No fewer than 17,000 youth from Ondo on Tuesday staged a road walk with placards seeking the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for a second term.
The more-than-two-kilometer walk organised by the beneficiaries of the N-Power job creation scheme of the federal government terminated at the Gani Fawehimi Arcade in Akure.
Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu, Deputy Gov. Bola Ajayi, members of the Ondo Executive Council, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation, Mr Afolabi Imoukhuede and other dignitaries graced the rally.
Some volunteers who told their compelling stories of success in the job-creation scheme said the opportunity they had in the scheme had widened their entrepreneurial horizon.
Mr Sunday Obinta, an N-Teach volunteer who established a four-hectare plantain plantation in the state within six months of his engagement in the scheme lauded it for making him an employer of labour.
“Within the first six months of receipt of my allowance, I saved and established a plantain plantation where I employed no fewer than 14 other youth to improve my revenue base.
“I supply plantain to the school feeding programme in the state and I feel fulfilled doing the business,’’ the 2016 batch volunteer said at the rally.
He added that the scheme enabled him to buy photographic gadgets to continue his hobby and had been able to travel to different parts of the state to cover social events.
Mr Moses Afolabi, an N-Teach volunteer said he went into books publication and had to his credit 10 publications “from where I saved N651,000 to pay for my PhD programme in the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife.
“I have always had the ambition of reading up to PhD which was almost scuttled until I got the opportunity of the job creation scheme.
“I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for lifting me up to actualise my ambition and urge every Nigerian youth to reciprocate the gesture of the programme by returning Buhari to power,’’ he said.
Mrs Toyin Adebayo, a French graduate in N-teach said she supported her husband in the erection of a family house using her stipends while at the same time paid her children’s school fees and assisted indigent pupils with tuition.
“Before the end of this year we will roof our house and thanks to N-power for this opportunity.’’
For Kolade Joseph, the story of employment and God-fatherism changed in 2016 when I got enlisted without external favour.
“Integrity is the order of the day and I give it to Buhari for making this possible.
Addressing the youth, Akeredolu said Buhari and Osinbajo had fulfilled their promises to the youth and were among the few that had kept their promises.
Rendering his speech mainly in vernacular and occasional English, the governor busted into a song “Buhari race, I no go tire till we win the race.’’
He reminded the youth that investing in them meant investing in their future and that of the nation, noting that those who gave testimonies of their volunteerism had transformed their lives forever.
The governor advised them not to personalize the gains but to spread them to others and to be mindful of the need for continuity of the president to enable others to come into the programme in future.
“One good turn deserves another’’ the governor stated.
Mr Imoukhuede, the presidential aide, noted that Ondo was the only state in the country without a story of unpaid allowances, adding that N4.2 billion had entered the pockets of the beneficiaries through N-Power stipends.
He reminded them that the devices in their hands given to them by Buhari were for them to empower themselves to the next level and reminded them that they should stand by the man who gave them a future.
In a welcome address, the state focal person for N-Power and governor’s aide, Mrs Bunmi Ademosu said this was the time to tell Nigerians that “we are going to places, we are going to the next level’’.
She noted that although the state had more than 17,000 beneficiaries it craved for no fewer than 70, 000 in the next enrolment.