By Evelyn Omotoye
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has charged youths to explore windows of opportunities and key into the development agenda of the state government.
The governor stated this yesterday while addressing youth gathering during the 2018 International Youth Day celebration with the theme ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’ held in Akure.
Akeredolu reiterated his administration’s commitment towards youth development , saying youths are pivotal to the nation’s development.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Youth and Sport Development, Mr. Saka Yusuf Ogunleye stated that the issues of youths empowerment and capacity building have continued to be the focus of the Akeredolu’s administration.
This he said is borne out of the governor’s concern for the issue of youth joblessness and it’s negative consequences on the socio-economic development of the state.
He noted that the present administration in the state has adopted a multi-facet strategic approach in addressing youth related challenges to ensure a sustainable youth empowerment process in the state.
Highlighting a number of measures and institutional framework which have been put in place to drive the process to include the creation and strengthening of the state Attic Empowerment Centre in charge of Agro-business Centres at One, Epe, Isuada and Auga, YESSO under Multilateral Department of the governor’s office.
“23 skills acquisition centres with at least one in each LGA, Entrepreneural development programme, Micro-Credit facilities, Guidance and Counseling services for youths, Sporting and recreational activities, value reorientation and leadership training for youths among others”, he stated.
Ogunleye added that the state government also leverages on the intervention fund from the federal government youth empowerment initiatives and explore the intervention of development partners as well as donor agencies such as UNDP, World Bank, UN Habitat and others.
The Commissioner commended the state governor for his numerous efforts in creating spaces for the youth which according to him include moral and financial support for the emergence of two of the illustrious youth as worthy ambassadors of the state on the platform of NANS and NYCN.
He therefore called on the private sector, donor agencies and well meaning individuals with prospective youth empowerment and development to collaborate with the government while also urged the youths to leverage on the windows if opportunity provided by the government for the socio-economic emancipation of the state.
Meanwhile, one of the guest speakers and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public and Intergovernmental Relations, Mrs. Olubunmi Ademosu while enumerated those avenues opened by the present government in the state for the youths to explore and get involved in profitable engagements
Ademosu challenged the youths to engage themselves with like mind that would add values to their lives and tap into the abundant opportunity by taking advantage of their God given talents and skills to become self reliant and employees of labour in the country to become real leaders of the nation without having a ‘godfather for connections’.
Also speaking was the President of Diplomat Leadership Institute, Pastor Stephen Benjoel, who spoke on the theme ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’. He noted that the theme is apt and all encompassing and cannot be undermined.
Noting that Nigeria is blessed with young minds and youthful ideologies, he maintained that governments should create spaces for the youth while asking other private bodies and Non Governmental Organisations should rise up to invest in youth development for them to grow optimally and take the society to an enviable height.
Benjoel however charged the youths not to give up on themselves but must be focussed, rescilent, go for knowledge, be truthful and stay away from drug abuse and other social vices in order to make a meaningful impact in their generation.
Speaking with the newsmen, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Youths and Students’ affairs, Mr Banji Adewunmi charged the youth to key into the developmental agenda of the state government.
Adewunmi advised the youths on personal self development and that of the entire society, assuring that the Akeredolu administration will continue to sensitise and create safe spaces for the youths on how to channel their restiveness and energy into a productive ventures.
In attendance at the event, include the deputy governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi , members of the state government cabinet and other top government fuctionaries, various youth groups, students from RUGIPO and various secondary schools among other stakeholders in the state.