Dr. Chibundu Aku
This year, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) estimated the population of the country to be about 184 million. This huge figure makes Nigeria the country with the largest population on the African continent and the world’s seventh most populous country. Figures released by the NBS last year put the country’s youth unemployment rate at 13.41 percent. This year’s figures are likely to have grown and will continue to grow if drastic measures are not taken to arrest the trend.
The soaring rate of youth unemployment, expectedly, is a source of concern for government and every Nigerian. Unemployment is a major cause of insecurity in addition to a plethora of other societal challenges, some of which have debilitating consequences.
The prevalent view is that government, all by itself, cannot successfully address the challenge of youth employment, especially now that the economic climate is inclement. Government and experts have frequently called on corporate bodies to assist the government by developing initiatives targeted at making the country’s young people gainfully employed and useful to the society. The call has been answered by some corporate bodies through development of various youth empowerment programmes as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility interventions. These programmes have attracted the attention and recognition of both the government and various professional bodies.
One of such recognition platforms is the just concluded BrandPower Golden Icons Awards, which seeks to recognize and celebrate brands that have contributed to the development of the country. At the awards ceremony, which held in Lagos on 9 November, MultiChoice emerged winner of the Youth Empowerment through Access to Information Award.
On reflection, I realized that not many corporate bodies in the country see entertainment as a means of youth empowerment. MultiChoice Nigeria, however, stands out as one. Through its DStv and GOtv platforms, MultiChoice has positioned itself an authentic voice and credible platform of expression for young Nigerians as well as one that offers them a way out of the grip of socio-economic challenges.
In his keynote address at the ceremony, entitled “Winning strategies for customer winning brands of the future”, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. John Ugbe, listed four crucial conditions for building a winning brand. These, he said, are consistency, commitment, authenticity and trust.
He further explained that for over two decades, MultiChoice Nigeria has provided its customers with quality local content that has resonated across the continent. And in a brief chat with Ugbe after his address, I discovered that in 2014 alone, MultiChoice Nigeria contributed N34 billion to the country’s GDP.
In the area of youth employment, MultiChoice through its GOtv Sabimen scheme, which provides participants with training in the rudiments of service activation, response to customer enquiries and resolution of issues on GOtv, has empowered over 5,000 young Nigerians and more than 10,000 dealers, retailers, installers and sales agents.
In the area of education, MultiChoice has furnished schools across the country with over 400 MultiChoice Resource Centers (MRCs). The centers are designed to grant beneficiary public schools access to the special MultiChoice Education Bouquet with the aim of integrating the programmes into the school curriculum to further enhance the teaching and learning processes in the classrooms.
Nollywood continues to feel the positive impact of MultiChoice. With the eight outstanding channels of Africa Magic, thousands of young Nigerians have been directly and indirectly employed to be in front of or behind the camera in many Africa Magic productions such as Tinsel, The Johnsons and Jara.
The Youth Empowerment through Access to Information award, which MultiChoice Nigeria won, is indeed a true attestation to several youth empowerment schemes the organization has initiated and an uncomplicated indication of that MultiChoice is committed to enriching the lives of Nigerian youth.