President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday commended the Osun state Governor Rauf Aregbesola for promoting policies and programmes designed to eradicate unemployment, poverty and hunger in the state.
He said Osun has been a model of social intervention programme in the country as some of its policies were adopted by the federal government.
Buhari, who made the statement in Osogbo, the Osun capital during an interactive session with some of the beneficiaries of the N-Power programme, said the state had proven its weights in building capacity for youths to thrive.
This was just as Osun disclosed that out of 200,000 unemployed youth that had been successfully engaged in the first batch of the N-Power nationwide, Osun came third after Lagos and Oyo states in terms of the population of the beneficiary.
The State’s Vocal Person on N-Power, Hon Idiat Babalola, explained that 10,004 unemployed youths had successfully engaged in the state out of 400,000 beneficiaries of the N-Power programme nationwide.
The visit was part of the 3-day monitoring and evaluation tour to the state by the National N-Power team of the office of the Vice President.
The President who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Job Creation and Youth Empowerment, Mr. Afolabi Imoukhuede, said the flag-off of the monitoring and evaluation tour to Osun was in recognition of the state as pioneer of the idea behind the establishment of the N-Power programme.
Buhari further explained that the flag-off of the tour in Osun was also in recognition of the successes recorded by the state through her Osun Youth Employment Scheme popularly called (OYES).
Addressing the volunteers at the Executive Council lounge of the Governor’s office, in Osogbo, Buhari acknowledged the leadership style of Aregbesola for the machinery already set in motion to enhance the smooth running and success of the N-Power programme.
In attendance were the representatives of the partnering agencies of the scheme like National Orientation Agency (NOA), Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), State Ministries of Education and Health, Nation Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as well as State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB).
According to the President, out 24,000 applicants that applied for the empowerment programme in Osun, over 10,000 unemployed youths ((both on graduate and non-graduate components) had been successfully engaged across the state on different specified areas like teaching, agro-economic and health.
He disclosed that the scheme was designed as part of effort to fulfill all his electioneering promises made to Nigerians.
“We came up with this programme having understood the socio-economic challenges of our people and to the glory of God, our administration had impacted greatly in the lives of Nigerians through this initiative.
“We are fully aware that unemployment has reared its ugly head in the national life of millions of Nigerians, that is why we designed this programme so as to tackle the menace and as well tailor our youths
“Though this programme among others were adopted from the already sustained policies of Osun government and today, it has not only been nationalised but also maintained as thousands of Nigerians can boast of being beneficiaries of N-Power Programme initiated by our administration.
“As part of our administration’s change mantra, it has been confirmed and repeatedly reported that this empowerment programme is not only impactful but apolitical by all standard and measures.
“Hence, there is no doubt that this step has become a genuine reflection of the change that our administration promised Nigerians as this empowerment scheme is designed to give a chance to live by providing the basic means of earning a living by the teeming Nigerians.
“So, as our government is keen on the need to eradicate unemployment from the system, we are assuring that the current administration would not relent to ensure that every Nigerian is empowered to feed his or her self through our numerous social intervention programmes.
“We believe strongly that this is a life line programme that has the capacity to enhance our economic value-chain just as the funds put into it would not only stimulate the economy but also have a multiplier effect on the nation’s economic fortunes”, he added.
Speaking on the success recorded so far, Buhari described the scheme as a helping-hand initiative designed to liberate the nation from abject poverty and hunger.
He said the intervention had made unprecedented success since its inauguration in eliminating poverty, unemployment and idleness most especially among the unemployed youths.
Buhari said the programme has also helped in promoting the spirit of self-dependence and self-reliance among Nigerian youth through which the beneficiaries would be exposed to technical skills, innovative skills and employable qualities needed in the labour market.
According to him, “This administration would not relent in pursuing ideal society being aspired by all as we are ready to continue in our efforts to provide enabling environment to enhance general well being of the citizenry.
While assuring the volunteers of utmost competency and efficient management of the scheme, the President reiterated that all the technical challenges confronting some of the beneficiaries would soon be resolved.
In her welcome address, the Osun State Vocal Person of the N-Power, Hon. Idiat Babalola commended President Buhari for rescuing the nation from the scourge of unemployment.
Babalola, who described the initiative as a prototype of the youth empowerment programme already initiated by the Governor Rauf Aregbesola-led administration in Osun, said the adoption of the scheme by the federal government would go a long way to stimulate the nation’s economy and as well eradicate the challenges of unemployment in the country.
She said the N-Power was part of the President’s innovative ideology to set the country off poverty and encourage self-sustainability among Nigerian youths.
Babalola added that the scheme was initiated by the federal government as part of its social investment programmes to curtail youth restiveness having understood that “an idle hand is a devil’s workshop”.
She disclosed that out of 200, 000 unemployed youth that had been successfully engaged inthe first batch of the N-Power nationwide, Osun came third after Lagos and Oyo states in terms of the population of the beneficiary.
Babalola explained that 10,004 unemployed youths had successfully engaged in the state out of 400,000 beneficiaries of the N-Power programme nationwide.
“I am happy that President Muhammadu Buhari has not in anyway reneged on any of his promises made to Nigerians as the N-Power Programme was initiated in fulfilment of his promise on social intervention services to the people.
“I am also elated that my state (Osun) is the pioneer state of this initiative as we all know that Osun state government led by Governor Aregbesola had recorded huge success in establishing the nationally and internationally recognised Osun Youth Employment Scheme (Oyes) which had not only impactful but sustained.
“So as the state vocal person, I will continue to do the needful to ensure that the programme is well coordinated and properly monitored in line with the vision of the federal government”, she added.
Babalola who encouraged the volunteers to see the scheme as an opportunity for them to contribute their own quota to national development, charged the beneficiaries to use the various opportunities of the scheme to acquire relevant entrepreneurship skills.
“You must all see this as a clarion call to service the nation and humanity. You must use this opportunity wisely by ensuring that it does not only relief you from financial burden but also add value to your future lives”, Babalola added.
She therefore promised to always open her office for whoever has challenges among the beneficiaries.
Speaking on their experiences about the empowerment programmes since its inauguration, some of the volunteers commended President Buhari for the initiative which they described as “impactful and rewarding”.
They also lauded the Presidency for adopting a policy devoid of impartiality and political motivation in all the recruitment process and exercise of the programme.