Femi Makinde, Osogbo
The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday, lauded the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme introduced by Governor Rauf Aregbesola, saying the programme, which was designed for the welfare of the youths, gave the Federal Government the inspiration to create the N-Power programme.
Osinbajo said this at the inauguration of the fourth batch of the OYESS programme of Osun State Government where fresh 20,000 youths graduated.
He said Osun State had taken the lead in the emancipation of youths for greater productivity in the country as reflected in the successes the state recorded in all its policies and programmes.
He said, “When OYES began in Osun, we knew that it was going to be a national programme in terms of its uniqueness and design as this noble initiative led to the establishment of N-Power programme by the Federal Government.
“N-Power programme of the Federal Government was designed from the OYES because when we got to power in 2015, we decided to design a programme for the engagement and employment of youths to prepare them for entrepreneurship and service to the community.
“There is no doubting the fact that N-Power is the inspiration of OYES. This is a scheme that had in years past helped to boost the morale of youths, get them engaged and rescued them from restiveness and societal vices.
“This is a programme that is worthy of being copied and extended to the whole country, as our nation stands to benefit greatly from the expansion of this scheme to other states of the federation.
“So, to the OYES beneficiaries, you have a duty not just to yourself but to your state and country because the future belongs to you as we know that we cannot build this country unless we are disciplined and committed.
“I have seen your commitment; I have seen your discipline and I am sure that you will be the leaders of tomorrow. I congratulate you as this will be the beginning of your success in life.”
Earlier, Aregbesola said the recruitment of the fourth batch of OYES cadets was in fulfilment of his electoral promises to the people of the state.
He said the scheme had not only improved the economy of Osun but helped to set a standard for socioeconomic development of the state.
Aregbesola noted that youth engagement had been a matter of utmost concern for his administration since inception, saying his government had provided empowerment for thousands of youths in skill acquisition and establishment of small businesses.
He said the last batch of OYES cadets was recruited in line with the promise his administration made at the beginning of the year that it would take another batch of 20,000 cadets, adding that he was happy to have delivered on the promise made, despite the financial challenges the state encountered.
Aregbesola said, “When we inaugurated the first batch in 2011, it was in fulfilment of our campaign promise to do so in the first 100 days of our administration.
“We are gratified that OYES has impacted positively on Osun as captured by the National Bureau of Statistics in its 2011/2012 report, which shows a drastic reduction in the unemployment rate in the state.
“In that report, the five-year unemployment average for Osun was 12.4 per cent but with the introduction of OYES, it came down drastically to three per cent and the least in the country.
“By the same token, the N200m monthly allowance given to the cadets spread within the economy and increase Osun’s GDP to the seventh largest in the country, according to the same NBS.”
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