- Nigeria cannot afford to waste its most precious resource, which is its young people.
- Elumelu says If we focus on the young people in our respective states, empower them, and create an enabling environment for them to succeed, we will solve our problems in this country.
- Lack of economic hope or opportunity leads young men to carry towards insecurity and terrorism.
Nigerian Billionaire industrialist, Tony Elumelu revealed that the lack of economic hope or opportunity that leads skilled Nigerians to seek economic opportunities outside.
He added that Nigeria must focus on its young people in our respective states, empower them, create an enabling environment for them to succeed, and we will solve our problems in this country.
Elemelu disclosed this while addressing new and returning Governors at the 2023 Governors Forum, speaking on ‘Entrepreneurship, Youth Engagement and Wealth Creation’.
The Transcorp Boss stated that the dynamics of governance in Nigeria calls for preparedness and this programme is laudable in laying the important groundwork, citing that No one can underestimate the role of good governance in contributing to the development of Nigeria, he added:
- “Our country has a population of about 220 million people – the largest in Africa. Each state in Nigeria has different dynamics, but there is one constant, the great majority are young people.
- “Success will mean prioritizing the largest stakeholder Group in our States, our youth.”
He also added that Nigeria’s destiny can only be achieved with public and private sectors working together for the common good.
- “An entrepreneur has a stake in our country’s success. An entrepreneur carries others, family, employees, and communities with him or her.
- “An entrepreneur wants stability, power, education, respect and certainty in their environment. With this foundation, entrepreneurs can be the engines of our growth. This is why I champion entrepreneurship amongst our youth.
State Cooperation and GDP per Capital
He urged that every state in Nigeria can be a country and Governors must see themselves as the Presidents of their states, CEOs and lead mentors, citing the Singapore model, a country with 6 million people, no oil, no abundance of natural resources, which he says focused on just human resources and purposeful leadership.
- “Today, the per capita GDP stands at USD55,000, up from USD 500 in 1965 making the country one of the most developed countries in the world.
- “But how did they get there? It was not a mistake; it took deliberate actions by focused leadership – a combination of sound financial and economic policy coupled with a corruption-free environment and technological advancement.”
Youth Economic Challenges and Solutions
He noted that as a private sector leader with investments in key sectors of the Nigerian economy through Heirs Holdings, Transcorp and UBA Group he sees challenges faced by Nigeria’s young, adding:
- “Together, our Group employs 40,000 people across Nigeria, and I can attest first-hand to the wave of skilled young people leaving the country for ‘greener pastures’. The Japa syndrome.
- “We must tell ourselves the truth, the world today is so global that talent will always move to where conditions are most favourable.
- “We cannot afford to waste our most precious resource, our young people.
- “It is not rocket science. If we focus on the young people in our respective states, empower them, and create an enabling environment for them to succeed, we will solve our problems in this country
- “It is a lack of economic hope or opportunity that leads a young man to carry an AK47 and join a terrorist or bandit group.”
Finally, he advised the governors and leaders to pause and reflect as they commence this journey – to reflect on their legacy and how history will judge them, stating:
- “What greater legacy is there than your gift to the next generation – Give our youth economic hope, and they will transform our country.”
Recall Nairametrics reported that Nigeria’s ex-Finance Chief, and WTO DG, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala also addressed the Governors forum.
Okonko-Iweala noted that while Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP ratio may not look so alarming, the debt service to revenue is certainly alarming as revenues decline.
She advised the state governors to be mindful of the debt profile of their states, control expenditures as well as invest in infrastructure, education, and basic health systems.
She also said that the country needs political and business leaders at the state and national levels to come together in pursuit of growth and development policies.