The Kwara State Government has earmarked the sum of 200 million Naira to carry out policy programmes in the areas of youths’ employment and empowerment, including borehole drilling, classroom renovation, as well as rural electrification on monthly basis.
It also stressed that no fewer than 5,400 youths would be engaged in the first phase of the QuickWin intervention aimed at reducing unemployment, adding value to public service, providing social safety nets for youths and other less privileged, among others.
The Secretary to the State Government, Isiaka Gold, stated this in Ilorin while speaking with journalists. He noted that areas to be covered include entrepreneurial scheme, clean and green, bridge empowerment, environmental corps, traffic management and advertisement agency.
Isiaka Gold further added that, a total of 1,872 youths would be engaged in the first phase of the scheme, which would be further divided into graduates (NCE and above) and non-graduates (SSCE and below) who will be given entrepreneurial training for two weeks at the Kwara State University, KWASU, and Kwara State Polytechnic, followed by another two weeks of internship with renowned entrepreneurs.
Each beneficiary would receive 5,000 Naira monthly for a period not exceeding 12 months, depending on the nature and duration of the trainers. Master trainers would also receive the sum of 5,000 Naira monthly per trainee for the duration of the training.
The State Commissioner for Finance, Demola Baanu, assured interested youths who are not engaged in the first phase of the programme that an additional 200 youths would be engaged monthly until the whole 8,200 are fully absorbed. He emphasized that financial provision had been made for the sustenance of the programmes.
It is hoped that the provision of the employment would drastically reduce the unemployment rate in Kwara State to the barest minimum.
The Kwara State Government has approved 60 million Naira as registration fees for 6,167 SCCE students in the forthcoming NECO and NABTEB examinations.
This brings to 120 million Naira the amount spent by the State Government on payment of exam registration fees in 2013/2014.
The Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who conveyed the decision via a memo to the state Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, said that the approval was given to increase access of indigent but deserving students to quality education in line with the administration’s Shared Prosperity Programme.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Muyideen Akorede, Governor Ahmed said, “This intervention is part of our continuing commitment to expanding access to quality education. No one should miss out on quality education because their parents cannot afford fees.
“We will continue to support students that show a commitment to excellence through good grades at all levels of education”.
While urging the beneficiaries to justify the state government’s gesture by excelling in the forthcoming examinations, Governor Ahmed called on youths across the state to apply themselves to their education and vocations as tremendous opportunities for growth await the diligent and creative.
A breakdown of the figures showed that the 6,167 beneficiaries are those who came out tops in the last State Joint Mock Examinations held across the state.
The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, on Monday said that all necessary machinery has been put in place for rapid youth job creation in 2014.
He gave the assurance while inaugurating a committee to work out modalities for a job intervention initiative tagged Quick Win at Government House, Ilorin.
A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media, Muideen Akorede, stressed that the governor said as a youth-focused administration, government is determined to get more young people into employment.
He further noted that the government was also offering training and credit facilities for those seeking to start or grow their own businesses. He assured that various opportunities would be created for direct bridge employment and entrepreneurship and urged youths in the state to key into the programme.
Mr Ahmed encouraged the committee to rapidly work out modalities for creating the first set of jobs within the first quarter of the year while prioritizing equity and merit in the distribution of the jobs across the state.
The committee, which has seven days to submit its report, is headed by Secretary to the State Government, Mr Isiaka Gold.
Other members are the Head of Service, Mr Dabarako Mohammed, Chief of Staff, Mr Toyin Sanusi, Commissioner for Finance, Mr Demola Banu, Mr Ibrahim Adeyemi, Mr Yomi Ogunsola, Dr. Muideen Akorede, and Mr Saka Babatunde,
The inauguration follows the state government’s pledge to priorities youth jobs in the 2014 budget proposal.
The Interim National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Lai Mohammed, has said that the party had foreseen that the coming together of different parties would cause the APC problems.
While speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ , he said that the moment the defunct ACN, ANPP, CPC, section of DPP and APGA, came together they knew it would lead to differences at some point with everyone wanting to protect interests but that they were well prepared for it.
He noted that the defection of the five governors from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, did not make things easier but the party had set up a Harmonization Committee to ensure a seamless blending.
The APC Chieftain refused to be compared to the ruling PDP in terms of party crisis. He argued that theirs was a different situation and indeed “unique in the history of Africa”, as what they achieved in merging such number of strong parties had never been achieved in the history of democracy in the continent.
He expressed optimism that the minor issues would soon be resolved with everyone coming back together. “What is important is that we will be stronger”. He stood by his past comments about the PDP not being able to handle its problems, insisting that the APC was different.
While referring to comments made by the PDP that the APC was made up of “strange bed fellows” with their make-up of different political parties, persons of different political backgrounds and lately the aggrieved PDP governors, Mr Mohammed said that the APC was simply playing by the rules of politics.
“You cannot effect a change from the outside, except u want to rig. In politics numbers are important.”
He dismissed the fear that the new members would pollute the values of the party, maintaining that the APC was a well structured party and the many people joining or defecting to the party would not pollute its values.
He enthused: “We have a manifesto, they can’t change it” but rather they would adjust from the ways of their former parties to do things in line with the APC’s ideology.
What exactly is the philosophy of APC?
As it has been a common criticism that Nigeria’s political parties lacked ideologies, since the defection of the five PDP governors to the APC, Mr Mohammed was asked to clarify the actual ideologies of the All Progressives Congress.
The APC Publicity Secretary said that the ideology of his party had never been hidden from the public as it had always been available on the party’s website for anyone who wished to know to read up.
He however went further to state that the All Progressives Congress was a “Left of the centre party”, a welfarist party that believed that the wellbeing of the people was the basic responsibility of any government.
The APC places the provision of amenities, security, and education as its priorities.
He said that the ideologies of the APC were obvious from the differences it had made in states where the PDP once ruled. Citing examples of the APC states of Osun, Oyo, and Ogun, he stressed that a proper comparison between the APC’s three years of governance to the eight years spent by the PDP governors would enable people understand the ideologies of the party better.
He also added that the APC was already rubbing off on the PDP defectors rather than the party losing its own values.
The Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who was among the five PDP governors that joined the APC, has already declared free education in Kano State, while the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has also set up a committee to develop a plan for the employment of over 5,000 youths in the state.
The APC leader also debunked rumours that the party was confused on who to present as its candidate at the 2015 General Election.
Laughing at what he termed “creative rumour mill that emanates from Nigeria”, he stated that the issue of who flies the party’s candidacy at any level has never risen as the party was busy building its structure.
With member registration slated for the end of January 2014, congress in February, to be followed by the National Convention in March, there was no way they could have had time to discuss candidacy.
He insisted that the Party’s constitution was clear on how candidates at different levels should emerge and there was no pressure on whom to put forward at the coming elections.
Ogun APC Crisis
Mr Lai Mohammed also tried to exonerate the national leadership of the APC on allegations that it caused the crisis rocking the Ogun State APC through its imposition of an executive on the members without following laid down rules.
He explained that part of the conditions for merger as required by the National Electoral Commission, INEC, was that names of interim national officers were expected to be provided, and the Interim National Committee set guidelines for selecting the persons who should be in the interim based on their political qualifications.
While providing details of the agreement with all merging parties, the set guidelines and the concessions given, he insisted that the party followed these rules as set during the merger agreements, adding that the people complaining about imposition of candidates in Ogun State APC did not know that agreements were made and rules had been set to ensure that old or new APC members were equally treated.
The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed has commended the proposed ban on rice importation by the federal government by the year 2015 as effort to encourage the growth of the local rice farmers and millers in the country.
The governor stated this at the commissioning of a rice mill at Tsaragi, Edu Local Government area of the state where he noted that the proposed policy can only work through a holistic approach that include tax incentives and effective policing of the nation’s borders.
According to him, structured and carefully planned agro-reforms are key to achieving the desired result in the agricultural sector of the nation’s economy.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina represented by the Director- General of the National Council on Agricultural Mechanization, Ike Azogu further announced that federal government has mapped out policies that are designed to achieve agricultural value chain targeted at ensuring adequate production of food from farm to the table.
The Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) has given a N4 million naira loan to 4 farming communities via its newly launched Rural Development Initiative.
According to ARMTI, the initiative is designed to put to rest issues of empowerment of the people at the grassroots as well as enhance agriculture in the rural areas.
The initiative which takes off in four communities in Ifelodun and Ilorin south local government areas of Kwara state takes into cognizance the peculiarities of the people of the four towns namely Falokun-oja, Fufu, Elerinijare Ibobo and Idofian which are predominantly agrarian communities.
The acting Director General of the institute, Mr Samuel Afolayan said the initiative will empower the rural communities and improve food security and production.
Kwara state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed represented by the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Bode Olayemi noted that the state government will continue to work with all stakeholders to key into programmes like the Rural Development Initiative.
About 160 farmers are expected to benefit from a N4 million loan given to the four communities across two local governments.
The Kwara state government has approved 23 trades under its standard vocational skill acquisition programme designed to promote youth employment and entrepreneurship in the state.
Speaking during an official flag-off and interactive session with 60 accredited master trainers, the state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, informed that the exercise marked another major drive to reform skill acquisition and equip youths with necessary tools for entrepreneurship.
He added that the resolve of the government to identify and engage master trainers was borne out of a desire to benchmark skill acquisition centres against global standards, expose master trainers to the latest technologies in their respective trades, promote uniformity in the standard of practice, and in the process, reduce youth employment.
The governor emphasised that with the streamlining of skill acquisition in the state, artisans would be able to charge uniform fees for their services while consumers will be assured of quality service.
Governor Ahmed assured the participants that once they join cooperative societies they would benefit from his administration’s “revolving micro-credit scheme for micro, small and medium scale enterprises under which over 30,000 small business have benefited”.
The governor charged the skill acquisition committee to design fool-proof arrangements for monitoring of the scheme in order to achieve desired objectives.
Also speaking, the special assistant to the governor on tertiary education, Samuel Ajayi announced that the selection of the master trainers was done through a rigorous process.
The Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed has urged teachers and stakeholders in the education sector to discourage “miracle centres” where students are aided to pass examinations, a situation he likened to murdering of the education system in the country.
Governor Ahmed who made the call at the opening ceremony of the 5th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Union of Teachers in Kwara State, said such shortcut to success centres pose great dangers to the quality of education in the country as they could have negative impact on all sectors of the national economy.
“Teachers who take pride in promoting miracle centres are destroyers of our nation and the level of such destruction is incalculable. It is like somebody importing fake drugs to sell to hospitals. They are destroying lives”, the governor asserted.
Governor Ahmed said that his administration’s road map for the education sector will engender comprehensive rehabilitation and overhaul of a minimum 40 secondary schools in each of the three senatorial districts of the State.
He said that more teachers would be recruited in order to bring the state’s school system to global standards in teaching quality and teacher-student ratios and that the bonuses of rural teachers would be upscaled to make teaching in the rural areas appealing.
Governor Ahmed said due to the success story of the Education Resource Centre in Ilorin in the production of Science teaching aids, similar centres would be replicated in Kwara North and Kwara South Senatorial districts.
The Governor, described the theme of the teachers conference. “Meeting the Millennium Goals in Education: The Role of Stakeholders and teachers’ motivation as apt, as the Millennium Development Goals seeks to ensure that by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.
The outgoing Chairman Nigeria Union of Teachers, Kwara State Wing, Akanbi Umar Farouk commended the State Government for regular promotion of its work-force, including teachers; a development which he noted motivates teachers in the State.
He, however, appealed to the State government to assist in the clear up of back long of primary school teachers’ backlog of gratuity from the local government account.
The Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Issa Aremu has said there is the need to improve on intelligence gathering to address the growing insecurity in the country.
He added that President Goodluck Jonathan should ensure that security forces laid more emphasis on intelligence and crime prevention.
He spoke in Ilorin during a capacity building and skill development workshop for the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers.
Mr. Aremu urged President Goodluck Jonathan to organise his thoughts and the people around him to refocus Nigeria, adding that he should caution some of his aides and people around him to stop making inflammatory utterances that could diminish the President’s status and jeopardise national security and unity.
Mr. Aremu also lamented the killing of security officials by the notorious Ombatse cult group in Lafia, Nasarawa State, adding that efforts should be made to address the growing kidnapping, armed robberies and other violent crimes in some parts of Nigeria.
The Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was represented by his special adviser on labour matters, Bisi Fakayode, decried the huge umemployment in the country, stating that it was imperative to stimulate Nigeria’s economy as well as revive the textile industries across the country.
The Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has advocated the institutionalization of a council of Ulamas for the moderation of preaching by Islamic clerics in order to ensure that such sermons are in accordance with Islamic tenets.
Governor Ahmed made the call at the weekend during the public presentation of a book, Language Skills for Arabic Students, adding that the council should be composed of reputable and knowledgeable Islamic Scholar.
“Such a move will also provide an opportunity to instill in our youths, the values of peaceful co-existence, love, integrity and equity which, Insha Allah, will insulate them from fundamentalist preaching through the internet and other sources”, he said.
The Governor who stressed that Muslims must not allow the action of a few to define Muslims and shape perception of Islam, averred that leaders in all spheres of life should always preach eternal values of peaceful coexistence as enshrined in the Holy Quran in order to counter the stigmatization of Islam.
Governor Ahmed, through copious references to various chapters of the Holy Quran stressed that muslims must shun acts of violence by safeguarding the lives of the innocent at all times.
On the book, the governor expressed the hope that it will deepen the teaching and understanding of Arabic, a language which he said had made valuable contributions to the development of human kind.
The Kwara state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed has called on trade and labour unions in the state to partner with governments for the attainment of economic growth in the country.
Governor Ahmed made the call in Ilorin when the newly-elected state executive council of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) paid him a courtesy visit.
He noted that virile unions like the NURTW must play critical roles in national development as it requires collective effort to achieve the desired objectives.
The governor described the NURTW as one of the most important unions in the country as its members are in charge of the movement of goods and services which he described as germane to economic development.
He said the NURTW’s role in ensuring easy movement of goods and services was commendable and emphasized that his administration remains committed to its road development programme, particularly the ‘operation no pothole’ and the extension of urban and rural road networks.
The chairman of NURTW, Isa Ore said with membership strength of 41,922, the union was the second largest employer of labour apart from the state government.
Mr Ore said NURTW contributes about N140 million yearly to the internally generated revenue of the state government through the payment of renewal fees for motor particulars.
The chairman said the union has zero tolerance for thuggery and all forms of violence and pledged that its members would not do anything that could disrupt the peace in the state.