By Tunde Oyekola, Osogbo
…As Aregbesola says initiative in tandem with Osun policy on empowerment
The Director General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sir Joseph Ari has described Osun as a trail blazer state in the empowerment of youths in Nigeria.
This was just as the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola stated that the ITF’s initiative is in tandem with the philosophies and policy thrust of his administration’s welfarist interventions in the state.
Ari said the present administration in the state led by Governor Rauf Aregbesola has raised the bar of governance through numerous social intervention programmes that had impacted positively on the lives of the citizenry.
The ITF DG made the statement on Wednesday while delivering his speech during the closing ceremony of the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in conjunction with Industrial Training Fund (ITF) at Auroral Conference Centre, Osogbo.
The ITF boss said the state has also demonstrated high sense of commitment towards improving the general well-being of the citizenry as being reflected in the successes recorded by the state on her empowerment programmes.
He disclosed that Osun was chosen after the Federal Capital Territory due to the immense contributions of the Aregbesola’s administration to youth and women empowerment since its inception.
Ari lauded Aregbesola for providing an enabling environment for the youths to thrive in the state, saying the state has been identified as doing much in social intervention programmes.
According to him, “the selection of Osun as the second state after the FCT where this programme is held was not only deliberate but also intentional due to the high sense of commitment attached to the youth empowerment by the Governor.
“It is not in doubt that Osun has proven its commitment as a state where empowerment is prioritized particularly the youth empowerment, making the state to be seeing as a leading light in youth empowerment in Nigeria.
“We are all aware of myriads of developmental achievements which the state has made in reducing poverty, tackling the scourge of unemployment and making the youth of the state to be self-sustaining and self-independent.
“These among others are the reasons the state is seen at the centre of empowerment in the country as our visit to the state has further exposed us to many of the successes the state had made to empower her youths and women”, he added.
Aregbesola lauded ITF for being determined in its focus towards reducing the scourge of unemployment in the country with the provision of numerous vocational and technical trainings being organized across Nigeria.
He described the empowerment programme organized in the state as a build-up to the course championed by his administration, saying the occasion will open another window of youth development, actualized through skills acquisition initiatives.
Governor held that youth development and engagement has also been given attention by his administration, narating that his government had successfully empowered 40,000 youths through Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES).
According to him, “The OYES cadets were not just left hanging, they were given soft landing in agriculture, (O’REAP, O’MEALS, O’BEEF, O’HUB, O’HONEY, O’BOP), O’CLEAN, teaching service, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and sundry other vocations that have become permanent jobs for them.The policy had ramified micro-economic impact on Osun.
“The N200 million monthly allowances we were giving them percolated the grassroots in buying food, paying rent, transportation and buying household goods, thus,three things then followed. One, Osun recorded the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria. Secondly, the crime rate in the state also fell to national lowest. Lastly, the GDP of Osun rose to become the seventh highest nationally.
“We set up OYES-TECH for the training of youths in the assembly and repairs of electronics, ICT, mobile phones and computers as we have also trained many in agriculture through O’REAP and have sent two batches of agripreneurs to Germany for advanced training in animal husbandry and farming methods.
“So, the ITF’s initiative will keep the youths productively engaged and redirect their often negatively dissipated energies to causes that are most beneficial to them, their families and society. It will also help them to discover, tap appropriately and utilize their talents so they can maximize and utilize their God-given talents and latent potentials to the fullest.
”The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has towered prominently for decades in the area of skills impartation, capacity building and Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES).
Earlier in her remarks, the Osun Commissioner for empowerment and Youth Engagement, Mrs Mofolake Adetoun Adegboyega, said the state has been able to equip youths of the state through the numerous social intervention programmes designed by the state to eliminate poverty, unemployment and other societal vices.
Adegboyega noted that the state under the administration of Governor Aregbesola has not only nipped in the bud, the scourge of unemployment but also fought to the kneel the poverty and unemployent, noting that the state’s policies and programmes had centred mostly on the people as the state has consciously improved on the well-being of the people through her people’soriented initiatives.
Adegboyega added, “our state has provided a workable and enabling environment for all to succeed particularly the youths as this could be seen in all our interventions.
“Our widely acknowledged and adopted Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) where over 40,000 youths in the stated had benefited has not only raised the bar of governance but gave our people sense of belonging to government and governance”.