The Government of Osun under Governor Rauf Aregbesola has laid a foundation for youth in the state to face the challenges of the new world.
This was the summary of the speech by the spokesperson to the governor, Semiu Okanlawon, while delivering a keynote address at the 1st conference organised by the Iwoland Youth Conference, at See Bee Hotel and Event Centre, Iwo at the weekend.
He said Mr. Aregbesola, having realised the critical place of youth in any society, could not but address the glaring problem of unemployment and others which face millions of them through carefully formulated policies.
Mr. Okanlawon said the policies and programmes of the state are targeted mostly at the younger generation, saying the feats had earned the state much commendations.
He said most of the government’s interventions were designed to reawaken the dormant energy in the youth by building necessary capacity to harness their potential.
He said with the pioneering efforts of Mr. Aregbesola in Osun on youth advancements, the Aregbesola government has inadvertently motivated youth in Osun and elsewhere to critically examine the youth advancement contents of political parties and candidates seeking elective positions before they support them.
He said youth, for their own good, must realise they have attained a state where they can jointly decide to vote against candidates and parties with no clear-cut policies for the advancement of the youth.
He said it is gratifying to note that the Federal Government is implementing youth programmes that were inspired by initiatives in the state.
Mr. Okanlawon said, “Today, the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari is implementing some specific programs targeted at youth and ensuring that as bad as the global economy gets, strategic initiatives are put in place to cushion what could have been a totally hopeless situation.
“The former government tried with programmes such as SURE-P and YouWIN schemes. We are not happy that youths have complained that those schemes, rather than alleviate the problems of the youths and bring them hope, brought them more pains and disillusionment.
I am certain that this was why it took the Federal Government a much longer time to ensure proper birth and implementation of the on-going N-Power Scheme which is a purely youth advancement program in Nigeria of today.”
Mr. Aregbesola’s aide said his boss realised early enough that acute unemployment was a major cause of the scourge of kidnapping, insurgency and armed robbery rampant in various parts of Nigeria.
“Who are the major foot soldiers of the Boko Haram scourge in the northern part of Nigeria? Youths! Who are the brains behind the series of kidnapping in the South-East? The youths! Who are the bombers and vandals of the nation’s oil rich South-South where the bulk of our national resources come from? The youths! Who are the people behind growing cases of armed robbery in the South-West part of Nigeria? The youths.
“Now, back home in our state and particularly in my home town, Iwo, who are the faces we associate with the growing cases of cult groups that clash incessantly and create fears in our once peaceful, harmonious city? The youths of course!” he noted
He said through programmes such as the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, Osun Rural Agricultural Enterprises Programme, and others, the state has been able to provide opportunities.
“I am glad to say here today that what was condemned as unbefitting jobs by some people who, however, never proffered any alternative, ended up providing the Osun youths the opportunities to exhibit their courage, doggedness and creativity. The over 40,000 beneficiaries of that scheme that we have had never remained the same again as from that point, found some other positive, more rewarding engagements, that have provided them the much-needed chance to find their paths.”
Mr. Okanlawon said, however, that youth must recognise the opportunities that are open to them especially in this information technology driven world adding that their parents never had the opportunities that are open to them in this ICT-driven world of today.