By Emmanuel Elebeke
THE joy of 1200 youths knew no bounds penultimate week, as the Lagos state government, under its ministry of science and technology graduated 1200 unemployed youths from across the state, on various computer skills and competencies for self actualization and financial independence.
The event which witnessed the presence of the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola and the deputy governor, Dr. Sera Sosan also attracted eminent personalities from various ministries and parastatals of the government, who have contributed in various ways in governor Fashola administrationâ€™sÂ policy on massive job creation and poverty alleviation in the state, particularly through the use ofÂ information and communication technology.
The graduands were presented with certificate of graduation in computer training, necessary working tools, devices and take-off grants for the various skills acquired, having trained in private computer assemblage, maintenance and repair, software installation as well as web design, hoisting and maintenance. And having successfully completed the two months programme, the graduands were expected to join other self employed youths that graduated from the state governmentâ€™sÂ skill acquisition centres since 2005.
In his keynote address, the Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by his wife, Abimbola Fashola said the occasionÂ called for celebration because the programme demonstratedÂ the commitment of the administration towards job creation and poverty alleviation among Lagosian.
â€œInformation communication technology has changed our world. And the basic tool of change in this technology is an efficient andÂ functional computer system. This is why ICT has continued to provide employment opportunities for thousands of people particularly the young people.
â€œWe recognize the important role of ICT in economic transformation and therefore decided to extend it to the grassroots.â€ he stated.
He commended the commissioner for science and technology, Dr. Kadri Hamssat for his vision and resourcefulness of the ministry in facilitating the programme. â€œYour determination and commitment to translate our vision of creating employment through different projects has produced this marvelous result today,â€ he said.
In addition to this, the governor used the occasion to disclose that the administration had created over 156,000 new jobs in the public service and other sectors since January this year.
Most these, he said were done through the various skills acquisition schemes the administration had been implementing, just as he said over 5,000 students were also given vacation jobs during the long holiday, to enable them earn some pocket money to cushion the financial pressure on their parents and guardians.
To diversify the economy and income of people in the state, the governor said his administration had already embarked on agricultural based youth empowerment scheme tagged â€œAgic-YESâ€, with the objective of engaging, equipping and empowering interested Lagos youths to become world-class agro-entrepreneurs.
While, commending the graduands for making the choice of becoming self employed, he also reminded them that the era of white cola job was over and that the new reality is acquisition of skills in various trades, and advised them to make good use of the opportunity given to them to set up their own business and become employers of labour.
He also, implored parents and guardians to always advise their children and wards to avail themselves of such opportunity.
Earlier in his welcome address, the state commissioner for science and technology, Dr. Kadri Hamssat described the even asÂ reward of weeks of hard-work to the graduands.
He said in various parts of the world, computer usage had become a catalyst for economic growth and development, leading to increase in use of computer and allied products. This according to him, spurred the organization of the training programme for the youths.
In pursuance of the leadership vision and resolve to bring enormous benefits to the people of the state in the areas of egovernance, Dr. Kadri said capacity training programmes had been organized for top government functionaries and civil servants in order to enhance their performance and service delivery to the public, adding that about 120 public secondary schools across the state have been provided with computer laboratories, with each been provided with at least 20 computers, furniture, UPS, printers, Air-Conditioners, generating sets, educational materials and flash drives and a networking of schools completedÂ with VSAT installed and activated.
â€œLagos state government through the ministry of science and technology is committed to enriching the stock of human capital especially the youths in terms of computer knowledge, skill and experience as well as the use of information and communication technology to create jobs empower the youths and minimize unemployment,â€ he declared.
He however, charged the graduands to maximize the gains of thee programme by leaving an indelible mark in the sands of time.
Responding on behalf of other beneficiaries, Miss Abisiga Oluwaseun expressed gratitude to the state government and promised to put the opportunity into good use.