AYEMI'S YOUTH EMPLOYMENT SCHEME: RUSE OR REALITY?

By NBF News
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Barely two weeks before the last general elections, the government of Dr Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State created a topic for debate at news stands and political forum when he announced its intention to employ thousands of Ekiti youths roaming about the streets of all the 16 local government areas with their certificates.

You can trust Ekiti elite for their ingenuity! Not only the opposition but also public affairs analysts especially on an internet forum called Ekitipanupo described the gesture as being politically motivated. Added to this was the fact that all those who went for the induction at the Christ School venue were given N2000.00[two thousand Naira each] each by their respective local government as transport fares. How will someone go for a job interview and be given transport fare? So asked pessimists!

Fayemi was believed to have done it purposely to bamboozle the electorates since election was very close.  Some even opined that it was the usual food for the boys aimed at taking care of political followers as manifested during the past micro-credit programme where some political bigwigs mentored their political followers to milk the State dry in the name of giving loans to the poor people wallowing in abject penury.

The lid over the micro-credit hullabaloo was blown open when the amounts taken by these mentors and their names were published in the national dailies and the poor people given peanut cried foul play. Many people slammed Fayemi for calling dog a bad name over Oni's poverty aggravation (oh, sorry! I meant to say alleviation) programme.  However, months after this publication of mentors' names, we are yet to read a counter rebuttal in the papers or hear of any litigation over the so-called defamation.

On Fayemi's job creation, some even described him as a copycat because it was his counterpart in Osun, Governor Rauf Aregbesola who first graduated 20,000 in his Osun Youth Employment Scheme (OYES). Though the governor (Fayemi) ignored these comments, his Chief of Staff, Yemi Adaramodu and erstwhile information commissioner, Fola Richie-Adewusi made frantic efforts to explain their principal's sincerity.

Now that the governor made good
his promise to base programme on merit, the onus lies on us to critically examine whether or not he has kept faith with his words.

As an indigene of Ekit, first thing I did when I heard these people passed out was to lay my hand on the data used.  I observed that 2,500 people passed out at the Ise-Ekiti training camp of the exercise.  It was interesting to hear that some people were actually sent home from the camp for various acts of indiscipline such as having sex on the field and stealing.

Sincerely speaking, it would have been extremely difficult to instill discipline in these trainees if the selection had been based on political affiliation with a particular political party.  In the first instance, the Director-General, Mr Foluso Aluko would have found it practically impossible to expel anybody from the camp if he had been a politician because he would be digging his political grave in the state.

Another beneficiary, an HND holder only came home to meet her parents when she was pregnant and he obtained the form for herself and her jobless husband.  All her brothers who were ACN ward officers were not selected but she was lucky with her husband, a degree holder! Others whose names I won't like to mention here were mere voters.  One of them was not even based in Okemesi Ekiti but heard of it in Lagos and came to obtain the form and he was lucky.

With this case-study which I have just clinically x-rayed, I want to believe that Fayemi has successfully silenced cynics that the youth employment scheme is for real. If there is any other programme that deserves media onslaught certainly not this scheme which needs every support to succeed as it is for the good of the people.

•Tai Oguntayo is
NUJ Chairman, Ekiti State