Legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has lamented that Nigeria is in a crisis of unemployment, a situation he blamed on improper orientation of the younger population on jobs and entrepreneurship.
Chief Babalola stated this on Saturday in his remarks at the 6th Convocation Lecture of ABUAD, delivered by popular broadcast journalist and President of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh.
Chief Babalola said that the poverty level among Nigerians and the rampancy of crimes would remain on the rise unless leaders focused on how best to harness the potential of the younger population and ended politics of ethnicity to win elections.
Babalola said: “Nigeria is in crisis of unemployment today because graduates only think of getting employments with their certificates. Instead of this, think of what you can do on your own to help your situation.
“What I believe should be the vogue now is private public participation, because government can’t employ everybody. Don’t think of how much you can earn from government, but what you can make on your own. This accounted for why everybody sees politics as a lucrative business.
“Ngeria is a country of nations, with diverse interests and people, so the only thing that can bridge the gap is functional education. If we can have three or four schools like ABUAD, Nigeria will be better for it.”
Momoh, delivering a lecture entitled: “Deconstructing the Nigerian Conundrum as a Panacea for National Cohesion and Transformation,” lamented that ethnic politics and unproductive youth population were two major impediments stunting the socio-political and economic growth of the country.
He said Nigerian leaders, from independence, had been relying on ethnicity to win elections, saying this had caused erosion of national integration efforts of the federal government.
He said the Federal Government, upon realising the destruction such tendency, had caused to the nation, instituted the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, insisting that politicians still frustrated government’s efforts via consistent reliance on ethnic divisions to win elections.
According to Momoh, the socio-economic and political problems of the nation could only be resolved if government developed the youth population by making them healthy, educated and productive.
He said: “In trying to find solutions to our crisis, it is important to emphasize the significance of our youth population. If nation’s youths are educated, healthy and productive, be assured that the nation will grow. If other variables are added, be confident of a prosperous future for Nigeria.
“Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he founded Facebook, the networking site. Bill Gates founded Microsoft at 20, Steve Jobs was 21 when he invented Apple, Google’s Larry page was 25; Larry Ellison of Oracle was 32 when they started. So, our youths must be audacious to face the challenges.”
On the preponderance of ethnic politics and its dire consequences on the nation, Momoh said: “The lack of unity among us led to the formations of Arewa Consultative Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Oodua Peoples Congress and they are all waxing stronger. Each of these ethic groupings speaks for their people; none speaks for Nigeria. They only talk about their ethnic nationalities.
“If we look at what is happening to us today, we will see that ethnicity is a negative value. It has contributed nothing but disunity in diversity, as ethnic groups are closer and their interest are of priority than national interest.
“Across the length and breadth of Nigeria, ethnic politics can’t be avoided, our politics is ethnic-oriented. The grounds upon which president, governors and others are elected, ministers appointed, contracts awarded and policies are made, are on ethnicity.
“At every election, importance have been placed on where candidates come from rather than the right candidates for election. The only way we can navigate out of this conundrum is by finding a platform where national interest can be promoted and this will start with harnessing the potentials of our youths,” he stated.