By Afolabi Imuokhuede
RE: COMMUNIQUE RELEASED BY G-III FOR PERMANENCY
My attention has been drawn to a Communique released by a group of 2016 N-Power Volunteers under the aegis of "G-111 for Permanency" and l think some of the issues raised demands my swift response as my office was particularly referenced in the Communique.
Firstly, i want to appreciate all 200,000 2016 N-Power beneficiaries for your remarkable contributions to fill the gap in the education, health and agricultural sectors in your various communities. Since you started in December 2016, you have contributed tremendously to national development. I also appreciate your sincerity for stating the fact that “you have benefited so much" from the N-Power programme, it is however important to state categorically that the N-Power Office do not recognize any illegitimate group such as G-111 and would also not deal with any of such faceless groups in that regard.
I want to assure you that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to running an inclusive government and providing social security to our vulnerable people in the country. It was part of our campaign promises that during the course of our administration, the government will empower unemployed graduates. Even in the face of dwindling national revenue due to global shortfall in oil price and other challenges, the Federal Government remain committed to its promises and launched the most ambitious National Social Investment Programme (NSlP) ever recorded in the history of Africa, investing directly in our people With the youths in mind,.
The N-power programme is a strategic component of the Federal Government's NSIP to serve as an employability enhancement opportunity for our young graduates to accommodate more people in the scheme, the programme was designed to roll for a period of two years and this plan was at different times disclosed to all our beneficiaries even before their enrolment in the programme. It was designed like that so that at the end of every two years, we can accommodate other people who may be deserving of this lifeline as well.
I need to reiterate that the N-Power scheme is a two-year voluntary programme that equips its beneficiaries with lifelong skills that will make them independent after their exit from the programme. It is 0 Learn, Work and Entrepreneurship programme that also equips our Youths with a Digital Electronic Tablet for their personal development as part of the Federal Government's responsibilities to equip its population with the necessary tools of advancement and development.
With this electronic tablet, each of our deserving N-Power graduate is thus enlisted as part of an emerging digital literate youth network that is able to compete globally through several freelance economic opportunities Indeed, a lot of our N-Power Volunteers are today able to undertake data capture enumeration, act as mobile payment agents and other digital enabled opportunities in their various local communities. N-Power is one out of many means the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is fulfilling its part of the Social Contract signed with the people of Nigeria.
The government is also investing in many other people oriented initiatives, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer, National Home Grown School Feeding Programme. the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme and several other initiatives. Apart from all these. the government is also investing in infrastructure. These requires so much funds and commitment as we do more with lesser earnings.
I appeal to our esteemed beneficiaries to remain committed to their cause and should not abhor any form of rebellious attitude against a government that’s directly touching lives including theirs. We want you to consolidate the good work you have done on your personal endeavours which indeed builds your employability, increases your negotiating power in the competitive labour market and will eventually culminate in our combined National Development.
While I recognize the fact that every responsible government provides the enabling environment for her people to thrive, we have consistently encouraged our teeming beneficiaries to stay attuned with existing Federal and State Government policies and programmes that support innovation and entrepreneurship development. Entrepreneurship remains one of the core pillars they can lean on after their exit from the N-Power scheme.
Indeed, we have continued to celebrate many success stories of our 2016 N Power Beneficiaries across the country who have formed economic cooperatives in Agriculture production and processing of various food value chains, while some are already suppllers for the National Home Grown School Feeding programme in several States and even beneficiaries of micro credit grants.
I want all N Power beneficiaries. especially those in the 2016 Batch to realize that while the Federal Government has funded and continues to fund the payment of their Stipends, the various places of primary assignment where they daily engage are managed by the various States and Local Governments under the Federating system of Government that Nigeria is. As such. it is practically impossible for the Federal Government to absorb ALL N-Power beneficiaries into the Federal Civil Service and neither can the Federal Government mandate any State to employ NPower beneficiaries.
What has continued to happen however, is a constant engagement with the various State Governors to extend invitations to compete, to our hardworking volunteers for any job vacancies in the vorious sectors of Teach, Health and Agriculture wherein they have served meritoriously. We also enjoin our volunteers to prepare themselves competently to compete favourably in the labour market for many other Private Sector economic opportunities beyond even the Government.
Finally, I urge the 2016 and our new 2017 beneficiaries to remain committed to work and also continue to seize the opportunity to gain experience that will make them self reliant As a government, we are looking up to you to become solution providers through the new skills and knowledge you have gained in this period of your volunteerism for the development of the Nigerian economy. Very soon, we will communicate some of the exit plans you could benefit from the Federal Government is prepared to be of assistance to you. Indeed. the Federal Government will continue to provide the enabling environment for both private and public sectors to thrive for overall national economic development.