Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, on Saturday said his state has the lowest index of unemployment in Nigeria because of the youth engagement programmes he has instituted since coming to power in 2010.
Aregbesola made this known while speaking with newsmen in Osogbo, after the fitness walk organised for the newly absorbed 20,000 youths into the state Youths Empowerment Scheme (O-YES).
“What you are witnessing today, the O-YES scheme, started in 2010/11, 100 days after our inaguration 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 have the capacity to employ all youths but we have, through the O-YES scheme, created opportunities that will engage and take the youths out of vices.
“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, 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 joined the governor for the fitness walk, said the O-YES was a laudable scheme which he intends to keep and improve on if 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 youths are engaged and because they have something to do, they are not vulnerable.
“The government is encouraging the youths through the scheme to embrace hardwork, to shun vices and also remove vulnerability.
The head of the O-YES programme, Mr Enibukun Oyewole, lauded the state government for setting up the scheme, which has transformed the lives of lots of youths in the state.
Oyewole said a lot of the O-YES cadets had been sent abroad for training in various skill acquisitions, stating that a sum of N3.6 billion is expended on the scheme annually.
He said the success of the programme attracted the attention of the World Bank, which studied it and certified it to be 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