Home Opinion OYO101: Message To The Youth From ‘His Excellency’ | Muftau Gbadegesin

OYO101: Message To The Youth From ‘His Excellency’ | Muftau Gbadegesin

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Dear esteemed and vibrant youths,

I am compelled to address you in this statewide broadcast as your leader and constituted authority. This becomes imperative given the various inaccurate and politically motivated opinions on the efforts of our government in addressing the plights and concerns of the youth in the state. Today, I make bold to say that no government in the history of our state has empowered and invested heavily in human capacity development, especially of our young people than this administration.

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As your leader, I will not sit down, fold my arms, and watch as political jobbers masquerading as public affairs analysts or columnists twist the facts and distort the narrative of our administration’s efforts in tackling youth restlessness and joblessness. As a thoroughbred Ibadan man, I will not take it lightly with anyone from anywhere trying to discredit the efforts of my government in fixing challenges facing the vibrant and brilliant young people in our state.

To that end, I have mandated concerned agencies to provide holistic reports on the ground-breaking efforts of our government in that regard. Notably, the footprints of our administration in youth empowerment and investment are clearly visible in education, economy, politics, leadership, security, health, transport, agriculture, sports, and so on. In this broadcast, I promise to shed light on our achievements in the aforementioned sectors as they relate to the youth.

As a youth myself, I found it utterly distasteful and condescending to erroneously assume that I am not interested in my constituency. I became your leader as a young person and I have ensured my policies and programs are tailored to help improve and advance the collective interests of young people like you. When we came on board in 2019, we inherited a government that was built and sustained by the old order. The system we met was more than gerontocracy: it was an absolute exclusion of the young people in the grand scheme of things.

Contrary to various media reports, virtually all the arms of government in the state were headed by people who were anything but young in age and spirit. From the Governor to the Speaker(s) to the state Chief Judge, and even to the party chairman, the whole system was saturated and populated by people who had little to nothing to offer the young people. We saw this and promised to end the show of shame. But we didn’t promise to lift young people to spite the old ones. Rather, we created a system that tapped into the creativity, and industry of the youth without discarding the wisdom of the old.

One reason we got re-elected was because of that simple idea. In other words, the youth see us as partners in progress while the old embrace us as one of their own. You may also not know, that one of the reasons I fell out with the coalition that brought us to power was because of this thinking: they wanted me to continue where the past government stopped in excluding young people from leadership, power, and influence. I have never said this before but for the record, you are hearing it for the first time.

When we took over the reign of the state, an important step we took in the early days of my government was to address the exclusion of the youth in the legislative arm of government. Of all the past speakers who worked with my predecessor, none can be considered a young person. I said it was time to have the youngest speaker in the history of our state. Fortunately, the universe conspired to bring that intention to fruition. Lo and behold, we had the 32 years old Rt. Hon. Edward Adebo Ogundoyin as the Speaker of the State House of Assembly in my first term and interestingly, in my second term as well.

He emerged against all odds and his victory set in tone my firm belief that young people must not just be the leaders of tomorrow but decision makers of today. While I did not influence who becomes the Speaker of the state assembly, I ensured that we provided a level playing ground for contestants to share their views, express their thoughts, and persuade their colleagues to vote for them. In effect, the victory of Rt. Hon Ogundoyin was not just historic, and symbolic, it was also a testament to the readiness of my government to fight the interest of the youths, trust them with power, and recognize their sterling contribution to the development of our state.

As I noted, the victory of the speaker provided the needed motivation to tweak other areas of governance where young people have been left in a rut. I brought in Seun Fakorede as the youngest commissioner in the history of our state and one of the youngest in Nigeria. He was just 27 when I discovered him on a social media platform. We ensured he had all the necessary support as a commissioner holding the critical areas of sports and youth development. Under his watch, we started and completed the renovation of the iconic Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba to meet FIFA standards. His unwavering commitment and dedication made all the difference in the success of the project. Apart from Seun Fakorede, I also brought in Barr. Nurudeen Seun Ashamu as the pioneer state commissioner for energy. Before his appointment by our administration, Barr. Seun was a UK-based energy expert. Under his watch, we completed the Light-Up Oyo project which has improved the security of the state among other benefits of the project. I believe it is unfair to conclude my government has been handling youth empowerment with levity. I can go on with the names of the young people with impressive backgrounds and outstanding contributions to my government.

In a similar vein, we expanded the state Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project to accommodate more people. We moved the number of beneficiaries to 10,000. Plus, we provided them with soft loans in our SAfER programs. In the area of education, we recruited thousands of teachers and education officers into TESCOM and the Civil Service Commission. Most of the beneficiaries are young people. In the area of security, we recruited young people into the Western Nigerian Security outfit codenamed: Amotekun. Today, our forests are secured from bandits and marauders because of the gallant efforts of the security outfits. In politics and leadership, our government has encouraged the active participation and involvement of young people in the politics and leadership recruitment process. In Omituntun 1.0, we prioritized the growth and development of young people, under my watch in 2.0, we have also hit the ground running with our various youth-oriented policies and programs.

Finally, as a government, we are ready to address constructive criticism and opinions that are grounded in facts and not fantasies, and fallacies. My government is committed to the all-round development of this state and no amount of propaganda will discourage and dampen my utmost resolve of seeing Oyo state taking its rightful place of pace-setting glory in Nigeria.

Yours in the service of the good people of Oyo state,

CAVEAT: Please note that the opinions expressed here are those of the writer and not of the Governor or anyone in the state.

OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion about issues affecting Oyo state and is published every Saturday. He can be reached via @muftaugbade on X, muftaugbadegesin@gmail.com and 09065176850.

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