Don’t run away from Nigeria, ex-minister tells youths

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Sodiq Oyeleke

A former Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Aderemi Babalola, has expressed concern over the growing rate at which Nigerian youths are running abroad as a means to escape the current economic challenges in the country.

He said this at the Young Managers’ Quiz Competition organised by the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Area Unit, for primary and secondary school pupils across all the Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas in Lagos.

According to him, Nigeria will regain its pride if youths become more productive by creating their own businesses rather than running to other countries for greener pastures.

Babalola said, “Many youths now believe that deciding to stay in the country is the worst choice to take. Yes! It is tough, but running away is not the best decision to make. There are better opportunities here too. As citizens of Nigeria, we need to make some sacrifices.

“Start thinking about what should happen in 20 years’ time. Nigeria presents an unusual opportunity for entrepreneurs because all the things have not been done. Things are waiting for people to come and do them, so opportunities are here.”

The ex-minister, who served between 2006 and 2010, blamed the mismanagement of oil proceeds for the current economic challenges being faced by Nigeria.

He added, “We had so much money that came all of a sudden from oil. If we had used that money to develop our infrastructure, productive aspects that will enable individuals to do whatever they want to do, it would have been a different ball game.

“That’s what some other countries actually did. But what we did in our own case was sharing the money among the three tiers of government, and this encourages corruption and that is the reason why the country has not been developed.”

The Amir, MSSN Lagos, Saheed Ashafa, while lamenting Nigeria’s over-dependence and reliance on oil, challenged youths to engage in activities that would make them self-reliant.

He said, “One key problem that has relegated the growth of Nigeria remains the over-reliance on foreign countries and a single resource, oil. Youths, regardless of the challenges being faced, must begin to take bold steps towards being self-reliant.

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