Ugo Aliogo and Chidinma Okonkwo
As part of efforts to address the unemployment challenges facing the country, Nigeria youths have been charged to invest in agriculture and harness the useful potentials of the sector.
The advice was given at a recent interactive session organised by the Centre for Ethics and Cultural Orientation (CECO) in Lagos.
Speaking at the one of the resources persons, Pastor Michael Awopetu urged the youths around the country to determine what they aspire to become in life, adding that government needs to provide the right enabling environment to encourage the youths to engage into profitable ventures. According to Awopetu, “agriculture is one important area in which youths can develop themselves.”
He stated that over the years there have been good policy intentions from various governments in power, which were not realised, and therefore “government should provide skills acquisitions programmes to enable these youths gain skills and knowledge. Government should create an internship programme where members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) will venture into agriculture and acquire skills that will enable them make a viable living.”
Awopetu expressed hope that if this is done, it would tackle the food crisis facing the nation, while urging government to see this opportunity as a means to meaningfully empower the youths and change their orientation of depending only on white collar jobs.
“If we want to diversify our economy, we should start from the youths. We should give them practical agriculture for the one year National youth service programme and you will discover that the country will be better. Nigeria has enough land for agriculture and natural resources which can be of immense use to the nation’s economy. Agriculture is a wide area that youths can go into; there is aqua-culture, arable crop production and others.
“Agriculture can be a strong foreign exchange earner for the nation. There is no plan for Nigerian youths and except they take control of their affairs, they will not be able to survive. The main challenge we have in Nigeria is that we conceive ideas, but those ideas are not sustainable. Due to lack of sustainable youth development programmes, we have now youth uprising as the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).”
In her address, the Sunday Punch Editor, Toyosi Ogunseye, advised the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ) students to focus on their dreams and dedicate their time on their potentials, adding that hard work, mentoring and walking in the company of the right group of friends is very important.
According to her, “the only way to create a signature is discovering what others are not doing.”