Laying foundation for Ondo youths development
By Fisayo Falodi
The axiom that the future belongs to the youth has gained a significant traction in Ondo State. Ondo State Governor, Mr.Oluwarotimi Akeredolu,SAN, upon his assumption of office, had designed various positive youth development programmes with the sole aim of preparing the young generation for physical, social and emotional challenges in the state. The youth development initiatives were contained in the governor’s blueprint which he termed JMPPR. The blueprint was carefully and strategically drawn up to develop all the sectors of the Sunshine State. For instance, “J’ stands for job creation through agriculture, entrepreneurship and industrialisation. “M” stands for massive infrastructural development and maintenance. The first “P” is for promotion of functional education and technological growth, while the second “P” stands provision of accessible and qualitative health care and social service delivery. “R” represents rural development and community extension services.
Governor Akeredolu, who was worried about the rise in the number of jobless able bodied youths aimlessly roaming the streets of the state as of the time he assumed office, accorded priority to the implementation of the five-point initiatives. At least three of the agendas were targeted at motivating the young generation through activities and experiences that were meant to help them develop social, ethical, emotional, physical and cognitive competencies for the realisation of their full potential.
it is therefore necessary to state that not a few youths have embraced and benefitted from the aggressive implementation of the various youth development initiatives. For instance, the current state government launched the “Youth on the Ridges Programme” with the target of empowering about 18,000 young men and women to become successful entrepreneurs.
Besides the training, the Governor Akeredolu boosted the capacity of the beneficiaries with the establishment/renovation of five agro business cities located at Ore in Odigbo Local Government Area; Epe in Ondo West Local Government Area; Isuada in Owo Local Government Area; Ido-Ani in Ose Local Government Area; and Auga agro business city leased to Peace Aids Project (PAP) for cattle fattening purpose.
At Isuada, the beneficiaries have produced over 5,000 layers that are currently laying eggs and about 10,000 broilers that are ready for the market. The eggs and chicken consumed by the government’s School Feeding Programme are supplied from the agro city.
The pens in Epe and Ore have also been renovated and ready for the use of interested youths. No fewer than 120 fish ponds are currently undergoing renovations for aquaculture purpose. The governor’s intention is to surrender the fish ponds to interested youths after the completion of the renovation.
A new innovation called smart farming with the use of drones have equally been introduced to the youth many of who have demonstrated their willingness to embrace the new technology.
The commitment of Governor Akeredolu to youth empowerment through sport has yielded remarkable results in many areas. The just concluded 5th National Youth Games is an eloquent testimony that the governor is not taking youth development with kid gloves. The Games was a huge success for Ondo State as our youth won 27 medal. Also, our own Odunayo Adekoroye won Gold at All Africa Games and Bronze at World Games tournament, qualifying her for next Olympic Games.
The Ondo State athletes at the 5th National Youth Games won eight Gold, nine Silver and 10 Bronze medals, thus placing the Sunshine State on the 7th position at the end of the National Youth Games.
Consequent on his fervent belief in Information Communications Technology as the language of modern age that government at all levels must tap into to empower the youth and be part of the global phenomenon, Governor Akeredolu did not waste time to adopt the opportunities provided by ICT to tackle the problem of unemployment among the teaming population of youths in the state. To achieve this, the state government partnered with America Tower Corporation for the purpose of training participants at the digital villages set up in Iju (Akure North Local Government Area), Uso (Owo Local Government Area), Akungba (Akoko South-West Local Government Area), Ondo (Ondo West Local Government Area) and Igbokoda (Ilaje Local Government Area).
To the appreciation of stakeholders, training have begun in four of the five digital villages, while training will soon start at Igbokoda location. Currently, no fewer than 330 youths have so far been trained in Digital Literacy, Digital Entrepreneurship and Digital Marketing.
The partnership between the state government and Premier Hub is said to be a strategic approach to shift the youths’ attention to the fantastic opportunities available in building, automobile and electronics industries. As we speak, the partnership has produced about 30 entrepreneurs who are steadily climbing the ladder of success in their respective chosen fields. This is apart from the 32 budding entrepreneurs the partnership has produced in the area of fashion.
Again, the tripartite collaboration between the Ondo State Government, the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) and Tech-up, a Non-Government Organisation(NGO), is to create an avenue for the promotion of technological innovation and for the exchange of ideas for business start-up and youths development.
The tripartite agreement has led to the governor’s commissioning the Akure Tech-hub domiciled at FUTA. The unique collaboration is perceived to be a milestone by the governor’s effort aimed at improving the lives of the citizens of the state and all aspects of government through innovation and information, has made Ondo State a technology and innovation destination of choice as youths have thronged the centre for training to enable them to create innovative ideas and products that have now been contributing to the technological development of the country.
The one-week training facilitated by General Electric and the government of the Sunshine State have resulted in the empowerment of no fewer than 25 local entrepreneurs drawn from across with valuable skills in advanced manufacturing. The programme, facilitated by GE Garage engineers and instructors, took place at the Ondo State Information Technology Agency, Governor’s Office, Alagbaka, Akure. The training exposed the beneficiaries to GE’s cutting-edge technology to grow their businesses to a reasonable scale.
Participants were trained at a temporary scaled version of GE Garage comprising select equipment like 3D printers, CNC mills, laser cutters among others.
The course curriculum consisted of technical courses such as 3-D printing, CAD designing, rapid prototype development, basic subtractive manufacturing using CNC mills as well as business development courses such as the essentials of Product Branding and Marketing.
The Director, Communications & Public Affairs, GE Africa, Patricia Obozuwa, said the initiative was in continuation of GE’s commitment to empowering young Nigerians through technology.
The Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth and Students’ Affairs, Mr. Banji Adewumi, saluted the governor for incorporating youth development initiatives in his developmental agenda. In his reflection on the various initiatives, Adewumi said the “governor’s doggedness and relentless efforts have created profitable employment opportunities for the participants in the agricultural and the ICT sectors”
He said: “We aren’t unaware of the tremendous effort he is putting into the betterment of the ondo state economy through the provision of infrastructure and modern amenities which is not only improving our economy but also making our dear state attractive to investors and tourists alike.
“We hereby enjoin the youths of the state not to only tap into opportunities but to also leverage on other platform and profitable grounds availed to them by the Akeredolu-led administration. “Youths are encouraged to shun drugs, crime and other social vices that can bring their name and reputation of our dear state to disrepute.”