A former minister of State for Finance, Aderemi Babalola, has underscored the importance of youths, especially Muslim youths, to nation building. Babalola who blamed the mismanagement of oil proceeds for the current economic challenges faced by Nigeria, tasked youths to stay in country and contribute to Nigeria’s growth instead of running out 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 students across the 57 Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas in Lagos. According to him, Nigeria will regain its economic pride if youths become more productive by creating their own businesses rather than running to other countries for greener pastures.
He said: “Many youths now believe that deciding to stay in Nigeria 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. “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 is sharing the money within the three tiers of government and it encourages corruption and that is the reason why the country has not been developed.”
The Amir (President) of the MSSN Lagos, Saheed Ashafa, who lamented Nigeria’s overdependence and reliance on oil, challenged youths to be engage in activities that would make them self-reliant.
He said, “One key problem that has relegated the growth of Nigeria remains over-reliance on foreign countries and single resource – Oil.
This initiative is aimed at engaging youths and students to provide a lasting solution to the deep-rooted economic challenge confronting the Nigerian populace.
“Youths, regardless of the challenges faced must begin to take bold step towards being selfreliant.
A situation where youths rely solely on paid employment and refuse to own businesses is dangerous for a developing country like Nigeria.
Government at all levels must take as a priority the creation of a conducive business environment for start-ups and existing businesses.”
He subsequently appealed to stakeholders in the education sector to look into the country’s education curriculum and ensure seriousness in the taking of courses like entrepreneurship that would assist graduates from our institutions to address unemployment scourge.
While speaking on the theme of the competition, ‘‘Self-sufficiency for the Nigerian Nation’, a chartered accountant, Mr. AbdulHakeem Bashorun, said government must be ready to assist Small and Medim Scale Enterprises if Nigeria must grow.
After the keenly contested competition among over 500 students from 57 LGAs and LCDAs in Lagos State, Kehinde AbdulWarith, AdeyemoYusuf, and Alim Muiz from Isolo area emerged victorious.