no ofombongha man, there is no Isobo Man, there is no Osopong Man but there is just an Obubra Man with the New Obubra ideology.
We cannot continue to trade our political birthright and expect any positive change because every sociopolitical development and advancement we desire rises and falls on Leadership and politics hence, we must learn to play the politics of the people and shun the politics of PULL HIM DOWN syndrome. We must begin to make conscientious effort to bring back Obubra into the political orbit of the state and restore our past Glory and the time is now.
We need to continuously mentor our youth to assume leadership positions for it is leadership that prepare our youth to be ready to embrace, take over and manage their future in all field of life. We must not just prepare our youth for the future, but we must endeavor to prepare the future for our youth through quality leadership.
It is expedient to stress that the political space in cross river state is gradually opening up for our youths and the youths who are saddled with public responsibilities are currently living up to expectations and discharging their duties effectively. Our youths in obubra are beginning to excel in their different spheres of life and are fast becoming models for upcoming generation. One of our own, Ovat Peter, a student of CRUTECH recently made history as the elected NACRISS-WW President few months after my emergence as NYCN Chairman. These are testament to the fact that a New Obubra is gloriously emerging and we must all get involved.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I had painstakingly dwelled on the aspect of leadership because it is the sum total of the problem we face as a people in Obubra. It is therefore noteworthy to remind us once more that Obubra was once a district and administrative headquarters under the colonial Masters just like Ogoja Province, but today we see other local Government Areas developing with the speed of light while our dear Obubra remain in the cesspool of obscurity.
How many functional hospitals, good roads, schools, markets, electricity network, factories and companies do we have in Obubra? Can we even boast of good water to drink? Can we proudly point at one factory in Obubra? Can we proudly say that Obubra is urbanized? In terms of infrastructural development can we proudly compare Obubra to any of her offspring Local Government Area?
THE WAY FORWARD:
As we continuously clamour for a new Obubra, we must begin to build capacity in all fields of endeavors. We must as a matter of urgency through our House of Assembly members draw the attention of the state government to the issues of urbanization in Obubra. We must adopt a holistic developmental blueprint and successive government must learn to follow this blueprint regardless of whoever is at the helm of affairs. We must stop the politics of bitterness, betrayal and wickedness as a people.
I am sincerely anticipating a new Obubra where investors and politicians will consider viable to invest. A new Obubra with the capacity to attract development just like Ikom, Calabar, and Ogoja. And this can only be possible if we begin to think Obubra first. I am sure and I believe in the possibility of this new Obubra.
Thank you and God bless Obubra Nation!
The Future is Now! Get involved!!