US CITY HONOURS OYINLOLA, OONI
In appreciation of their support for the development of humanity and sustenance of the culture of the black race, the Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade were on Friday presented with one of the highest honors of the City of Philadelphia, United States.
The two dignitaries were presented with certificates of honour in addition to having their citations read at the ceremony attended by the cream of the city while the leadership of the Nigerian Community in North America was also present.
Governor Oyinlola is in the United States to attend a meeting of the American Board of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding as well as attend a major cultural event in the city called the Odunde Festival which celebrates the cultural essence of the black race.
Presenting the award to Governor Oyinlola on behalf of the Council of the City of Philadelphia at the City Hall, Hon Jannie Blackwell described the activities of Oyinlola as Governor in Nigeria as inspiring adding that the totality of what he had been as a leader recommended him for the award.
She described the Ooni of Ife, who was present with his wife, Morisola as a symbol of African royalty stressing that the council was pleased to give his citation as well as celebrate him as a leader and father.
Responding, Governor Oyinlola described the honours as a further demonstration of the filial bond between the City of Philadelphia, the people of Osun State and, indeed, the black race noting that the gesture would spur him and the Ooni to do more for their people's progress.
Also at the event, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Osun State government and the Labourers International Union of North America on a train-the trainers programme which will tackle the problem of unemployment among in Osun. Governor Oyinlola and the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Kazeem Adio signed on behalf of the Osun State while Mr Sam Staten Jr signed on behalf of the union.
Oyinlola had at a meeting with officials of the Union in Philadelphia on Thursday described the initiative as being in line with his government's vision which has seen it reconstructing both the curricula and the physical structures of the nine technical colleges in the state.
He described vocational training as a sure way out of the societal problems of breeding unskilled and unemployable youths adding that acquiring skills would provide the necessary opportunity for the youths to achieve self actualisation.
Mr Staten Jr, who led the American officials said the vocational skills programme would be in the areas of infrastructure construction and agricultural development. Said he: ' The training programme will be vital in helping to advance the growth of the agricultural, cultural and tourism sectors while advancing the construction industry too. Skills training will also help decrease general unemployment. A prepared, employable labour force will by design also contribute to the country's economic growth through increased earnings and spending' .