As part of his quest to fulfill his electioneering promises, about one hundred youths in Ondo South Senatorial District of Ondo State have been empowered with skills in solar power system installation, through a constituency project facilitated by the lawmaker representing the district, Senator Nicholas Tofowomo.
The youths were carefully selected from the six local government areas in the district.
The empowerment programme was supervised by officials of the National Centre for Hydropower Research and Development, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
The 7-day programme was sponsored by Senator Tofowomo, as one of his 2020 Constituency Projects.
Addressing reporters at the event, Senator Tofowomo urged the Federal Government to create more skill acquisition centres to address the high rate of unemployment in the country.
He also wants state governors to use part of their security votes for youth empowerment.
The Senator added that, “government is not doing enough in terms of creating opportunities. Nigeria is producing an average of 50,000 graduates every year and about 40,000 of them are unemployed.
“By the time you add it up for ten years, that is about 400,000 graduates going around without jobs.
“Government should create centres to develop skills. Let us organise our youths and turn them to professionals. If government organises such training every two months, the lives of our youths will change”, Tofowomo added.
Speaking further, he stated that, “majority of the people who demonstrated during the #EndSARS protests, were youths and it was because they don’t have jobs. If you have an office you want to go, you will not be demonstrating here and there”.
He explained that, “Governors are earning about N700 million each as security votes monthly. If half of this money can go towards developing youths, in one to two years, they would have spent 2 to 3 billion naira developing youths”.
Senator Tofowomo noted that the programme was put together to equip both employed and unemployed youths with the necessary knowledge on the need to embrace renewable/green energy, as an alternative to hydro or gas-powered electricity.
This, he said, will ensure that the trained youths tackle epileptic power supply that is now synonymous with Ondo South Senatorial District, especially in Ilaje, Ese-Odo and other coastal areas of the state.
The lead consultant for the project, Rotimi Eniasoro said the participants were exposed to the importance of solar systems and advantages of renewable energy over other power sources.
According to him, they were also given special training on business angle to solar system installations and how to repair and trouble-shoot solar inverters and other equipment.
In his words, “about one hundred youths have been trained on how to handle solar installation. I am confident that after this, they will become employers of labour.”
High point of the event was the presentation of cash grants for set-up to the participants.