Skill acquisition crucial to tackling unemployment, says VP Osinbajo
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has identified youth empowerment and skill acquisition as key ingredients to tackle unemployment in the country.
With a rapid population growth that will make Nigeria the third-largest population in the world in three decades, Osinbajo said the solution is to create opportunities for young people to work, innovate and produce.
The vice president who disclosed this in his lecture at the 8th convocation ceremony of Osun State University, Osogbo said, “Having grown up in a country that they have been told does not work, many of our young people have succumbed to what can only be described as existential hopelessness.”
In the lecture titled, “Six decades of chequered nationhood: Nigeria still holds the key to Africa’s development,” the vice president noted that the young people must be equipped with the right skills for employment.
“Solution is in creating opportunities for young people to work, innovate and produce. Ensuring that they have the right skills, that there is access to cheap credit for startups and MSMEs generally.
“We believe that President Buhari’s administration is tackling the constraints that might exist to growing our landscape to opportunities. The first is skill. The goal is to train two million young Nigerians over the next four years and 10 million over a decade. It is not enough to have trained and skilled hands, there must be a marketplace that provides opportunities for entrepreneurship and work. Today, there are specific funds promoted by the Central Bank of Nigeria and Bank of Industry and the African Development Bank (AFDB) that address capital constraints to small and medium businesses in the technology and creative industries.
“The second is that our most important resource is people and not oil. And that the next few years what we invest substantially in human capital development.
The third is that merit, not quotas must be the first consideration in preference for public positions.
“Nigeria must follow the rules that others have followed and become great. Good governance, the rule of law and an unwavering commitment to the anti-corruption especially in the public service. No nation where corruption is the norm has ever been able to achieve great things,” Osinbajo added.
On his part, the vice-chancellor, Prof Labode Popoola said they have redirected the institution back to the path paved for it by its founding fathers, which is to be a centre of excellence, providing high-quality teaching and learning experiences which will engender the production of high calibre entrepreneurial graduates capable of imparting their environment while being globally competitive.
We have also continued to improve on facilities and equipment, just as we continue to invest in human capital development. These three are the key ingredients and necessary requirements towards achieving a world-class higher learning environment stature.
He said, “Noting our responsibility as a knowledge economy player, we have continued to place emphasis on increased access. This is because of our belief in the capacity of higher education in destroying the myth of underdevelopment and the cycle of poor growth.
As part of efforts to create a better society, the vice-chancellor disclosed that the institution has commenced a start-up scheme for alumni members who have innovative proposals.
“The idea is to create a pool of entrepreneurs and job creators. Each successful proposal will receive a start-up capital of N200, 000 repayable over a period of three years at a one-digit interest rate,” Prof Popoola said.