Hardship: Ogun youths present 11-points roadmap to Tinubu, fault Abiodun’s palliative measures

By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta

Youths in Ogun State have proposed 11-points roadmap to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Governor Dapo Abiodun on strategies to conveniently overcome the current economic hardship being faced by the citizens without further incurring more inconveniences.

With specific reference to food security, the over 30 youth groups under the aegis of the Coalition of Ogun State Youth Forum, demanded that Tinubu should as a matter of urgency, re-evaluate and re-direct the non-performing agricultural policies that have made it practically impossible for the federal government to guarantee food security for the citizenry.

At a world press conference addressed on Wednesday in Abeokuta, the youths also gave Abiodun a 30-day ultimatum within which to commence implementation of the proposed agenda, adding that failure to do so, they would mobilise members to “storm the streets and roads” in protest against the high cost of living in the country.

Coordinator of the youths, Comrade Sodeinde Daniel, who addressed Journalists said it becomes exigent for Tinubu to re-evaluate and re-direct such policies considering the fact that some federal government’s policies on agriculture do appear on papers but in realities, they are non-existent.

Citing the federal government’s prohibition of importation of some agricultural produces like the foreign parboiled rice as an example, Sodeinde said the federal government needs to lift such ban in order to alleviate the citizens’ excruciating pains due to the rising cost of living.

“The primary responsibilities of a responsible government is to provide food security and shelter for the citizens. But as far as the Nigerian youths are concerned, all those policies are not working. We are now calling for a re-evaluation of those policies. That the federal government should re-evaluate those policies and redirect it”.

“We understood why the borders were closed in the first instance, particularly to protect the agricultural produces at home. We are aware that there are some goods that are on the prohibition list of the federal government, like the importation of rice. But the question is where is the rice that are being grown locally? Even as we speak, if you have that local rice in the market, Nigerians will definitely patronise them, but they are in non-existent. So, what is the essence of placing any ban on those imported ones that are coming into the country?

“So, we are saying that federal government should look into that policy and redirect such for the benefits of the citizens. The truth is that once these policies are not working, it is we the youths that suffer most”.

Calling on the Abiodun to liaise with the federal government for the establishment of practicable food banks, in addition to incorporating non-state actors into his Palliative Committee to ensure success of government’s measures to end residents’ excruciating pains due to the rising cost of living, the youths however, faulted the palliative measures rolled out by the state government which they argued that did not cover the out-of-school youths.

“There is no clear cut mechanism to capture the youth constituency in the various state initiatives. The average self employed and out-of-school-youth is not directly captured in the initiative. This is a huge lacuna that must be corrected. All students are youths, but not all youths are students”.

“We want to also appeal to our governors in the entire South West geo-political zone to quickly embark of an agricultural revolution. That is what we are expecting and that is why we are giving them the 30-days ultimatum, particularly on those policies that will have direct impact on the youths”.

“Our demand for an agricultural revolution is equally borne out of our convictions that this sector is a major area that can effectively tackle unemployment in this country. There are greater number of youths that are ready to go into agriculture because we have seen developed countries how they are practicing agriculture. Why not import such practices and let the youths key-in to this”.

Other issues contained in the 11-points proposal presented by the Coalition however, included: one year free health insurance for all residents, subsidizing transportation and grants for Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMSEs), as well as bridging the communication gap between the Governor and youths among others.

The youths however expressed the confidence that it would not get to a situation where members will hit the streets first before the Governor listen to them.

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