By Donald Ugwu
The 300,000 candidates pre-selected under the Federal Government’s N-Power Scheme will undergo its physical verification phase from Dec. 4 to Dec. 14 in the 774 local government areas of the country.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation/Youth Employment, Mr Afolabi Imoukhuede said the verification would be done with the N-Power stakeholders in the states such as the National Orientation Agency, N-Power State team, National Assembly Monitors and Observers.
Imoukhuede explained that pre-selection could not be equated to final recruitment as those who fell short of the verification criteria and made faulty declarations in their applications would still be disqualified.
Accordingly, the presidential aide noted that after the compilation of successfully verified candidates, the final selection would be done followed by the deployment of the volunteers in the Agro, Teach, and Health categories across the country.
He noted that out of 2.54 million applicants, 2.25 million had their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) validated prior to the assessment test phase while only 1.75 million responded to invitations to write tests.
In the State-by-State application breakdown, the North West geo-political zone had 33,039 applicants from Jigawa; 113,960 from Kaduna; 97,748 from Kano; 40,742 from Katsina; 30,975 from Kebbi; 22,501 from Sokoto and 32,186 from Zamfara.
From the North East, 50,552 applications came from Adamawa; Bauchi had 51,920; Borno had 55,264; Gombe had 27,980; Taraba had 36,987 while Yobe had 32,201.
In North Central, FCT led with 120,198 applications followed by Benue with 89,734 and Kwara with 77,338 while Niger had 73,236 applications; Nasarawa with 72,732; Plateau with 68,955 and Kogi with 61,789.
Enugu State led the applications in the South East with 81,891 followed by Anambra with 61,075 and Imo with 60,283; while Abia had 54,216 and Ebonyi with 39,030 applications.
In the South West, Lagos had 174,994 applications; Oyo had 133,281; Osun had 87,281; Ekiti had 37,594; Ogun had 74,940 while Ondo had 69,224 applications.
The highest applications from the South South came from Rivers with 145,773 followed by Delta with 106,509 and Edo with 63,507. Others are Akwa Ibom with 56,143; Bayelsa with 23,659 and Cross River with 49,596.
From the statistics, states with highest applications were Lagos, Rivers, Oyo, FCT and Kaduna in while states with the lowest were Sokoto, Bayelsa, Gombe, Kebbi and Zamfara.
Imoukhuede observed that the selection process was transparent with the first priority being the full validation of BVN to payment account details of applicants, to avoid a repeat of inability to pay any of the new volunteers as a result of unmatched payment details.
He further stated that other factors considered were equity and fairness by linking selection to population, using federal constituencies and addressing demand distribution of unemployed graduates across the country.
He added that the process considered correcting the deployment/utilization challenges arising from the 2016 edition as well as rural-urban distribution balance where priority was given to rural areas especially N-Agro applicants.
The first batch of 200,000 graduates will, in December 2017, begin their second year of the two-year paid volunteer scheme, while the process of mobilising and deploying non-graduate programme began about a month ago.