By Florence Ebebe
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has expressed the state government’s readiness to deepen the existing partnership between the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the state government, especially in the area of skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development, training and empowerment for youth employment.
He said the state has a lot of skill acquisition centres where the NYSC could key into, adding that corps members should also understand that skills acquisition is imperative considering what is happening today in the society.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Batch ‘B’ pre-orientation workshop with the theme ‘Reinvigorating the NYSC Orientation Course for a Successful Service Years’, held at the Event Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, recalled that when the state government was building the Lekki/Ikoyi link bridge, contractors were seeking to employ 700 welders for the project, but couldn’t find any.
“In trying to build the suspended bridge, the contractor in-charge said they needed 700 welders but they could not find so they said they would go outside Nigeria to look for welders because they said certain skills were needed, but we refused. So at our skills acquisition centre in Igando, we decided to train the 700 welders who were part of the people that finished the project.”
He disclosed that the state government delayed the completion of the bridge by six months just to get the welders, saying, “interestingly, when the welders finished, they were employed by oil companies such as Chevron and Shell and they are making a salary between N800,000 and one million a month. “However, there are many more grounds to cover and break in the realisation of a more developed and greater Nigeria through youth re-orientation and empowerment both in entrepreneurial and leadership skills that are needed in Nigeria. Skills acquisition if well done is fantastic.”
Sanwo-Olu, who declared the workshop open, expressed hope that it will serve to harmonise relations between government and NYSC camp officials, as well as enhance the benefits of the scheme as the largest youth mobilisation strategy in Africa, while commending the Director General of NYSC, staff and corps members for their contributions towards the success of the 2019 general elections.
“The participation of the corps members has further attested to the contemporary relevance of the scheme to the development of Nigeria,” he said.
The Director General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim said the workshop is designed for NYSC managers and its collaborating partners to review previous orientation courses with a view to tackling identified challenges and mapping out new strategies for successful conduct of the forthcoming one.
He said the theme was informed by its desire to sustain proper induction and preparation of eligible graduates for dedicated and hitch-free service to their fatherland.
He also reminded stakeholders about the NYSC Act for the provision and maintenance of orientation camps by state governments, saying that the reminder has become necessary in view of the current dilapidated condition of many orientation camps and the inadequate facilities across the country.