The Governor of Osun state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has said the only option open to states to stem the rising tide of criminality is to intensify efforts on adequate engagements of youths through various empowerment strategies.
Aregbesola also disclosed that his administration would continue to prioritise the welfare of youths, which he described as foundation of governance.
He made the pledge while addressing people at a symposium organised by the Adulawo Nigeria Network Limited, at Conference Centre, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Aregbesola, who was represented by the Co-ordinating Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Youth Engagement, Dr. Isaac Aluko, described youths as central to the administration and said the current government had successfully harnessed the youth potentials in all its programmes.
Aregbesola said all his policies and programmes had been youth-oriented, saying the swift intervention of his government on agriculture, education, security, among others, over the years had yielded positive impacts in the lives of the citizenry.
Reminding all that the current administration had so far engaged over 40, 000 youths on different engagements through an empowerment programme known as Osun Youths Employment Scheme (O’YES), he said the scheme had recorded tremendous achievements.
He said the motive behind the engagement of youths to government’s ministries, departments and agencies was to banish unemployment, as well as create an enabling environment for the younger generation to make positive impact in the society.
He said that efforts had been made by the government to facilitate all round transformation and positive change through the engagement of youths in agriculture with the hope of turning the state to food basket of the nation and commercial hub of the region.
He also listed the Osun Rural Enterprises and Agricultural Programme (O’REAP) as one of the avenues through which the government had strategically provided opportunities of youths to be engaged.
Aregbeola said the involvement of youths in agriculture had, over the years, brought about an improved efficiency of the agriculture value chain, creating jobs and as well making millionaires out of young farmers.
Aregbesola said the understanding of the needs of the youths by his administration, called for massive employment generation and wealth creation since assumption of office.
He said, “We appreciate this programme because it is in line with our drastic social intervention on the general well-being of our youths, which our government considered as a pillar of good governance.
“Our administration has generated mass employment in all aspects of our programmes and policies because our focus is to enrich the common man, as well create wealth for the state.
“Osun Youths Empowerment Scheme, Osun Rural Enterprises and Agricultural Programme- Osun Schools Infrastructural Development Programme (O’SCHOOLS), Osun Elementary Schools Feeding and Health Programme (O’MEALS), among others, are basically designed to eradicate unemployment in the state.
“Our government’s resolve is to transform minds for better productivity, as well as strengthen the economic value chain for greater development of our state.”
Earlier, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, stressed a need for the Nigerian governments to prioritise the welfare of the youths in the implementation of its policies.
Oba Ogunwusi, who advocated the promotion of local products, however, called on the government to condemn medical tourism which was rampant among the rich in the country, and which, he said, had constituted a lot of burden on the nation’s economic growth and development.
He said for the country to grow in the right direction, the leaders must live by example, as well as design programmes that would cater for the welfare of the citizens, especially the youths.
The royal father said the only way to liberate the country from its present socio-economic, political and security challenges was for government to urgently intervene in the growing rate of unemployment in the country by providing jobs for the jobless.
He said, “Apparently, the central point of this symposium on ‘Unleashing the Genius and Empowering the Youth for Innovation and Enterprise’, is a fundamental problem of our society that cries for urgent solution not only from the people in government but among the individuals.
“The post-graduate life of our youths have been endangered and mortgaged to mis-governance, while over 80 percent of Nigerian students are seeking for knowledge just to while away time simply because of the alarming unemployment rate.
“But the question remains unchanged as we need to know whether the country is churning out graduates who are really trained to be job-creators or job-seekers, because until this question is appropriately answered, the country would remain economically stagnant.
“To provide a sustainable solution to this challenge, there is a need for us to encourage our locally-made goods and jettison the foreign products because once our products are appreciated, it drives the nation’s economy.”
The Initiator of the Adulawo Nigeria Network Ltd and CEO, Adulawo Institute Division of the American Heritage Defence Corporation, Professor James Ayinde Fabunmi, who bemoaned the alarming rate of unemployment in the country, said the time had come for Nigerian government to deploy necessary mechanism capable of banishing unemployment in the country.
Fabunmi, who implored governments to declare emergency on the upsurge of unemployment said that the leadership of the country must fight unemployment as it fights insurgency, which, according to him, snowballed into security threat around the country.
Fabunmi said the organisation was setup having understood that college graduates in many developing economies lacked the opportunity to transform their intellectual genius into commercial ventures for a variety of reasons.
He said some of the reasons could be the absence of infrastructure and instruction that support problem solving and commercialisation of innovation.
He said that the symposium was organised to unleash the genius of and empowering the youth for innovation and enterprise towards the actualisation of better transformation of college graduates from job-seekers into successful job-creators.