By Donald Ugwu
Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara has expressed gladness with the Federal Government for fulfilling its youth job creation promise and pledged to partner to ensure more youths benefited from the scheme.
The governor stated this when the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and Youth Empowerment, Mr Afolabi Imoukhuede, led an N-Power monitoring and evaluation team on a courtesy visit.
Ahmed said that unemployment was one of the most critical problems facing the country and described the job creation scheme by President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo as “promise made and promise kept’’.
“We express our sincere gratitude to Mr President who made this promise and it is coming to pass.
“Unemployment is one of the most critical problems that we are facing today.
“This is promise made and promise fulfilled,’’ he stated.
According to Ahmed, Kwara has a similar programme as the Federal Government’s to alleviate the pains of jobless youths.
He said that the state had created its entrepreneurship school in Ajasin to enable more youths to acquire skills for their livelihood.
He added that his administration further expanded the platform for the state coordinator of N-Power to perform optimally for constant review and evaluation of the gains of the scheme.
Ahmed said that this was a challenging time for the Federal Government when it had to grapple with the intervention programme to move the youth to where they should be.
“The reflation of the economy and diversification programme are very crucial to the Federal Government.
“This is wonderful kudos to the Acting President and we are happy to associate with the Federal Government in this direction,’’ he added.
The governor noted that Kwara had capitalised on the window created by the CBN in Agriculture by isolating farmlands in the 16 local government areas for large scale farming.
“We are beginning to see how the youth are moving from white collar jobs to blue collar jobs to ensure that those not yet captured in any employment got a reprieve.
He gave the assurance that the advocacy being carried out by the ministries would ensure that many youths resident in the rural areas keyed into the N-Power scheme.
Earlier, Imoukhuede announced that in 2016, no fewer than 751,000 unemployed youths had applied to the scheme from where 200,000 graduates were deployed and others in the non-graduate scheme would be selected and deployed soon.
He said that the recruitment process was technology-driven to eliminate favouritism and ensure that only those who needed jobs and were eager to work were selected.
The presidential aide added that Kwara had 5,559 slots from where 5,207 qualified volunteers were deployed to N-Teach, N-Agro and N-Health components.
He noted that the Federal Government had committed N6.9 billion monthly for the stipends and devises costs of the volunteers while Kwara economy had taken in about N150 million through payments to volunteers.
“The goal of N-Power is that it is a lifeline extended to the youth by Buhari and Osinbajo to learn, work and gain entrepreneurship within 24 months.
“So far Kwara has 77,000 applications in the current recruitment scheme,’’ he said.
Imoukhuede informed the governor that many of the applications were received from residents near the state capital.
He, therefore, called on the government to mobilise more people in the rural settings to apply as priority would be given to them for balance.
The News agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the monitoring team visited N-Agro participants in the Shonga integrated rice farm in Edu Local Government Area as well as the Civil Service Hospital in Ilorin.
There, Imoukhuede harped on effective monitoring and supervision of the volunteers by the state partners for good results.(NAN)