Young and Useful Engaging the Youth for a Prosperous Nigeria. Essay

I. ABSTRACT The future of every nation lies in its youths. But the nature of such tomorrow depends on how well their energies are harnessed. The dream of many youths for Nigeria is that in which the youths are productive and active participants in the drive for a prosperous nation. For their dreams to be achieved, they must have opportunities to develop their potentials and talents. The world is experiencing a bulge in its youth population and as a result there has been a dearth of employment as the current labour market cannot accommodate the number of youths seeking employment.

Of particular concern is that countless young people in developing countries like Nigeria will reach employment age within the next decade but the question is: Where is the employment opportunities? Frustration in the search for livelihood heightens the attraction of youths to illicit activities manifesting in social instabilities we observe nowadays. In this essay I also discussed the social and economic consequences of youth unemployment in Nigeria whilst providing solutions through the ‘Young and Useful’ club.

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The club is a youth-led project that aims to resolve youth joblessness through skills acquisition and entrepreneurship while also seeking to turn youth advocates of social change by their active participation in community service. The club partners with the local community, organisations and government agencies to achieve its goals. It also seeks other financial measures at ensuring that access to funds which is a main obstacle to business start-ups by youths is tackled. II. INTRODUCTION

People-centred and participatory approaches to development rightly ask questions about the role of young people in contributing to and driving societal advancement. How can their enormous potential be harnessed? How can young people be integrated into existing societal and economic structures, rather than being left out? Sheer numbers justify this concern; the world population now has the largest ever share of youths. Young people make up 24. 7 percent of the world’s working age population. However of this number, some 85 million to 90 million can’t find a job while a staggering 300 million are working but earning US$2 a day or less .

Nigeria has a population of 140 million people with 80 million youths- and 60% youth unemployment rate. The youth constitutes one of the biggest untapped resources to build solutions for the country’s developmental challenges. Youth unemployment in Nigeria have been associated with problems relating to inexperience of young job seekers, limited opportunities, fall of the agricultural sector, poor infrastructure such as power and transportation that aids business development and an environment hostile to young entrepreneurs.

The reality today is that the rate of job creation in the formal sector of the nation‘s economy cannot cope with the population growth rate and output of our schools which makes it imperative that we start giving attention to entrepreneurship and small and medium scale enterprises development if this time bomb called youth unemployment must end. III. EFFECTS OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT IN NIGERIA Unemployment results not only in household poverty but also in losses to the economy in terms of potential output, tax revenues and human capital.

It is agreed that youth employment is a critical element of a nation’s stability and a proven antidote to the loss of hope which often results in social and political turmoil . “Jobless growth isn’t just bad social policy, it is bad economics,” says ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “It results in less consumption, more migration and lower aggregate demand” . Today when I look around, I see a society marred by a myriad of problems arising from youth unemployment with youth restiveness topping the list. In view of this I carried out a survey of 137 people in my community Osogbo on what they think is the major cause of youth restiveness.

The results are displayed below; Causes of Youth Restiveness FrequencyPercentage Inadequate communication with parent. 139. 5 % Drug abuse 3021. 9 % Unemployment 7856. 9 % Inadequate recreational facilities 1611. 7% TOTAL: 137100% From the table unemployment ranks high accounting for 78 out of a total 137 respondents who believe it’s the cause of youth restiveness, 30 respondents believe it is drug abuse while 16 and 13 respondents believe that the main causes are inadequate recreational facilities and lack of communication with parent respectively.

The survey confirms the perception that unemployment is a major cause of youth restiveness. Insecurity: The frustration in the search for livelihood heightens the attraction to illicit activities and intensifies the anger directed at society, manifesting in various forms of social disturbance including violent extremism and radicalization. In the last few years there has been a surge in armed conflicts, ethnic and religious violence in Nigeria; the north is riddled with religious crisis with youths as major actors while in the south there’s a running battle between government forces and restive youths in the Niger Delta region.

The region is known for its vast oil reserves and the country depends largely on this region for it revenues, but with oil bunkering and attacks on oil installations in the region the country has suffered huge losses which has affected government spending as evident in the large difference between budget and income. Recent figures has shown an astronomical rise in insecurity, in 2008 alone the violence claimed about 1,200 lives and accounted for over 320 abductions, including those of 48 foreign oil workers which has led to production cuts by oil majors .

Fuel scarcity, oil spills, environmental degradation, destruction of farmland and aquatic life caused by damage done to oil pipelines by militants is now commonplace. Also youths in Nigeria have thrown honesty, hard work and patriotism to the waste bin. It is therefore no coincidence that kidnapping, oil bunkering, armed robbery and advance fee fraud in Nigeria has become thriving businesses, nor is it shocking that many disillusioned young men heed the call of violent religious groups such as Boko Haram to cause massive destruction of lives and property.

The Boko Haram crisis of 2009 can be traced to youth redundancy, since these youths are despondent and have nothing to look forward to; they believe there’s nothing to lose. As I write the people of Nigeria mourn the death of hundreds of people killed in the recent Jos political crisis which cannot be but linked to youth joblessness. Nowadays, people sleep with their one eye open and are always in constant fear of an attack.

My family had to make a forced migration due to incessant religious crisis some few years ago, which adversely affected my education and caused untold hardship on the family as it was hard starting and adapting to life in a new area. Today the country is experiencing the rise of a system of extreme politics built upon the use of violence in ensuring victory during elections which include hiring of unemployed youths as political thugs to cause trouble and aid election rigging.

The youth are armed with sophisticated weapons by the politicians to carry out their devilish plans and as a consequence there is widespread electoral fraud with accompanying killing, maiming and wanton destruction of lives and properties. After elections these youths with no alternatives employ the use of the acquired weapons to rob and terrorize innocent people. Cyber Crime: There is no doubt that cyber crime is an image nightmare for Nigeria. Nigeria ranks third among the cyber crime committing countries in the world.

The convenience associated with IT is now working tool being exploited for criminal purposes by unemployed youths in Nigeria. This is the unfortunate reality for the country which has a reputation as the home of many internet criminals. Numerous crimes are committed daily on the Internet with Nigerians at the forefront of sending bogus financial proposals all over the world. The Central Bank of Nigeria in its 2007 banking sector report revealed that the sector lost 7. 2 billion naira to internet fraud alone. Cyber crime is also affecting genuine Nigerians seeking business connections around the world.

I experienced the effects of this when I tried to make an online transaction months back, the mention of Nigeria has my country made the people on the other end cancel my request and reason being the cyber criminality associated with Nigerians. How pathetic!!! Economy: Rising unemployment results in loss in human capital, decrease in GDP since less people are working there’s less money in the economy which means consumers purchase less and producers experience a decrease in the demand causing a decrease in output and slowing down economic progress. Also with


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