One of the easiest ways to get people to be responsible is to give them a stake in whatever you are doing, building a nation of widely and evenly distributed economic opportunities should be the priority of the leaders of the modern world.
I have often wondered why it’s such a big deal to use our problems to solve our problems?
A nation that is plagued with a huge youth unemployment is also face with an unimaginable level of infrastructure deficit, so it’s obvious that we do not lack the opportunities but the know-how to deal with the issues.
For a country with this tremendous amount of human resources some good managers of men would relish the opportunity to galvanise the human capital to build the country into a world wonder, the unfortunate part of this huge gift of nature to us is that it quickly becomes a big problem the moment it isn’t adequately harnessed and channeled to the appropriate quotas.
Man is like wind, you can manage it and use it to turn your turbine and generate electricity or you can leave it to wander around and occasionally break down your pools, bring down your roof or even bring down your house, perhaps the same thing with water one may say, you channel water into irrigations and wet your farms or you could allow same water to become flood and sweep away your crops or buildings sometimes even roads.
Its amazing to see the similarities between these natural forces and human beings, if a country is able to harness her population to become efficiently productive, such nations grow very quickly in diverse dimensions but those that failed to develop their people are often faced with insecurity, ethnic crises and several other social vices.
But how do we address these issues now that we are here, we have over 30million of our young people roaming on the unemployment street and the number is growing astronomically, how do we deal with this bulging population?
It’s time to put on the thinking cap.
There is only solution I see right now, it’s called industrialisation, but how do we move from a consuming nation to a producing country? Can we just switch off from one to the other? Or do we have to go through the processes underwent by the developed countries?
In my opinion, we don’t have to go through the processes entirely but we have to develop the character of such nations, where our focus would be on dealing with our issues tenaciously and holistically, we have to develop some problem solving skills and deploy them in every sectors of our society.
There are two urgent steps that need to be taken, open up Nigeria market to Multi-national companies (MNC) and empower our SMEs.
A tomato processing company in Malumfashi in Katsina state would take in nothing less than 7,500 young people, from sorting to packaging to distribution, a large number of the employees here wont need a university degree, this company would be complimented by a photovoltaic power generation company that would do a direct supply to the company.
A shoe manufacturer in Kano, a television manufacturer in Edo and a marble factory in Niger state, these factories would create a combined job of almost 50,000 or more, then look into house construction, road building etc, get the young people running shift in different companies.
Once you can successfully engage these young people, the issue of insecurity would be reduced drastically.
The office of the president of Nigeria is not a palace of ceremonial activities, it’s a work station, people going there must come with their thinking caps on, the quality of ideas coming from there must be subjected to a tough test, and the implementation must be followed through thoroughly.
The beautiful thing about solving this sort of problem is that if you are successfully able to design a model, it can deployed across the country with minimal alterations, and the moment you get the multinationals to be active in production not in extraction only, you can the unleash the SMEs to run around the country with their services or small contributions.
We have almost 40million SMEs in Nigeria at the moment, just imagine that at least half of that is empowered with the capacity to recruit just two more staff, your guess is as good as mine, we would be looking for foreigners to do some of our jobs like it was in the 70s.
But if we continue to ignore this issue and keep sharing money from oil, the days ahead are going to be tough, I advice our politicians not to burden the next generation with their greed of today.
We cannot have a growing debt competing with a growing population and a growing unemployment and expect that our streets would be safe for us.
It’s time for our leaders to be problem solvers and not become our problems.
Mathias Tsado was a presidential aspirant in the last general election.
Opinions expressed in this article are solely the writer’s, not ALEDEH’S