I should start by expressing my profound gratitude to the organisers of this important event. Any opportunity, which affords one the opportunity of addressing the young people in the country, must be utilised by all those who have the obligation to nurture them. I thank the organisers, profusely, for choosing our dear State for this Summit. A forum, such as this, offers unique platform for interacting and learning.

There can never be a better time than now for the coming together of young elements in the country. The socio-economic challenges, faced by the country at present, engender serious discontent among the citizenry. The efforts of the present Government at the centre to improve on the current economic problems must be acknowledged. Our administration, from inception, suffers no illusion on the enormity of these socio-economic challenges.

We have been taking practical steps to address them with a view to ameliorating the problems. Our administration is convinced that the most effective way to address these problems is the consistent abridgement of the huge infrastructural deficit. This will encourage genuine investors to come into the State. The duty of the Government to create an enabling environment cannot be overemphasized. Evidence of significant interventions by the administration is pervasive across the State.

We have been trying to ensure a drastic reduction in rural-urban drift. We inherited a huge burden when we assumed office almost three years ago. Ondo State was referred to, derisively, as a Civil Service State. This is a euphemism to describe a place with a parasitic workforce which produces nothing but consumes virtually everything meant for the public. The rate of youth unemployment is embarrassingly high. Our youths cannot afford to resign to fate once the Government is unable to provide jobs for them. The acquisition of certificates is not enough. They must acquire relevant skills to fight poverty.

This administration, at inception, was not under any false impression that Federal Allocation, which could barely pay salaries and subventions, was all the State needed to stay afloat. We were convinced of the necessity of ingenious intervention if the State was to break even. We have been able to engage some of our youths at various levels in spite of the huge wage bill with its debilitating effects on the economy of the State. We embarked on a course with a view to giving a new orientation to the people on the significance of being self-reliant. The young ones are the ambassadors who must drive this new thinking.

It is always my pleasure to interact with the young ones. I always seize any opportunity offered to be with them. I understand and share in their frustrations. I know it is not right for an underdeveloped country to have the benefit of an optimum population and still have over forty (40) million of her youths either unemployed or under-engaged. Apportioning blames will not be helpful. All of us must begin to think of the best way to overcome this deplorable situation.

This Summit should endeavour to address the issue of certification as against real education. Acquiring certificates that are not needed to solve the immediate challenges faced by a society is useless. We await plausible suggestions on the way forward. Drug abuse is often attributed to frustration occasioned by joblessness. Our youths must not destroy themselves through indulgence in dangerous habits.

Indulging in crime cannot be an excuse. Our youths must be creative and focused. They must collaborate with the Government to combat crime. They must be ready to expose undesirable elements. They must not be tired of making suggestions to the Government. Our administration is receptive to new ideas which will be beneficial to the people of the State. We will continue to link the hinterlands with the cities.

We encourage the deepening of activities by investors at the Industrial Hub in Ore. Our Highways are receiving serious attention from the State Government. We advise our youths to avail themselves of the benefits which these efforts offer.

I welcome you to the Sunshine State. I wish you a successful deliberation.

A speech by Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State. Read more speeches

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