The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, yesterday urged various arms of government and public and private bodies in Nigeria to consider the alarming rate of youth unemployment and schools’ dropouts as a serious national issue that must be addressed without delay. This alarm was raised during a courtesy visit to him by officials of Longrich International Nigeria Ltd in Lagos.
The Ooni raised serious concerns about the high rate of unemployment in the country and calls on the government to address the issue urgently. He stressed that the greatest threat to Nigeria’s democracy is unengaged youths, saying: “Until something is done to address it, Nigeria’s future is bleak, its corporate existence is at risk.
“We are not save in Nigeria with the present condition of our youths. Current statistics show that Nigerian children between age of 18 and 20, who were school dropouts, is threatening and they are those born from 1999 upwards when Nigeria returned to democratic rule while majority of those between ages 21 to 45 are jobless. This is a serious threat to any country. I have told President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo that Nigeria needs to provide enabling environment for her youths to thrive.”
Oba Ogunwusi told his visitors, among who were wife of immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode; General Managing Director, Africa of Longrich, Alex Jia; Mrs. Titi Ejimagua, Mr. Seun Osofisan, Spokesman of Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin and his wife, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, that there were lots of inheritance in Yorubaland that could bring solutions to the challenges facing the country.
“There is need to modernise this inheritance for them to be useful in this modern age. How can we have this inheritance that could proffer solutions to our problems and we are not utilizing them?” he said. Ooni, who added that a lot of Nigerian youths are lost and the country is not doing anything to give them hope, urged officials of Longrich to start targeting the rural areas in the country as part of strategies if it really wants to make impact.
In his remark, Jia said that aside the multi-million dollar plant the company is building in the Lekki Trade Zone, which is targeted to employ not less than 5,000 young people, the company is also proposing to invest over $50 million to address the issue of poverty. Ejimagua specifically appealed to the Ooni to help in looking at what could be done to convince other well-meaning Nigerians to join hands in the fight against poverty eradication.“It is not what the government alone could handle,” she said.