By Chuka Okeke
In an environment such as our, one wonders how youths can come across platforms or avenues for investments or start-up businesses. Fortunately, there are fora such as summits, seminars, conferences, etc that come in handy where youth can get useful ideas in the area of their specific need.
One of such meetings held recently in Enugu State, The Oganiru Enugu State Investment Summit. It emphasized on key areas open for investment, especially in the State.
The summit was attended by key industry leaders and top financial investors who enlightened participants on the areas for investment and how they could go about it. Such key areas were: solid minerals and mining, real estate, hospitality and tourism, entertainment, transportation and agriculture.
According to Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President, youths, should not miss out on meetings like this, where they will not only tap from the pool of knowledge available but also gain from networking opportunities which serves as a platform for harnessing their talents.
At the just concluded Solidarity rally in Enugu by Youth For Ikeoha, a non-Governmental Organisation in support of the Deputy Senate President, he emphasised the need to invest in youth. According to him, such investment will serve as a golden key that unlocks the present predicament in the country today.
Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with a population of over 170million and among the top ten most populous nations in the world,with the youth contributing a great margin. According to the National Baseline Youth Survey (2012), the population of youth in Nigeria is in the estimates of 64 million of which 51.6% are female and 48.4% are male while 5.9 million children are added to the population yearly. Imagine what empowering 64 million youth could do to an economy,the effect will be massive and unprecedented!
Put simply, there are many geniuses and great minds amongst our youth that go to waste for lack of opportunity and resources. Recently, a University of Lagos graduate, Mr. Ayodele Daniel, had a cumulative GPA of 5.00 in the department of Psychology, the best in the country so far.
The likes of Mr. Ayodele abound and investing in these individuals will empower the youth to be leaders today and tomorrow and indirectly create highly cerebral experts that can push the economy to greater heights in the future. It is common knowledge that Nigerians have some of the best brains in the world, unfortunately these brains are not well appreciated.
He said all leaders, himself inclusive should offer young people a vision for the future. he then went on to provide tips that would be beneficial to youths who want to succeed in the present economic situation.
Firstly, while we all appreciate the need to tap into Agriculture, it is important that experts are recruited to train the teeming young population on the benefits of Agriculture using modern methods. Abakaliki,Ebonyi State’s capital for example arguably has one of the best soils for rice planting in Nigeria.
If well harnessed and youths empowered, the nation can become an exporter of rice. Same for other farm produce. A wholesale/retail point mimicking the likes of Shoprite, where only locally made farm products are sold, would go a long way in keeping youths busy thereby increasing internally generated revenue. A walk down memory lane would remind us that Agriculture was the boom of our economy before the Oil boom of the 1970s.
Furthermore, arts and craft as well as technology cannot be ignored. Most youths are gifted with their ‘hands’. Some can be the best designers and artists in the world if there’s a conducive environment to harness these potentials. Recall that Aba, in Abia State, was once the boom of commerce some years ago.
The city exported good products to most West African countries. If youths are adequately empowered, the nation stands to benefit tremendously.
We have youths who are technologically savvy. A forum can be formed where this group of talents will be funded and empowered to create something worthwhile that can be exported to other countries to grow the economy. China did it and today its economic power is in leaps and bounds. We can do it too. We have the number and the brains we just need the right environment and support to harness our potentials.
The Senator call on all elected officials to put a stop to neglect of the youth, address their problems and embrace them as an integral and important part of the society, so that their generation is not lost to crime, drugs,violence and other prevalent social ills is very timely.
Mr. Chuka Okeke, a member of the Youth for Ikeoha, wrote from Enugu, Enugu State.
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