According to a recent article by Michael Oputeh, an employee of the Ministry of Information and Strategy in Lagos, young people are essential when it comes to ensuring the prosperity and stability of Nigeria. He asserts that any state that excludes young people from participating in the development of the country is seriously threatening its future. An environment of active participation must be generated among the younger generation. These act as the foundations of society. Their energy, ideas and character set the pace of the region’s development and security. Their dreams, hopes and energy are the source of a country’s motivation to grow, of its strength and destiny. If all these elements are successfully applied, the future of Nigeria can be guaranteed.
Young people are the majority in this African country; they account for 60% of the total population, approximately 80 million young people. This datum displays their vital important and, consequently, the need for policies that encourage employment and their inclusion in society. The vitality and intensity of young minds should spearhead the country; young people should be on the “front line” and become the vanguard of Nigeria. There is a very powerful connection between the welfare state and the implementation of youth development systems. In addition, young people have been the driving force of progress since time immemorial, playing a decisive role during the independence and subsequent introduction of the new system.
According to a recent report by the CBN – Central Bank of Nigeria – youth unemployment in Nigeria has reached the eye-watering figure of over 50%, 56 MILLION young people do not have jobs or work in highly precarious conditions. We should consider Nigeria’s population pyramid, the seventh most populated country in the world, to understand the scope of the problem.
Given this dramatic situation, we could propose several scenarios with possible solutions. First of all, the government must establish vocational training and youth empowerment programmes so that young people can develop their skills and competences in various economic sectors. Secondly, it is essential to encourage “social entrepreneurship” among young people through grants aimed at ICTs, funding development, public relations, development of management programmes… Finally, we must find synergies and promote public-private cooperation between the government, companies and NGOs. All this coupled with a population of young people who want to get involved and take on responsibilities.