By Sodiq Yusuf
Volunteers of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, OYES in Osun East Senatorial District have called on successive governments after Governor Rauf Aregbesola to embrace the continuity of the scheme as its abolition portends great security risk for the State of Osun.
In separate interviews with OsunDefender, beneficiaries of the scheme who lauded the initiative of the present administration in reducing unemployment and crime rate of the state by taking 20,000 Youths off the streets said OYES has been of immense value to their lives.
Some of the beneficiaries who have used proceeds from the scheme to start up their own businesses after their exit observed that the programme has indeed transformed their lives.
One of the beneficiaries said “I’ve been a graduate looking for job. When I joined OYES, the money I got there with the help of my people was used to establish computer shop and at the same time, I sell stationeries as well as having a patent medicine store.”
Omoniyi Dayo who was an OYES Cadet said “When we started OYES, some of us decided to go into fish farming.
We decided to start a cooperative and contributory scheme of about N100,000. When I got my own, I started the fish farming business which has boomed.”
Another entrepreneur whose capital was raised from the OYES monthly allowance, Odewole Dele told OsunDefender that savings from his stipend helped in the venture of selling Recharge Cards and Engine Oil.
His words “I was able to save my OYES stipends from 2013-2015 to the tune of N240,000 with which I started dealing in Engine Oil and recharge cards. The investment has yielded and grown to about N1 million naira as of February, 2018.”
Jimoh Ifeoluwa asserted that “OYES gave me the shop I have today. After my secondary education, I enrolled for OYES and this gave me the funds used in establishing my shop.
Olubisi Oluwaseun who hails from Modakeke in Osun East said with OYES, he has been able to raise funds for the completion of his house.
“Since we started OYES, we have observed that the rate of stealing and armed robbery has been drastically reduced. OYES has taken people like us off the street. With OYES, I was able to buy my land and my parents didn’t know about it till I wanted to start my foundation.”
Oluwaseun stated that “There will be problem if the present or next government says they are not interested in the programme anymore. This is because someone who has been receiving a monthly stipend of N10,000 before and has nowhere to go again, it will increase the crime rate of the state.”
“We are just appealing to the present and incoming government to please ensure that this kind of opportunity end in Osun.”
The OYES Coordinator, Rtd Col Enibukun Oyewole said in an interview with OsunDefender that the scheme which has employed over 60,000 Youths in the last 7 years started in December 2010 with its first set commissioned in February, 2011.
Mr Bunmi Otegbade who oversees OYES, GEN Partnership said a programme is in place to provide entrepreneurial opportunities for cadets after their exit from the scheme.
He said the programme which allows beneficiaries of the scheme from the three senatorial districts of the state with about 100 of them attending to gain entrepreneurial skills during their stay to ensure that they optimize opportunities abound in entrepreneurship after they finish their 2-year stay.