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‘Nigerian youths need mentors with values to become competitive’


Ubong King

Founder, Thinkation, Ubong King, in this interview with BENJAMIN ALADE, speaks on how Nigerian youths can explore their potentials through creative thinking while giving insights on its second edition of Thinkation. Excerpts:

Can you tell us about Thinkation? 

Thinkation is an event positioned to change the paradigm of the mindsets of people, particularly the young people of Africa and especially Nigeria.

It is a word coined out two words, Thinking and Education.

Nigerians are very educated both local and internally but they do not excise themselves in Thinking which leaves them being dependent on others when they have all it takes to attract the world to them. 

What propelled the concept ‘Thinkation’ and who are your target audience?
The indices regarding youth growth/population in the country against productivity is not good.

75 per cent of our populations are youths under 45 years, which computes about 135,000,000 youth in a population of 180,000,000 as at 2006 census.

It is reported that 40 per cent of the youth population cannot be employed because they don’t have skill – Please note that there is a difference between education and skill.

So we have so many young people who are educated and not thinking. The target audiences are young people between 18 and 45 years.    
Nigeria ranks highest in out of school leavers in the world, what efforts are in place through Thinkation to tackle this?
Entrepreneurship education is the way out. Our curriculum needs to be overhauled to accept that the worlds trend have change.

To keep them in school, we need to give them direction to show them where the world is going and they will be ready to learn.

We also need to improve the quality of our teachers and what they teach to our young minds.

Being the second edition, what sustainability processes are in place to retain the programme?
Content is continually shared on all our platforms and mentoring sessions also hold. Those who show interest grow into mentoring from our platforms and they attend master classes and Mastermind meetings.
Youths are easily carried away especially with social media, which sometimes corrupt their thoughts, how would this forum change the mindset of participants?

Youth follow what you give them, either good or bad.

The attention span of a youth now is nine seconds only so you need to engage then in ways that you can keep them hungry for more.

We need to pass more value content messages to them via this same social networks that they live daily on.

This event will have a lot of stories that they can relate with and also real life scenarios they can hear. The facilitators are not the textbook type.

Even with the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ bill being passed into law, active participation of youths in politics is still low. How would this initiative change the narrative?

It is one thing for a bill to be passed into law and another thing for the actualisation of the activity of the bill.

The question to ask is that are we ready for the responsibility it comes with, have we prepared ourselves to do politics as it should be done. I think we are only 30 per cent ready.

We need to push our understanding of how politics should be done or we will be doing politics like the people we are fighting to leave office. 

What were the significant achievements recorded after the first edition?

Many young minds were challenged and some started some progressive activities for themselves. The hunger rate to win in life is more now and it will show for the long term.

What do you see as the greatest challenge confronting youths, especially in Nigeria?

The dependency mindset being fed to us from wrong models and wrong educations techniques.

There are no jobs out there, we should change the curricula to teach our team how to create Jobs and reduce the unemployment quotient.  Our youth need mentors with values.  

In what ways can the government help in making this dream come to reality?

I believe the government needs to be sincere with their decisions when it comes to strategic development of the community for the mid and long term.

Constant reviews of the Global Competitive index reports should be reviewed and look at areas where we can grow competitively. Then we challenge ourselves to it for a better enabling environment.   

Compared to other parts of the globe, would you say youths in these parts have become competitive?

We are way behind but we have more values than youths outside.
How best can youths achieve their potential in this forum?

Through the discipline of mentorship and it must be intentional.

Going forward, what is the future of Thinkation?

I hope it turns into a movement that will drive the soul of our youth to protecting the integrity of our own Nigeria that our fore fathers fought to keep.
What is your expectation for the second edition?

It will be educational and Fun.

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