By Samuel Bankole
Nigeria is in crises in various sectors due to the failure of the country to invest in the youth and empower them to tap their potentials, according to the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.
While delivering this year’s Fourquare Gospel Church Lecture titled, ‘National security challenges: Youth neglect?’ Obi said the neglect of education and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by successive government has brought the nation to its present parlous economic conditions and breed insecurity.
“The neglect of our youths by our country is by not investing; one, in education, which is the most critical component of human development, and two, not investing in the engine that drives the economy; micro, small and medium enterprises.
“These have created a pool of unemployed and underemployed youths which are the causes of the crises we are facing today.
“We have more youths that are unemployed here than in South Africa because of our population and that is a crisis we are experiencing.
“These youths do not know where the next meal would come from and the consequence of that is we have the highest drug recurrence in the world.
He said the best way to resolve the insecurity being confronted by the country today is for the government to invest in both human capital and support the youth in creating job via SMEs.
He said youth neglect is a serious thing and if the country refuse to do something about it, then the economy and the people are doomed.
He charged the church to stop celebrating politicians who underdeveloped the country through their act of corruption.
According to him, politician stolen the country money which was meant for development, yet the church keep praying for them and celebrate them, which said continue to embolden them to steal more.
On her part, Cecilia Oladapo, a professor at the University of Lagos called for regionalization of the country to ensure that each section of the country develop at their own pace.
She traced the problem of the country to the forceful amalgamation of the disparate tribes and ethnics together in one country.
She said the country has not been blessed with leaders who can weld the various components together without one tribe lording it over the rest.
The professor of adult education also called for investment in the educational sector to empower the youth and ensure that they are gainfully engaged for the betterment of the country.
In his remarks, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Mosunmola Shasore, noted that dwindling economic conditions were some of the factors responsible for social vices among youths.
“There have been no deliberate policies to neglect the youths. The truth, however, is that impact of a dwindling economy would be felt mostly by the youths who would have to face the challenges of unemployment, job losses and the lack of capacity to take advantage of opportunities to earn a decent livelihood.
The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, who was represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Ayodele Jinadu, said, “Nigeria as a country is a work in progress, and we must not throw our youths into the dustbin of time.
“We owe the community, the state and the nation our collaborative effort in making things right.”
On his part, the General Overseer of Foursquare, Sam Aboyeji said any nation that failed to give attention to the youths will be doing so at its own peril.