Our Case Is Not Different

Imagine sitting in an examination hall blank on what to write. Then suddenly your colleagues answer paper flips and you see answers that triggers your memory. Every state in Nigeria is in  an examination hall and needs memory triggers to work effectively most times.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday January 5 signed the N25bn Employment Trust Fund Bill into law, just as he promised to work hard to address unemployment and promote wealth creation through entrepreneurial development. He said the bill would address the challenge of unemployment and promote wealth creation through entrepreneurial development. An annual contribution of N6.25billion will be injected into the Fund by the State Government for 4years totaling N25billion.

Well, it is good to note here that this is the same thing the 10percent4youth campaign is seeking to achieve in the Niger Delta starting from Akwa Ibom State. The campaign is calling on the executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to pass a bill that allocates 10% of the oil derivation fund to set up a Youth Empowerment Fund that will fund youth empowerment initiatives in a holistic framework to address unemployment in a strategic and sustainable manner. An annual contribution of N12.456bn is needed to be injected into the fund.

Just as Governor Ambode has set up a Board of Trustees made up of core professionals that would manage the Fund so also is there a provision in the 10percent4youth bill for a board of core professionals comprising of a private sector leader, a finance expert, a senior academic, a civil society leader, Director of Youth Development, a legal practitioner, a representative of the Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Industry, and a representative of the Ministry of Labour, Productivity & Manpower Planning .The 10percent4youths bill has provisions for accountability and transparency such as Impact Assessment, Annual Estimates, Account , Monthly Report, Quarterly Report, Published Annual Reports, Annual External Audits, and Website.

If the Akwa Ibom youth doesn’t arise to demand for this fund, government may likely ignore the call for the passage of the 10percent4youths bill and continue to play politics with youth programs. The bill would soon be presented to the House of Assembly with hopes that the Speaker Rt. Hon. Onofiok and his esteem colleagues would fasten the passage of the bill and that the Governor will sign off on the bill as his Lagos counterpart. Akwa Ibom taking the first step will key other Niger Delta states to think proactively as it relates to unemployment and wealth creation through entrepreneurial development.

Lend your voice to the call by signing the petition at www.yafnet.org/public/advocacy

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