The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has launched the State Youth Empowerment Scheme, OF-YES with a call on youth to key into the scheme to develop themselves for a secure future.
Abiodun, who spoke while launching the scheme at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, to mark this year’s National Youth Day with the theme, “Youth, Skills and Insecurity: Connection, Cost and Opportunities,” said the scheme would focus on training participants to become artisans, such as bricklayers, carpenters, welders among others.
Participants, the Governor explained, would be selected from those already registered on the job portal and those who would be registering, then matched with offtaker organisations in both the public sector and private sector with beneficiaries receiving allowances during the skill acquisition programme.
He noted that the new empowerment scheme was another window of opportunity for all youth, particularly artisans, to realise their dreams, as there was a link between unemployment, insecurity and lack of education..
“This empowerment programme will accommodate 250 youth from each of our 20 Local Government Areas – this means 5,000 youth across our dear State. And we are particularly delighted that this initiative will be another boost to employment generation, poverty alleviation and food security in our dear State. Very importantly, it is a veritable approach towards placing our youth at a vantage position as proud inheritors of the future that we are building,” Governor Abiodun explained.
The Governor opined that it was imperative to pay adequate attention to the development of the youth as they form over 60% of the nation’s population, maintaining that it was the function of the society to help in harnessing and focusing the vibrancy and energy of the youth to positive enterprise.
“For us as a government, we have and will continue to tap into this raw energy of our youth through different approaches of our policies and programmes,” he said.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Oludare Kehinde, while reeling out some of the achievements of the administration in youth empowerment, said the programme came at a time when issues concerning youth are currently at the front burner nationally.
Delivering a lecture on the theme of the celebration, social entrepreneur and founder of Rise Network, Mrs. Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, while criticising past and present leaders on neglecting the youth for too long, stressed the need for youth to organise themselves and aspire for leadership positions.
She opined that the #EndSARS protest was a reflection of anger in the land, adding that it was time to fix education and create jobs in order to channel youth exuberance and energies into viable productivities.
Founder and Senior Pastor, Victory Life Bible Church, Apostle Lawrence Achudume, enjoined the youth to embrace entrepreneurship, while the Chief Imam and Lecturer, Department of Arabic and Islamic studies, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Associate Professor Akeem Akanbi, harped on the need for the youth to be disciplined and lead an upright life, urging religious leaders to help in bringing up the youth in a righteous way.
Ogun Youth Ambassador and winner of this year’s Big Brother Naija, Olamilekan Agbeleshe who was also in attendance, called on Nigerians to accept more, vital social impact lessons from the #EndSARS protest, while government at various levels should put in place viable skill acquisition centres to impart on youth to be solution providers.