Posted on :
1 Feb, 2013
1 Feb, 2013
Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola recently thanked God for the success of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES).
He spoke at the passing-out of the first batch of the scheme.
Twenty thousand cadets passed out after two years of service. The colourful ceremony was held at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camp in Ede. Aregbesola said: “It is most pleasing for me to be here today. We are gathered here today to witness another culmination of our progressive effort and development policies.
“When I assumed office, I realised that the greatest challenge was unemployment and we swung into action. In less than 100 days in office, we established OYES and engaged 20,000 youths.
“Two years on, we thank God for the success of the programme. The World Bank recommended the scheme for study and adoption by other states. OYES is a programme like no other. Rather than being a white-collar or blue-collar job scheme, it was uniquely designed to, among other things, take the youths off the streets; orientate them on public service and make them see the need to contribute to the development of their society.
“It is a stop-gap scheme to train youths and imbue them with positive work orientation and ethics, such as self-sustenance, resourcefulness, character and competence, and to give them the self-confidence to forge ahead and overcome life’s numerous challenges after they must have spent two years and are disengaged.
“OYES is not about youth employment alone. It is also about re-inflating the state’s economy. The N200 million allowance paid to the cadets monthly sinks into the state’s economy. Our integration policy states that all uniforms, kits and equipment used by OYES should be obtained from markets spread round all local governments in the state. This has created a value chain, improved the economy, empowered families and created wealth.
“Two years after, we can proudly say that our dream has been realised. After their orientation, the cadets were deployed in various areas of public need, such as public works, sanitation monitoring, paramedics, sheriff corps and traffic marshalls.
“Along the line, they were also trained in entrepreneurship and various vocations, so as to be the masters of their destinies. Additional skill training was incorporated, which involve partnerships and collaborations with the private sector and academic institutions, such as the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Osun State University, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Fountain University, Adeleke University and other private training organisations.
“The cadets were encouraged to form co-operative societies, through which soft loans were guaranteed by the government to facilitate the success of the volunteers in their chosen vocation or area of entrepreneurship.
“I am happy to announce that this administration’s effort is already yielding positive fruit. About 18,000 of the cadets who passed out have found permanent jobs.
“At the newly established Oloba Farm, OYES volunteers are engaged in cattle and ram fattening and in the broiler out-grower scheme. Besides, 74 cadets are undergoing training in modern agricultural practices in Leventis Foundation School and 610 others are being tutored in the Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (OREAP), where they are already cultivating farms under a profit-sharing arrangement.
“Another 500 in the O’dua Farmers Academy are also being trained in modern farming techniques. Under a public-private partnership arrangement, 100 OYES volunteers are engaged in fish farming in Okuku and other farms. Some are engaged in honey-bee production.
“In the OYESTECH, another initiative of our administration, 2,100 OYES cadets were trained in mobile phone and computer assembly by an electronics company planning to set up a factory here. The cadets will provide after-sales support and services for these products.
“There are other areas of successes. For instance, 600 volunteers are currently engaged in the production of red bricks. One hundred and seventy-three of the paramedics trained under the OYES programme have been deployed in the O-Ambulance scheme and two others are call-tracking personnel in the Ministry of Health.
“The State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has engaged 1,501 cadets with teaching qualifications, who will be posted to primary schools in a short time. Over 600 cadets are to be trained and engaged as call operators by the State Emergency Call Service.
“More than 300 are being supported to set up Farmers’ Input Supply Shops, which is also a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. Over 5,000 are also being prepared to provide mobile money, e-payment and allied services through various schemes.”
Recalling how the scheme was critiised by the opposition at its inception, the governor said: “When we set out, we only had hope and a grim determination to change our society for good. We were buffeted on every side by detractors who derided the scheme and predicted its failure within the shortest possible time. I am happy that they have been disappointed. “When their prediction of failure failed, they started to fabricate lies against the scheme. They alleged we were training the cadets as political thugs to be used to rig elections. They derided the cadets in the most uncomplimentary terms, including calling them ‘agbale oja’. I am most pleased that the cadets have imbibed, like true Omoluabi, the virtues of hardwork, dignity in labour and the leadership spirit that comes with public service.
“I have it on record that no cadet has been indicted for criminal behaviour or wrongdoing. Like I charged you at your inauguration, you have shamed the critics. I assure you that we will never leave you or forsake you. You are the foundation of the development and revolution that have begun in our state. You have done marvellously well and I am so proud of you.
“Today’s passing-out parade is a defining moment in our inexorable trot towards development. As our first batch of OYES volunteer cadets file out, we are certain that they are marching onto greatness, self-fulfilment and self-actualisation.
“They are another testimony to the fact that the march of progress we embarked upon at the inception of our administration is unstoppable because it is undergirded by vision, passion and action.”