But had such youths deployed their rich knowledge in ICT into meaningful endeavours, the economy of the country would have been enhanced.
This could have been the reason why the State of Osun government under Rauf Aregbesola decided to go into partnership with RLG, an information communication technology (ICT) company owned by a Ghanaian entrepreneur.
Under the joint venture, the state government said it would train twenty thousand (20,000) youths of the state in computer and GSM repairs and assembling.
Out of the proposed number, 5,000 have already been trained by RLG some of whom travelled to Ghana for higher training. The graduates are already back in the state and have been deployed to various ICT centres in the state, including the RLG-Adulawo Technology City located along Ilesha-Akure Expressway, Ilesha.
The $50 million investment was formally launched and commissioned by Rauf Aregbesola last Thursday. The collaboration is directly under the Oyestech initiative of the state government.
Why the partnership
Roland Agambire, chairman, RLG and Agams Group, said: “RLG has an ambitious dream; a dream to lead Africa out of poverty. ICT is going to be the driver of revenue and of creation of decent jobs in the state of Osun”, he said.
“Our dream is to make so many phones available. It will be cheap and it is for the Nigerian people. So, people do not need to steal other people’s phones. I do not believe there’s poverty in Africa, what we have are challenges, and we shall overcome the challenges. RLG will remain loyal and committed to the partnership. It is not only the state of Osun that will benefit; what we have started in Osun will have a multiplier effect that will positively impact on the lives of other people across the country.”
Osun and ICT
Governor Rauf Aregbesola said the computer tablet innovation, Opon Imo, distributed to senior secondary school pupils in public schools in the state was part of the fulfilled dreams of the state government on ICT. According to him, “We have also established the OYESTECH as an institution for vocational training in ICT, in partnership with RLG. Through OYESTECH, we aim to train 20,000 youths in four batches. It has successfully trained 5,000 youths out of which 100 went to Ghana for further training. We are preparing to send another batch of 50 to Ghana.”
The governor further said: “More than 100 graduates of OYESTECH have been absorbed into this factory; 50 are working at the Opon Imo factory in Osogbo while more than 400 have found jobs with Chams Plc in Osun. About 2,200 have been empowered to be self employed and are earning decent income.
“The culmination of our ICT endeavours so far is the RLG Adulawo Technology City. The factory will be producing mobile phones, tablets, television sets and computer systems, both desktops and laptops. When in full production capacity, it will directly employ 800 people while over 15,000 indirect jobs would be created round the state through the enterprise scheme from sales and repair points. It will impact the state’s economy through taxes, rates and levies, add to the state’s GDP, create real wealth and bring development to the community where it operates.”
Worthy of emulation
The journey that led to the commissioning of the technology city started about three years ago, according to the governor. It is believed that if other state governments can emulate Osun, the unfortunate unemployment level in the country will be scaled down.
“When they came to me in 2011 to discuss the project, I told them it must be a win-win thing for the state. I am happy to tell you today that our contribution to the $50 million investment is the training of our youths. RLG is training 20,000 of our youths. The other investment outside the manpower training is the procurement of the land on which the facility is built and the plant (the generator). No cash contribution was made”, the governor said.
It is good to hear that some other states are talking with Osun to adapt the initiative. “Opon Imo has won numerous awards in Nigeria and abroad and for which we have received expression of interest from other states, corporate bodies and individuals”, Aregbesola said.
Ade Adefioye, chairman, Oyestech, said the dream of the state government was to take Osun to the status of Lagos State ICT-wise. According to him, the dream is being realised with the ICT initiatives already running.
“We have the people, we have the culture. We are the most literate per 1000 in Nigeria. We have youths here (Osun) and they are blessed with sound intellect”, Adefioye said.
The technology city, according to Adefioye promises to be one of the most productive assets in the State of Osun, creating employment and revolutionising the industry through assemblage of electronic communication devices.
Abdulrazak Oshodipe, supervisor, mobile phone assembly line of the technology city said over 1000 handsets could be rolled out in a day. According to him, those who had undergone the training by RLG are capable of handling any repair on mobile phones.
Temitope Mustapha, an HND Marketing graduate and one of the beneficiaries who currently work with the facility, said she was among those who went for training in Ghana.
“I can repair and assemble any GSM phone. It is lovely because we’ve not had such an initiative before. Before receiving the training, I had joined the Oyestech; it was from there that I got the opportunity of receiving the training,” Temitope said.