When the Central Bank of Nigeria declared that Ogun State was the best in tackling youth unemployment and maintaining an edge over others in agricultural industrialization, the Governor of the apex bank made the declaration on the strength of metrics of good governance practice of the administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun.
The declaration by the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, was made at the apex bank’s headquarters in a meeting with agriculture stakeholders held in Lagos, where Emefiele promised to use Ogun State as a model for economic growth because of its innovation in agriculture entrepreneurship.
The CBN Governor said Ogun state government has been proactive by taking the lead in line with the focus of the federal government of Nigeria to diversify, strengthen the economy and create jobs through profitable agricultural practices.
According to the CBN boss, the State has ventured into agriculture in a big way through its subscription to the apex bank’s ‘Anchor Borrower Scheme’.
By tapping into this scheme, Emefiele said, Ogun would soon cause a surge in urban rural migration “because more young people would find it more rewarding to leave the congested cities for a good life occasioned by profitable agribusiness in the remote areas”
The generous recommendations showered on the administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun did not come to many as a surprise because the government was unmistakable about the direction he intended to take the state when he took the mantle of leadership of the state.
Abiodun registered purposeful leadership in the early days of his government when with sense of urgency he launched the Ogun State job portal, an initiative which aims at tackling the scourge of unemployment by linking the state’s unemployed youths with matching job opportunities in the labour market.
Describing the job portal as one of the initiatives that would take the good people of Ogun State out of unemployment while also bettering the career chances of the employed, Governor Abiodun said that the portal is particularly suited to prepare the people to fit into appropriate sectors while revitalising all the sectors of the state's economy.
Sensing the massive opportunities inherent in the Federal Government’s ‘Anchor Borrowers Programme’, Governor Abiodun adopted the CBN-initiated policy to facilitate employment generation drive. Within eight months of the operation of the programme in the state, no fewer than 14,000 people have been employed through the scheme, as the governor again promised that the state government would soon employ 75,000 youths under the scheme.
“We have launched the Anchor Borrower Scheme, today the CBN has made Ogun State the model state for the South West, we have employed about 14,000 people last eight months in that programme between now and end of the year we hope to employ another 50,000 to 75,000 in that programme.” Governor, Abiodun said.
“You will agree with me that in essence, each person employed, is about three other people because it has a multiplier effect. So, we have come to solicit for support of the President with further needed support of the CBN and the federal government in the agricultural programme.
In his appraisal of the policy in Ogun State, the governor explained that there were no order industries that could absorb the unemployed youths, except agriculture. The state government has already keyed into the ABP initiative with anchors in rice, maize and cassava production. Only days ago, the Ogun State government said it had earmarked 10,000 hectares of land for members of National Cotton Association of Nigeria for cotton production in the state.
The governor assured the cotton association of government’s support in improving the productivity of cotton farmers and alactors in the cotton value chain in the state.
Abiodun, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, said his government recognised the employment generation potential of cotton enterprises and the importance of sustaining the need for raw materials by textile and allied industries.
He said, “We will support smallholder farmers to raise their yield through deliberate extension services in the Anchor Borrowers Programme under our watch.”