Lawmaker representing Osun West Senatorial district under the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Adelere Oriolowo, has disagreed with the Federal Government over its Special Public Works (SPW) which is targeted to empower 774,000 jobless Nigerians.
Oriolowo said the N52 billion voted for the programme would have been of greater benefit if used to establish industries in the 109 senatorial districts to provide employment for youths or created skills acquisition schemes.
He condemned the resort to “money sharing” by governments and politicians, saying it was partly responsible for youth restiveness.
Oriolowo spoke while delivering a public lecture at The Wings Schools, Iwo, Osun State yesterday.
He spoke on “ Connecting Nigeria to its Teeming Youth: Detonating Time Bomb,” a topic adopted by the authorities of the institution to mark the International Youth Day.
Oriolowo frowned at the politics that have delayed the payment of the stipend to the participants even with the appropriation of N52 billion for the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in the 2021 budget.
He called for sanctions against politicians responsible for the delay and causing “fights and contests” over the appropriated fund.
He said: “Sometimes ago, the Federal Government disclosed that they want to distribute money. They earmarked N52 billion to empower the youth picked from 774 councils in the country by giving them N20,000 monthly for three months. They were to be given N60,000 each at the end of three months. This has resulted in fights and contests.
“Nigerians will always look for ways to make jest of politicians.”
The lawmaker stressed the need for employment and skill acquisition programmes for Nigerians youths many of whom, he said, cannot defend their certificates.
Oriolowo added: “Youths are now certificates-oriented and many of them cannot defend their certificates.
“The important thing is that the N52billion could have been used to establish industries. If the government gave it to all the 109 senatorial districts to create jobs and establish industries for youths. That will help a lot.
“We all know that the meaning of empowerment to an average Nigerian is to give money but this is an insatiable urge. The money can never go round, the vulnerable will be disadvantaged.”
Orilowo argued that the syndrome of giving money instead of creating jobs for youths resulted in massive destruction witnessed during the October 2020 #EndSARS.protests.
A former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner, Prof. Lai Olurode, speaking at the lecture, said “giving Nigerian youths money will not hasten development rather, they will use the money for their immediate needs. That will not lift any of them from poverty.”