Aregbesola, Ooni Advocate Youths Empowerment Program... As US-Based Innovation Expert Sensitizes On How To Expand Opportunities

By Semiu Okanlawon

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has said the only option open for 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 prioritize the welfare of youths which he described as foundation of governance.

He made the pledge while addressing people at a symposium organized by the Adulawo Nigeria Network Limited, at Conference Centre, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Governor Aregbesola who was represented by the Coordinating Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Youth Engagement, Dr. Isaac Oluwabukola Aluko, described youths as central to the administration 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 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.

The Governor 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 wellbeing of our youths which our government considered as pillar of good governance.

"Our administration has generated mass employment in all aspects of our programmes and policies because our focus is to enrich common man and as well create wealth for the state.

"Osun Youths Empowerment Scheme, O'YES, Osun Rural Enterprises and Agricultural Programme-O'REAP, 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 resolve is to transform minds for better productivity and as well strengthen the economic value chain for greater development of our state.

Earlier, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, stressed the need for Nigerian governments to prioritize the welfare of the youths in the implementation of its policies.

Oba Ogunwusi who advocated for prompt promotion of local products, however, called on the government to condemn medical tourism being rampant among the rich in the country 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 desirous right direction, the leaders must live by example and as well design programmes that will cater for the welfare of the citizens especially the youths.

The royal father said the only way to liberate the country from its present socioeconomic, political and security challenges is for government to urgently intervene in the growing rate of unemployment in the country by providing jobs for the jobless.

According to him, "Apparently, the central point of this symposium- 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 wine 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 jobs' creators or jobs seekers, because until this question is appropriately answered, the country would remain economically stagnant.

"To provide a sustainable solution to this challenge, there is 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", he said.

Oba Ogunwusi who described youths as future of the nation, said the country must explore the potentials embedded in youths for a maximized productivity and economic growth and development.

He said government must be mindful of the environment, situation and generations to come while formulating policies and as well implementing its programmes so as to build a society free from criminality, idleness and all forms of social vices.

In his remarks, the Initiator of the Adulawo Nigeria Network Ltd and CEO, Adulawo Institute Division of the American Heritage Defense Corporation, Professor James Ayinde Fabunmi, who bemoaned the alarming rate of unemployment in the country said the time has 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, the leadership of the country must fight unemployment as it fights insurgency which according to him snowballed into security threat around the country.

Speaking on the objectives of the Network, Fabunmi said the organization was setup having understood that college graduates in many developing economies lack the opportunity to transform their intellectual genius into commercial ventures for a variety of reasons.

He said some of the reasons could be absence of infrastructure and instruction that support problem solving and commercialization of innovation.

Professor Fabunmi also disclosed that the symposium was organized to unleash the genius of and empowering the youth for innovation and enterprise towards the actualization of better transformation of college graduates from job-seekers into successful job-creators.

He stated further that the programmes of the organization are aimed at ensuring that a postgraduate program of instruction in the Art and Science of innovation and enterprise is in great demand, and will be sought after by sponsored graduates who look to becoming trained as investors, entrepreneurs, business owners, business operators and highly skilled workforce.

Professor Fabunmi who lamented over the growing rate of the unemployment in the country said, the focus of the organization is to ensure total transformation of new knowledge and ideas into sustainable enterprise in order to boost the economic well being of the society and the standard of living of the people.

He said the identified genius needed to be unleashed in the economic value chain through adequate potentials exploration and exploitation.

According to him, "It is lamentable that in spite the huge God-given resources, wisdom, brains and knowledge endowed with this country, the nation remains far behind in term of innovations, creativity, technology and industrialization.

"Our programmes premise on the need to add value to the unemployed youths whose by circumstances creating nuisance in the society simply because of the discouraging leadership and political system we run in the country.

"We tread this great path purposely to motivating graduates into acquiring genuine entrepreneurial skills in all areas of the economic with the sole aim of ensuring total translation of knowledge, innovative ideas and creativity into wealth creation.

"Our programmes are keenly designed to break the yolk of unemployment, poverty and idleness in the society by rightly exposing and channeling the potentials embedded in our young graduates.

"To us, it is believed that the only way to solve the common problem of unemployment is to create a value that is so compelling and productive by empowering the unemployed brains and genius walking around unappreciated, unmotivated and unfunded.

"Through this platform, opportunities are opened for the youths to transform their conceptualized ideas to productivity which could be of great socioeconomic advantage not only to their immediate environments but to the nation as a whole.

"Findings show that larger percentage of Nigerian youths are either uncultivated or under-utilized in all aspects of the economy in the country, but this platform seeks to provide innovative solutions to the challenging issues in the country through symbiotic relationship and partnership with stakeholders on the need to harness the existing knowledge to bring all round growth, development and physical transformation", he added.