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Tuesday, 7 March 2017


Most people in Edo state are aware of the many abandoned and fast crumbling Industries that are scattered around Edo State. These abandoned facilities are evidence to prove the fact that, at one point in time Edo State enjoyed a period of Industrial and economic growth.
These abandoned industries, during their period of operations served not only the people of Edo state as a source of Employment, but it was also a source of job for many Youths from other States of the Federation. I remember introducing myself to a shoe seller in Calabar in 2011 and on hearing that I was from Edo State he began to tell me about how during his earlier days, he and some of his friends used to come to Edo State to purchase Rubber sap and fresh Palm oil back in the 80’s.
In the days of Edo State’s Industrial glory, Edo State was not only providing jobs for her youths but she was also providing jobs for Youths from other parts of the country who were actively engaged in the production and movement of produce from the large farms and Industries in Edo State to other parts of the country.
From as early as the 1980’s a small scale Industrial village was already created at Ogbesan, near Benin city. Its status today is “abandoned”. One would have imagined that by this time that place would have become a flourishing industrial zone but that clearly have not been the case.
There are so many cases of abandoned industries in Edo State that one cannot completely go around the state without seeing one of these monuments of abandonment, however. I am more concerned about the abandoned vocational training centres built during the administration of Samuel Ogbemudia. It is understandable if Large industries stop operations for one reason or the other but the fact that we are not only seeing abandoned Industries in Edo State but we are now also seeing abandoned Vocational training centres is a very bad development for the Youths of Edo State who are supposed to be the one learning vocational and technical skills from this training centres. We cannot continue to talk about reviving of our old industries or deliberate building new ones when we have abandoned one key area which is the grass root training of our Youths in the field of vocational and technical education. If our youths do not have the basic technical skills needed to play an important role in the Industries and factories around them, then they may just end up working as unskilled workers in these industries.
While the present Governor of Edo State is doing all he can to revive these Ghost factories, the Governor of Edo State must not forget the abandoned vocational training centres, he should consider reactivating these vocational training centres and also equip them with state of the art learning facilities to ensure that in the next few years Edo State will be filled with Innovative young persons who are well qualified to occupy key positions in industries. Edo State should not be one of those states that spend too much in theoretical education, thereby pumping out unemployable graduates into the already jam-packed labour market.
The reasons why we need to invest more on vocational technical education cannot be overemphasized. Giving the youths of Edo State the chance to acquire vocational and technical skills would go a long way in ensuring that if finally we are able to  revive our old industries or build new ones our youths will not just be employed as labourers and unskilled workers, but we will see our own Edo sons and daughters occupying key positions in these industries and making key decisions that would affect the lives of many people.
The renovation of the Benin Technical College into an ultra modern, ICT compliant Technical and Vocational college, and the creation of smaller (but standard) vocational training centres in other parts of Edo will go help put our youths in Edo State in an advantaged position in preparation for whatever industrial revolution that our Governor Godwin Obaseki  is planning for us.
Edo State must begin to position itself as a State in the 21st Century. Our youths should have access to well equipped Vocational training facilities where they will be bred to create innovative solutions to some of our problems In Edo State. Youths in cities of the world today are at the forefront of the ICT arena, they keep coming up with new ideas, new solutions and softwares that impacts on the lives of many. We must challenge our youths to do better by creating for them the enabling environment and introducing friendly policies to support them.
Relying on the knowledge and methods of yesterday to face the challenges of today may not yield desirable results. In whatever step we are taking to position Edo State as  a Better place for its people our youths need to be carried along.
If we fail to do this, then there may be consequences. If the youths in a community hosting a major industry do not get well paid jobs or important positions in that company while outsiders and foreigners are securing good positions in the same industry, then the youths may begin to protest and this would be irrespective of whether they are qualified for a well paid job in such a company or not. That is one reason why the Edo State Government need to hep in the acquisition of Vocational and Technical Education for our youths.