OYES initiatives pumped N200m into Osun’s economy monthly – Aregbesola


RaufSola_923931784Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, was at the formal launching of the Federal Government’s Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) in Abuja recently. In this interview with journalists shortly after the event, he said the implementation of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) has improved the economy of  the state as over N200 million goes into the economy monthly through its implementation, adding that the scheme has made Osun the safest state in the country. Snr. Correspondent, EFE EBELO,  was there. Excerpts:

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May we have an insight into how the OYES came into being?

I came about the idea of engaging the youth when I realised that our youths, especially the educated ones, were idle.
I raised the issue during the Workers Day of 2006 as part of my campaign and everyone thought it was a campaign taunt.
We found out that less than 20per cent of our youth are unemployed and if such a huge number of our active population are unemployed then there is danger.
We realised that conventional employment would hardly make any impact so the only way one could bring in a fairly large number of those who do not have anything to do would be engagement in community, social and public services.

Having settled with that, as soon as we assumed office in May 29, 2010 we put up an advertisement in major newspapers calling for volunteers to participate in the scheme.

We categorised them into Green Gang (for environmental beautification and greenery), Sanitation Czars (for sanitation), Public Works Brigade  (maintenance of roads, public buildings and infrastructure), Paramedics (emergency services and primary health support), Traffic Marshall (maintenance and sanity on the roads), Sheriff Corps (maintenance of communal peace and order) and Teacher Corps (volunteer teaching in public schools).

In fact, to our amazement, the first advertisement attracted 250,000 applicants and we picked 20,000 without any primordial consideration. We gave the beneficiaries discipline and leadership training.

Why does your administration considers the OYES a viable alternative to the conventional recruitment?

Look, how many offices do we have as a government to employ 20,000 people? The total number of staffers in the employment of Osun State is less than 20,000. So, where are the offices to give these youths white collar jobs. We moved on to engage them in what would benefit their communities. It was not stressful.

A cadet does not have to work for more than two or three hours a day, and they don’t work throughout the day. They have time to do other things for themselves. Happily, so many of them took advantage of it to get themselves into other things.

Some went into trading, some went into cooperative arrangements. Many of them are successful as we made it clear from the beginning that the scheme was not going to be a permanent engagement.

If you serve for two years, we expect you, with the training you have received on leadership and training and the time you have to do things for yourself, to put your heart together and get something doing. We normally
give the beneficiaries of the scheme the first option. In any employment opportunities in the state, we give them 60 per cent consideration.

 To what extent has the OYES helped to tackle insecurity in Osun State?

Osun is the safest state in Nigeria. These are not esoteric things! When you engage the segment of the society with the highest potential for mischief, what you have done is simply eliminating threats to lives and property.

If you don’t have productive areas to engage the youth, they would engage themselves in all sorts of societal menace. Insecurity is at the barest minimum in Osun State.  Any youth engagement programme is the panacea for this insecurity and threats all over the place.

I am miffed, disturbed and worried by the spate and scale of insecurity in Nigeria and it is also clear to me that there can’t be a solution outside providing something for these army of unemployed youth.
Is this scheme sustainable?
Don’t forget that the N200 million we are paying the 20,000 beneficiaries of OYES monthly is entering the economy of the state.

It goes into the economy of the state to the extent that whatever you pay them as allowance will end up in large parts of the economy because a person earning N10,000 monthly would hardly go for exotic materials.

He would only use the money for basic necessities like food and clothing. So, if the economy of the state is the basis of revenue to the government, for as long as there is a government and this injection into the economy, the government would get something. The scheme is sustainable and self-supporting as long as human conscious administrators are still in the state.

The launching of YESSO programme is a forward leap for us as a nation in our concerted drive to surmount the scourge of youth unemployment in the country.

It is most comforting for me to note that our tiny State of Osun has been able to contribute something meaningful to our national development effort. The idea of youth employment that has now snowballed into a national programme was conceived as a pragmatic approach to tackling the chronic and dangerous problem of unemployment among our youths in the state.

Happily, OYES became a very effective mechanism of massive public sector employment that offered some income, but great hope for the youths that are absorbed into the scheme.

Through the scheme alone, N200 million is injected into the economy of Osun every month as allowances for the cadets which naturally is accompanied by its multiplier effects.

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. It consequently recommended it to the Federal Government and other states in the country.

How much of input did the World Bank get from Osun to have come up with the YESSO?

All I know is that the YESSO is an adaptation of our own OYES. By the time we assumed office and were preparing to put the OYES together, we visited and told the World Bank what we were doing. It interested them and they sent people to come and understudy us.

So, our OYES provided the background and basis for the YESSO.

Does the state give the OYES participants any take-off grant to do some other things on their own after their engagement?

This question is like asking whether anybody gives you a take-off grant if you leave your own job. Ours is an intervention scheme. All governments should be doing what we are doing rather than raise issues that will not help the discourse.

How many governments are doing what we are doing? Let us be creative in the way we engage government.

How many governments can willingly pay N200 million every month which amounts to N2.4 billion every year? Are we manufacturing money in Osun? 

Don’t forget that nobody forced us to do this. We on our own realised the significance of engaging the most productive segment of the society.



[Daily Independent]

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Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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