Opinion: Why Nigerian youth must become entepreneurs

by Yusuf Ishaku Goje

Presumably, as we are all aware, that unemployment and poverty are two phenomenon that are here to stay with us due to evident factors that are overwhelming. For instance, in Nigeria institutionalized challenges such as bad leadership, corruption, ethno-religious nepotism, deficiency in good governance and inconsistent adherence to the rule of law over the years; have continued to conspire to ensure that our teeming youth stay unemployed.

No wonder statistics from the government agencies such as the National Bureau for Statistics have placed our unemployment rate around 31.2% as at the first quarter of 2016. While for the youth, 54% of its population is jobless; that is not putting into consideration the number of underemployed youth that can barely take care of their tiniest needs. On an alarming rate our high institutions are still vomiting out students into the labor market with no skill and the obsessive and more often than not illusive hope for government and the private sector to provide non-existent jobs for them.

One does not need rocket science to decipher the reasons for the high level of immoralities, criminalities and violent conflicts in our country today. What do you expect, if not hopelessness and anger from the youth population, when graduates are left to roam the streets seeking for jobs? While for does that try to engage in menial business quickly fold-up within the shortest possible time due to lack of policies and infrastructure to support their endeavor.

For the millions that have no education or skills; they are left to their fate, allowing them to be vulnerable to be engaged and used in various negatives vices by some of the same elites that refuse to empower them. What do you expect when our exuberant youth are not engaged in productive endeavors; they would surely find employment in negative and destructive ventures.

With the knowledge of the above painted picture; hope most not be lost; especially by our teeming energetic youth population, because they have in their possession the capacity and ability to bring themselves out of the mess those responsible for making things work have placed them in.

One sure way of achieving that; is through their involvement in entrepreneurship, even though the policies and infrastructure are either ineffective or non-existence. Many would be quick to ask how that is possible. If you would be conscious enough to look around; you would identify a lot of young people that against all odds through engaging in one business or the order, with great success; be it in trade, innovative and creative business, entertainment, technology, transport, agriculture and supply, among many.

How these individuals are able to succeed is the question that comes readily to mind. To provide the answer to the question; I would borrow a lengthy quote from Chris Oakley Obe, Chairman of Web Design company; he states that, “an entrepreneur sees opportunity which others do not fully recognize, to meet an unsatisfied demand or to radically improve the performance of an existing business. They have unquenchable self-belief that this opportunity can be made real through hard –work, commitment and the adaptability to learn the lessons of the market along the way”.

To any keen observer, it is obvious to see that to be a successful entrepreneur one has to work more on developing his/her capacity; than on relying on the government or any other environmental factors to succeed as an entrepreneur. Even if the government provides all that is necessary to young entrepreneurs, but without the commensurate capacity to make it work all things remain the same.

After all, entrepreneurs are not dependents or complainers; they always identify the challenges or problems other bitterly complain about, and proffer practicable and implementable solutions to them, thereby being paid for being solution-providers. The problem with our generation is that, while we do nothing productive with our time, we are quick to blame anybody who we choose to use as scapegoat for verbal assassination. Before we blame the government for their actions or inactions, please let us make sure we are doing something productive that would give us the moral right to criticize them.

If again we must tell ourselves the bitter truth, some of our youth are high-headed, impatient (desperate to get rich) and too lazy; that is why we do not last as entrepreneurs, that is for those of us who even dare to start, we refuse to face the reality that wealth and riches takes time, persistence, perseverance, commitment and determination. Again, I would like to quote Sam Hunsu to buttress my point, “they (entrepreneurs) are not diverted or discouraged by skepticism from experts or from those from whom they seek backing and support, but they are willing to weigh all advices (or opportunities) and select that which could be helpful (utilized)”.

Starting a business is not only what qualifies you to be an entrepreneur; self-development is also key and integral part of it, knowledge and skills must consistently be developed and improved upon in areas such as business planning, management, marketing, branding, advertising and networking. You must be up-to-date about your field of business to be competitive.

So our youth must abandon idleness, political sycophancy and extremism, social media abstract radicalism, among many more time and energy usurpers; and focus on how to conquer the challenges that confronts them, turning into positive and productive opportunities to change their lives and the nations.

Other countries are enjoying the benefit that comes with entrepreneurship such as increased development and employment. For instance, in the United states of America, according to the United States Census Bureau, there are about 21, 708, 021 small business ran by entrepreneurs. While in China, over 500,000,000 jobs have been created by 50,000,000 small businesses also owned by entrepreneurs. My brothers and sisters it is time to wear our thinking cap.

Yusuf Ishaku Goje
Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED)[email protected]

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