Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, on Saturday said the state had the lowest index of unemployment in Nigeria because of the youth engagement programmes he had instituted since coming to power in 2010.
Aregbesola made the assertion while speaking with newsmen in Osogbo, after a fitness walk organised for the newly absorbed 20,000 youths into the state’s Youths Empowerment Scheme (O-YES).
“What you are witnessing today, the O-YES scheme, started in 2010/2011; 100 days after our inauguration and we are still running it.
“Because we are not just a conventional administration like the previous governments, we have designed and empowered our young ones to cater to all needs of the people.
“It is clear that no government has the capacity to employ all youths but we have, through the O-YES scheme, created opportunities that will engage and take them out of vices,” he said.
“Two-third of youths in the O-YES are either in one employment or the other or self-employed.
“This explains the results of all surveys, political, social, undertaken nationwide which throws up the fact that Osun has the highest index of happiness.
“We have the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria, as well as the 7th largest economy in the country.”
Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, the flag bearer of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the Osun 2018 governorship election who took part in the walk, said O-YES was a laudable scheme which, he noted, would be kept and improved upon if he was elected governor.
He said: “The scheme has taken cumulatively, 80, 000 youths off the streets and provided them with a platform to do something productive.
“The state is very peaceful because the youth are engaged and because they have something to do, they are not vulnerable.
“The government is encouraging youths through the scheme to embrace hard work, to shun vices and also remove vulnerability.”
The Head of the O-YES programme, Mr Enibukun Oyewole, lauded the government for setting up the scheme which, he said,0 had transformed the lives of lots of youths.
Oyewole said a lot of the O-YES cadets had been sent abroad for training in various skills acquisition, noting that N3.6 billion was expended on the scheme annually.
He said the success of the programme attracted the attention of the World Bank had which studied it.
Oyewole said the World Bank certified O-YES as a viable and sustainable solution to the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria and consequently recommended it to the Federal Government and other states in the country.