How We are Creating Jobs for Youths in Kwara – Al-Hassan

In this interview with our Kwara state correspondent, KAYODE ABDULAZEEZ, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Job Creation, Aliyu Al-Hassan, spoke on youths involvement in governance and efforts of the present administration in building prosperous youths through sustainable initiatives. Excerpts:

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How is the present administration involving youths in governance?

This administration is taking very critical steps to ensure that our youths are not only engaged but economically empowered, so one can look at what the administration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is doing for the youths from two angles;
Political: In Nigeria today, the youths constituency has the largest voting power, however when it comes to participation in governance they’ve always been used at the bottom of pyramid of governance, they are not given critical roles to play, this administration came on board and change that story in a very impressive and effective ways by bringing them into government and in fact populating the government with capable hands from among young people, whether you are talking of members of state executive council or special assistants and senior special assistants to the Governor. When you check in Kwara today, very important parastatals and agencies in the state are led by young and vibrant youths. This is remarkable because, if you go across the country you will hardly find a state that is doing it better than Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration in terms of engaging the youths in government, which is something very crucial’ for youth development.
It’s actually a national issue, you can remember ‘Not too young to run campaign’ which was all about engaging youths in government, whether in elective position or appointment, the administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has broken record in massively engaging youths in very critical positions of government.

What are the initiatives of this administration in the area of Youth’s empowerment?

This question bring me to the second angle which is very very important one, economy empowerment of youths, we all know that there is a very high rate of unemployment in the country but, since assumption of office of this administration, very important steps have been taken to stem the monster of the problems of unemployment, of course we all know that government can not employed everybody but, this administration have done a lot in this regard. Let me start from the engagement of about 4,700 young people in the teaching workforce of the state, it was an exercise that done in a very transparent way and all stakeholders praised the manner in which it was done, politics was not brought into it and the entire segments of the state were given equal opportunity to be employed in that sector and of course, most of the persons employed are young people that just finished school and looking for what to do to have a good life. Not only that, this administration has also recruited many young people into the health sector.
The government have been strategically Invest in infrastructure in the state and a large chunk of the projects are targeted at empowering the youths.

Can you list some of the projects of this administration that are capable of helping teeming youths in areas of sustainable income?

Let me give you a good example; the innovation hub which is one of the legacy projects of this administration is a hub for ICT and the whole essence of that project is to build a new generation of IT entrepreneurs in the state, they will go there to learn and also have a conducive environment to practice and work in line with the best practice in the IT Industry. We also have a Visual Art Center which is also at advance stage of completion, also targeted at empowering youths. Kwapreneur program is another initiative that has empowered over 170 youths with funding of ranging between 350,000 – 3000,0000 Naira to expand their businesses and engage other youths.
We are presently training another set of 160 Youths in various vocational trades at IVTEC Ajase Ipo. Recently we introduced Kwara Pitch Competition to encourage innovation, and three winners of that competition will be part of the state delegation to South Africa for the Intra-African Trade Fair 2021.
Apart from the initiatives targeted at promoting enterprise among youths and the infrastructures that will have direct link in developing the youths in the IT industry and Multimedia industry, we also have trainings like, digital Kwara programme that was conducted by KWASSIP, in which over 5,000 youths were trained in various digital skills.
If you also critically look at what we are doing in other sectors, like ongoing projects under SUBEB, construction of schools this projects are not only targeted at building schools alone, they are also targeted at providing opportunity to young people to work, I can tell you that by the time this projects are completed, over 10,000 people in Kwara must have worked and earned decent income. on every site, we have young builders, carpenters, painters, welders, site engineers and many more. This is not limited to SUBEB, the same thing apply to all other projects, over 100 road related projects, contractors were encouraged to recruit local people for the jobs. This is having impact on the employment rate in the state, the unemployment rate in the state have been moving between 14 to 16 percent which is by far far above national average. There are state between 25 to 30 percent. Kwara has been able to maintain this unemployment rate through the afore mentioned strategic projects.

Culled from Nigerian Pilot

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