A Human Capital Development plan that’s intended to move 24 million Nigerians out of poverty before 2030 commenced on Monday in Kaduna and culminated in Ado Ekiti in the South western part of the country yesterday.
The plan is jointly embarked upon by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the office of Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbanjo.
Human Capital is the stock of habits, knowledge, social and personal attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor to produce economic value. It is unique and differs from any other capital. It is needed for people to achieve goals, develop and remain innovative.
Led by Yosola Akinbi of the office of the Vice President of Nigeria, the Core Working Group, CWG, commenced its sensitization tour of the country in Kaduna where it met with Governor Nasiru el Rufai and Sagir Ahmed the States HCD Focal Person.
The overall vision of the HCD is concentrated in three thematic areas which are Education, Public health and nutrition and the workforce.
Yosola Akinbi told the governor of Kaduna State that when compared to the rest of the world, Nigeria is rated very low and that instead of playing the ostrich and living in denial, it is better for the country to rise to the occasion and confront the problem head-on.
In his interaction with the CWG, Governor el Rufai reeled out a number of gains in his HCD strides which include the establishment of an ICT innovation Hub, Click Kaduna, where young unemployed people and even sit-at-home mums are finding gainful employment and making money, some in hard currency.
In outlining the overall vision of the state in the HCD project, Governor El Rufai disclosed that he has established five Policy Councils that meet between 8am and 10am every working day and forward their resolutions which serve as the development compass of the state.
These Policy Councils cover the critical areas of governance like Procurement Council, Infrastructure Council, Economic Development Council and Institutional Development Council and HCD. They are all headed by very senior members of his cabinet.
The effect of these Councils is that they have brought pragmatism and expertise into governance and made my job easier because now I can sit back and only assent to their resolutions or reject same, El Rufai stressed.
This, he also added, has relegated the state executive council in the scheme of things in the state as a result of which the executive council doesn’t even meet as regularly as it used to, anymore.
Moreover, El Rufai added that, the Deputy Governor who according to the HCD-CWG formula is each state’s champion of the project is a public health specialist who had done great work in the state which earned her the confidence of the governor and elevated her to the Deputy Governor position.
However, despite the strides of the HCD project in Kaduna State, both government officials and the traditional rulers of Kaduna regret that drug addiction is impeding the progress of youths in the state and is also the cause of crimes in the state.
But in Ekiti State which the CWG visited on Wednesday the Chairman of the Ekiti State Traditional Council, the Alawe of Ilawe, told the CWG that while Ekiti State is the fountain of knowledge it is still groaning under the weight of adult-illiteracy because most elderly people are left behind in erudition.
In a meeting with the CWG and some politicians who had been joined by providence at the Alawe’s palace, may pledged their commitment to the ideals of the HCD but argued that there was need to find a constitutional role for the traditional institutions in the country if the vision of the HCD were to be realized.
This same sentiment had been voiced out by a traditional ruler from Zazzau who was there to represent the Emir of Zaria.
On his part, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State who met with the CWG in his office declared a total commitment to the HCD while telling them that they were preaching to the pope, where HCD is concerned.
He said child mortality used to be very high in Ekiti State but that has since been addressed. He reminded the CWG that several HCD plans initiated by his previous administration were regrettably jettisoned by his predecessor but added that happily they are now gradually being returned to the governance tray.
At a meeting of stakeholders between the CWG and youth groups Ekiti State, the youths stated that although they were allowed to make input into the budget, they were still partially integrated and would like a bigger role for youths in the state.
The CWG would be making their next stop in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.