By Funmilayo Adeyemi
The President, Read and Earn Federation (REF), Prince Abdulsalami Ladigbolu, has called on president-elect Bola Tinubu to plan for the development of local talents for global success.
Ladigbolu made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday, while congratulating Tinubu on his victory at the presidential elections.
He said that Tinubu’s emergence at this crucial time in Nigeria’s history was indeed timely, adding that his emergence would be a litmus test that must overcome all the shortcomings, brimstone and negativity that had stained the status of Nigeria.
“As a concerned citizen and strong believer and supporter of smart intellectuals, who believe in inter-generational mentorship and solidarity, I put forward to you my opinion about the plight of Nigerian youth and the urgent action that needs to be taken to ensure our youth achieve global success.
“I believe that there is no keener revelation of society’s soul than the way in which it treats its youth because discouraging them is simultaneously destroying the nation’s prosperity.
“This is because Nigeria at present is caught between a slippery muddy cliff and a distant rocky fall and the ultra-light beam for sustainable development for a nation, starts with the mental acceptance of a working ideology conceived by the nation’s leadership and its subordinates.”
“Nigeria is one of the world’s largest producers of crude oil and with an abundance of gas and mineral resources, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy.
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that Nigeria could become the ninth-largest economy in the world by 2050 if it mobilises its 200 million population into a nation of entrepreneurs and producers,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria’s population advantage can become its Achilles heel as it currently struggles to overcome rising unemployment, unstable power supply, poor education and poverty.
Ladigbolu said Nigeria had a range of issues ranging from government’s fiscal deficit “which is expanding above budget, unemployment that is trending upwards and uncertainty around petrol prices all combine to create an atmosphere of economic instability.
“This uncertainty means that the West African nation has seen a steady outflow of its most promising young talent to Europe, leaving behind a damaging human capital problem.
“With an entrepreneurial deficit, the country is unable to develop the broad-based economy needed to provide employment, competition, and innovation as well as insulation from the global price and demand shocks in its natural resource markets.
“Mass unemployment and poverty means that many Nigerians lack the basic amenities of life and are vulnerable to crimes such as human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
“Furthermore, Nigeria’s youth population sits precariously at over 55 per cent of the total population,” he said.
Ladigbolu said Nigeria’s youth population boasts some of the most original creative in the world, saying that if given the right tools and environment, Nigerian youth could compete at the highest levels in various industries and exceed expectations.
He, therefore, called for a meaningful enrichment and sustainable programmes in four identified critical areas among the youth such as intellectual, leadership, economy and digital technology capacity building.
He said this would contribute to and accelerate the provision of such improved competencies and capabilities that would in turn enhance the enlightenment of Nigerian youth about the dynamics of international markets.