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Unemployment: The way not to go in youth empowerment (2)

By Daniel Ofodum
01 October 2015   |   2:09 am
The youth are the future of this nation. They constitute the prime target of any sustainable economic vision and developmental effort.

Unemployment-CopyContinued from on Monday (28-9-2015)
The youth are the future of this nation. They constitute the prime target of any sustainable economic vision and developmental effort. Until we start cultivating the creative potential of our youth and harness their capacity for ingenuity, we might not maximise our full potentials as a nation.

Chief Charles Nwodo, a political think-tank and a one-time member of President Buhari’s campaign committee for the 2007 and 2011 presidential elections, noted: “For the Nigerian economy to grow and diversify across multiple sectors, the youth must be empowered enough to develop their ingenuity and practise their individuality.” Thus, the development vision of the present administration should create the paraphenalia for the youth to cultivate their creative and innovative competencies thereby enforce the competitiveness of our economy in the light of emerging global trends.

Such feats of global consequence, however, require change – a change in leadership mentality as well as in government procedures and priorities. In spite of the myriads of administrative activities, bureaucratic conformities, and ideological susceptibilities facing the administration of Buhari, he should, as a matter of national urgency and in the spirit of equity and inclusiveness, initiate a national economic empowerment policy that seeks to provide deployment funds for Nigerian youths that have discovered and developed their creative and innovative competencies for the service of humanity and our national economic prosperity.

Such an economic empowerment policy should not be run in the similitude of the ‘YOUWIN’ programme of the past administration. With due respect to its facilitators, the ‘YOUWIN’ programme was an elitist economic empowerment model that created an avenue to firstly, financially reward political cronies, and then provide deployment funds for enterprising Nigerians that have the wherewithal to pay consultants to conceive business ideas and craft winning proposals backed with a strong political connection.

Ideally, an effective economic empowerment policy should be people-based and driven by a patriotic spirit devoid of any iota of surreptitious agenda in order to make a positive impact across the personal, micro and macro-economic levels of the social strata.

Some social commentators argue that the youth should look inward, find something to engage them and become productive because government does not have the ability to generate sufficient jobs for its teeming young population. In all sense of fairness, the government might not have the ability to generate a million jobs or more every year for the teeming unemployed youth, but it has the capacity to facilitate a national economic empowerment policy that provides deployment funds for a million youth or more every year that have discovered themselves, developed their craft, and are willing to serve the society along those lines.
This advocacy for youth empowerment readily brings to mind the current state of Greece, a nation that led world civilisation in producing great philosophers and craftsmen. She also dominated world trade through maritime ingenuity. Today, however, she seeks a second or third economic bailout fund from fellow Euro zone nations because she lost sight of harnessing the creative and innovative potentials of her people. Cultivating the ingenuity of our young entrepreneurs will fully integrate them into the system, improve their social wellbeing, boost economic activities across the nation and make our economy more vibrant.

Nigeria has too many loose political funds flying all over the place to allow the creative potentials of our unemployed youth to go untapped thereby mortgage the future of this nation. From recovered loots, to excess crude, these resources need to be channeled towards the empowerment of our people. I believe very strongly that when the people have purchasing power through strategic investments in their craft, it will energise the economy, go a long way in winning the fight against corruption, and thereby foster sustainable progressive development.

• Concluded.
• Danfod is the lead resource person @ Passion & Living Resources International. He wrote from Abuja via