I might not be a versatile student of politics neither am I an ardent student of history. Nevertheless, with my vague knowledge in history and a little well balanced knowledge of current affairs, I will like to speak on behalf of the Nigerian youths.
I want to speak on behalf of the unemployed youths, the conductors whether graduate or semi-skilled, the prostitute, the young artist with aspiration, the vulcanizer, the security guard, the street hawker, the house helps, and the young politicians just to mention a few.
It is no news that the growing number of youth in Africa is rising to an exponential figure with high percentage of these youth left unoccupied and idle.
According to the UN, Africa has the youngest population in the world with 200 million aged between 15 and 24. Out of this number, Nigeria has a staggering amount of over 30 million youths which is considered as one of the largest populations of youth in the world.
While growing up, we were told that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow. However, this begs the question: what are the leaders of today doing to prepare tomorrow for the youths? Earlier this year of 2016, Nigerians took to the poll to elect a leader that will lead the country.
We elected a leader in the name of President Mohammed Buhari. But since election, the leader we must agree has been fighting effortlessly on one of his campaign promises, which is the fight against corruption.
However, it appears that this fight against corruption seems to be his sole aim in government as other promises during his campaign appears to be lagging behind in progress. Our dailies are now cluttered with disgusting stories that can only be imagined in the Dark Age. The youths are becoming restless and thus taking decisions they wouldn’t have if well occupied.
I will not want to believe that the president has bad advisers neither do i want to believe he knows not the right path to lead the country to. I might be wrong as the president could be taking ardent steps that will resuscitate the economy but these steps should also be communicated to the people just as progress in eradicating corruption is being shared with the people.
The country as it seems to me as a youth is not threading on a path that will prepare a good foundation for tomorrow’s leaders whose numbers increase by the day. I pray the president and his team look at global development and tailor our economy towards the development of the global village.
I was surprised to read on one of our dailies that millions of dollars still is being spent on oil explorations on the inlands. At this time and age, is Nigeria still looking for means to exploit oil? Are we not aware of the rise of alternate energy across the globe? The president himself is very much aware that the globe is changing its form of obtaining energy as he currently just signed the climate change agreement with France.
If peradventure they find oil on these inland say for example Benue which they are currently exploring, will they continue its exploration there? Have we not learnt from our past mistakes? Have we forgotten so soon what the discovery of Oil did not only to the fertile land and sea of Niger delta but to its people? The president is still struggling to keep on one of his promises which is, cleaning up the Ogoni land and we are still forging ahead to explore for Oil on other virgin land.
The areas where oil have been discovered not only destroyed the land of the people but makes the people forget their primary means of livelihood which is Agriculture.
Let us not forget that these areas where oil is currently being explored are parts of the nation where Agriculture is very rife. Benue can be considered the food basket of Nigeria and other regions like Taraba and the Basins.
With my little knowledge, I ask, why can’t the government use the fund spent on exploration to boost agricultural produce in these areas or invest on research of fuel-cell technology? To whom would we sell our oil exploit when in the near future oil is no longer needed? The decline of oil price has shown that it has come to stay as the global village pursue other forms of energy.
The sharp rise of electric vehicle will inevitably have an effect on oil price and we as a Nation should be prepared for this and whatever may follow thereafter.
I think it is high time we began looking at other areas of development that will be beneficial to the leaders of tomorrow. The number of unemployed graduate is staggering with over 54% unemployed and the universities are still churning out graduate like forbidden fruit.
The world is changing and Nigeria should change with it. There are areas the government should look at in order to engage the idle youths littering the streets of Nigeria and prepare them for a better tomorrow.
The following industries should be carefully researched by the governments’ team of experts and proper investment should be made in these areas to prepare us more for our future.
The industries are; Agriculture, information technology and security, Fashion Industry, Entertainment Industry, Sports industry, history and culture awareness, and Automobile industry.
As a nation we should look not only into our agricultural industry as regards farm produce but also focus more on our aquaculture industry. Why can’t we as a nation look deeply into aquaculture as we are blessed with oceans and seas to cultivate aquatic animals in a large scale to feed ourselves? It is not an impossible task to join the league of owners of large open-ocean fish farm like china and others. This in many ways will directly or indirectly engage our youth and add as a foundation block for tomorrow’s building.
The information technology sector should also be looked into and a means to boost this industry more, should be put in place. It is a shame as a nation if we are still using third party solution in our various institutions.
A majority of our institutions particularly the banking sector procures their solution from third party providers because as a nation we do not have the competency to build such solutions in our country. Why is that? Why can’t the consortium of banks fund institutions train our idle youth to meet their demands? Do we have to wait for Mark Zuckerberg to help us realize that our youths are bursting with potentials?
How are our telecommunications being regulated? How can information be readily available to all at an affordable rate? The moment information is being affordable, the smaller we will become as a nation and will be able to understand each other better.
The government should help the telecom industry grow further than it is today so that the people can effectively communicate and be better informed.
Our fashion industry has gone aloof as a nation. A number of our populace sometimes see the embrace of our attire as archaic and uncommon while in truth we own the best fashion sense in the globe. Probably it is because of the dilapidation of our textile industry or our youth’s thirst for western designers. If we can revive back our textile industry, promote it as a brand and engage experts in the know-how of its fashion, we will not be far-fetched in recovering this industry and exploiting its gains outside our shores.
The entertainment industry is another sector the government is really not paying attention to. The music industry seems to be seeing a little glimpse of hope as it has produced stars that are recognized across the globe. However, the government should do more to boost this industry.
Talent shows have made their contributions but this seems not to be enough as there are lots of talented artist out there who do not have the means to show case their innate abilities. An adequate platform should be in place so that such talent can be identified and engaged accordingly.
In addition to this, our movie industry should also be looked into; the Nollywood with the help of the government should be well structured and movies should be up to international standard.
Although this is being done by a number of existing artists like AY and Kunle Afolayan whose movie are worth paying for in the cinemas.
But I believe empowerment from the government will boost its present development further.
The sports industry and the history and cultural awareness are other sectors the institution can use to engage the youths. The current sport industry seems only to engage the youth only when there is an international event or tournaments to be played. After such events, engagement with participants will be cut short until another event is imminent which is not supposed to be the case. Individuals in the sporting community should be properly engaged before and after any events or tournaments. They should also be properly compensated and motivated overtime to foster continuous improvement in their respective practice.
Furthermore, I think there should be a platform where youths will be familiarized with our nation’s history not only from colonial era but also from the pre-colonial era. This platform should welcome those who are willing to learn the history of Nigeria as a whole and those who are willing to contribute to it.
It should also help in enabling individuals from different cultural heritage understand in-depth the various culture there are in the nation.Such information should not only be confined to the walls of our schools but a platform should be able to inculcate this knowledge to an average youth. This if properly implemented will really go far in bridging the cultural and tribal gap that exist amongst Nigerians.
Lastly, there are scanty news of youths who develop automobiles across the country. However, their products are not fully functional mostly because they are ill-equipped. A fully functional and endorsed automobile training shop by the government across the country will encourage those in the line of automobile to do more and put to test their automobile skills. I am positive that in this sector, there will be a creative idea on an automobile that will curb the current logistic challenges we have as a nation.
If the government is already doing the above mentioned then I guess the populace should be effectively communicated to. It appears the populace is being left in the dark with no sign of light at the end of the tunnel. Of course we applaud the progress made on the fight against corruption but the ears will soon get tired of listening to news about corruption when the stomach begins to go hungry and the hands become numb out of idleness.