The Chief of Staff to the President, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has called on all stakeholders to ensure that the massive and growing population of Nigerian youths are engaged in productive endeavours, earning a good living and competing favourably with their peers across the world.
Gbajabiamila who said this at Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH)’s 35th convocation lecture titled, ‘Empowering Nigerian Youths in the Present Day Economy’, explained that achieving the goal requires all stakeholders to rethink all assumptions and recognise that the current realities demand hard and honest questions and answers.
According to him, “our world has changed. The old certainties from which we derived assurance and built our expectations no longer exist. The value of the extractive industries that have powered our economic growth has deteriorated. It continues to do so rapidly as technological advances lead us toward a future where crude oil and coal are replaced by renewable solar, wind, and water alternatives.”
He expressed concern about the rapidly growing population for whom there are few jobs and limited opportunities for social and economic advancement, adding that young people must receive an education that inspires them to innovate and empowers them with the skills and confidence to participate in the global economy.
“We must ensure that our higher education institutions are citadels that produce graduates who have the desire and drive to change the world and who have the ability to do so,” the chief of staff stated.
Gbajabiamila explained that government has the mandate to use the instruments of legislation and policy to create a more enabling environment, to use the appropriations process to make investments in critical infrastructure and ensure that in the capital expenditure framework, priority is given to projects that have the potential to open new markets and transform communities by making them more attractive to foreign and local investors.
He congratulated the graduating students, saying that they should open their minds to the possibilities and devote themselves to lifelong learning and self development.
In his remarks, the Rector of the college, Dr. Ibraheem Abdul stated that the theme of the convocation lecture was significant because of its relevance in the various challenges and opportunities that come with a rapidly evolving global economy.
He said it is imperative that the youths are equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to navigate the dynamic landscapes so that they can contribute successfully to the society.
The Senate President and Chairman of the occasion, Godswill Akpabio, called on the relevant authorities to seek ways of ensuring that the college transitions to a university and be acknowledged.
Akpabio, who was represented by a human rights activist, Monday Ubani, congratulated the graduating students, saying, “life is a journey. The mindset of our youths must be re-engineered. You must put on your thinking caps and brace up for the challenges ahead. You need strength, stamina, speed and the spirit to succeed.”