This Day (Lagos)

6 May 2012

Nigeria: Aregbesola - O'YES, Our Response to Unemployment

Governor Rauf Aregbesola said the scheme was his administration's response to the previous governments' insensitivity to the plight of teeming youths who had remained unemployed.

The programme witnessed the inauguration of six new cadres within the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme. The cadres are the Green Gangs, Sanitation Czars, The Paramedics, the Traffic Marshal Gang, The Sheriff Guard and the Environmental Gang.

The day witnessed a heavy downpour which the governor described as a blessing of God on the programme.

Among those who graced the occassion was the Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who lauded the programme as a commendable initiative to take the country out of its unemployment difficulties.

Aregbesola, in his speech, said any forward looking government anywhere in the world would invest in the youths for a better society, stating that, the youths are the essential agents for nation building.

According to the governor, "Investment in the youth is one of the primary duties of any forward-looking government. Youths represent the reality of today and the promise of tomorrow; they are the great agents of change; the essential blocks for nation building.

No amount or efforts should be spared therefore to give them focus and purpose in life.

"This essential responsibility has been neglected for too long. Hence, O'YES is the response of our administration to the insensitivity of the immediate past government in the state which viewed our youth as nothing more than political thugs and tools for self-aggrandisement."

Aregbesola stressed that the philosophy underlying the O'YES scheme went beyond a mere social security service, saying it is a strategy designed to give hope to the youths; to keep them at work and out of mischief.

The Governor noted that, O'YES is part of the fulfillment of his Six-Point Integral Action Plan which, among others, promises to banish poverty, hunger and unemployment, stressing that,it is a socio-economic strategy that helps to engender social stability and develop the economy of the state.

He said that, "apart from its positive social effect, the economic basis of the scheme is no less salutary. For instance, the monthly allowance of N10, 000 for the 20,000 volunteers translates to N200 million. In consonance with our backward integration economic policy, this money is meant to sink back into the economy of the state. And for a small and developing state like ours, this amount could mean a lot in terms of setting off related economic activities.

"Consider for instance the economic spin-offs to local designers and tailors who were engaged to sew the uniforms for the 20,000 volunteers, not to mention the other kits and equipment which were sourced locally. To us, this is a sensible and beneficial way of spending our meagre common wealth.

It is an investment in a better future for the State of Osun. It is a cardinal principle of our administration to make productive use of the resources of the state." Aregbesola stressed.

The governor noted that the scheme is a stop-gap measure and not meant to be full employment, but designed to meet specific needs of the large army of unemployed youths.

Neither is it a social benefit, which is unproductive. Thus, the desire of government through the scheme, to help youths put their talents to work in jobs of more permanent nature.

He said that the state government has absorbed about 5,000 of the volunteers into the state's teaching service to fill the shortfall in the state's teaching staff, adding that, some are also participating in the OYESTECH scheme where youths are being trained on how to repair mobile phones and electronic gadget.

Aregbesola said, "even though we recognise the genuine need to do more, we remain undaunted by the belly-aching scoffers and sour grapes that see nothing good in the scheme. They have condemned it as offering mere 'menial jobs' to the volunteers. Yet they ignore the fact that many great Nigerians toiled in foreign lands doing the so-called menial jobs to pay their ways through school and to greatness. While we are given them purpose and setting them on the path to greater future, they would rather see our youths divert their energies into vices and anti-social activities."

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