By Oluwagbenga Oyebanji
The strength of any society is the resolve and determination of the youths. Nigeria’s potentials lie in the ability to invest hugely in the young people of this country. Fifty percent of Nigeria’s population is under the age of 30 years, 80% of our populations were given birth to after Biafra war. This is the challenge facing Nigeria to cater for the army of youths seeking employment opportunities; there is a common ground among politicians and bureaucrats that unemployment is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of our society.
Unemployment is a social vice, the consequence of it is high criminal engagement by the youths, like internet fraud, hooliganism/gangsterism, prostitution, drug cartels, militancy of various characteristics, both religious and politics. Nigeria is a nation of youths, our greatest resources lies in the empowerment of the youthful population. The potential for economic and technological advancement in Nigeria is clear for all to see, regardless of the challenges we face from rural- urban migration, infrastructural decay, security, education and agriculture. Nigeria still has the largest human resource pool in Africa, what we lack is the proper navigation to our desired destination.
Development of leadership culture in our youths is the only way to success in Nigeria, the entitlement culture in politics that makes most youths to be depending on crumbs from the political class is anathema to developing the confidence of our youths. The nation is blessed with the most versatile and creative youths the continent can boast of, but ineffective leadership is the bane. Nigeria craves for change agents to build the next generation of leaders. Financial aids from the west had only benefitted politicians in power and their cronies in government, business and religion. How do we build one of the best economies in the world? China, in 1978 by a leader Deng Xiaoping fashioned out a good system for their socio-economic advancement, most of the policies introduced to us by WORLD BANK and IMF failed, because the uniqueness of our culture were not factor in the policy arrangement.
Our culture is tailored mostly around religion and tribal supremacy, any policy to be introduced must pay attention to these two factors. The fourth industrial revolution will not have the right impact if these two factors are not considered greatly. What Nigeria need is industrial evolution and not revolution, comparing Nigeria to the western and eastern nations is a wild goose chase. Internet and social media culture became this big five years ago, 18 years ago, GSM came into our culture; compared to Europe and America that has been with this technology for over 30 years. The internet project started in America in 1957 by the US military, the World Wide Web was founded in the west in 1990 by Tim Berners Lee.
Charles Darwin theory of evolution states that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual ability to compete, survive and reproduce. It is a fact that technology is a major catalyst in Nigeria’s cultural advancement, with introduction of GSM, more jobs have been created, rural and urban Nigeria connected through communication and information which is voice and data technology. For Nigeria to be relevant in the 21st century, technological evolution is the key, we need to adapt to technological advancement from our cultural perspectives.
The fourth industrial revolution has dominated the way we live, but for it to be relevant we must allow technological advancement to evolve in the socio-economic environment. How do we transit Nigeria’s economy from oil dependent economy to information economy? It won’t happen overnight. It looks simple but very challenging, Nigeria has been depending on crude-oil as mainstay of the economy for 50 years, transiting will not happen suddenly, it will take real technological education and a strong and willing leadership. Building a data driven economy is the way to go, and making it a policy is a gradual process.
Thinking gradually and exponentially is the key. We have the resources, implementing the ideas is the challenge; our greatness lies in knowing our strength and taking advantage of it. This is not the time to play to the gallery, Nigeria can catch up with the west, and it’s just the right policy that’s needed. Regardless of the challenges, we will make it as a nation. It is a fact that we have a long way to go, but the truth is we have discovered the way.
God bless Nigeria, “The labor of our heroes’ shall never be in vain.”
Oyebanji is a motivational speaker/entrepreneur
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