Revolution Coming, Obasanjo Says‘…The Danger Ahead Is Real And Potent

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has
expressed fears that Nigeria will witness a revolution soon unless government
takes urgent steps to check growing youth unemployment and poverty. Speaking at the West African regional
conference on youth employment in Dakar, Senegal at the weekend, Obasanjo said
the danger posed by an army of unemployed youth in Nigeria can only be
imagined.

“I’m afraid,
and you know I am a General. When a General says he is afraid, that means the
danger ahead is real and potent,” he said.

Obasanjo added that
despite what he called the imminent threat to Nigeria’s nationhood “there is
absence of serious, concrete, realistic, short and long term solution” to youth
unemployment.
He made reference
to the doctorate degree holders who applied for jobs as drivers at the Dangote
Group, saying Nigerian youths have been patient enough and that this patience
will soon reach its elastic limit.
According to the
former president, youth unemployment rate which was 72 per cent in 1999 when he
took over power had been reduced to 52 per cent by 2004 but that the rate
rocketed to 71 per cent by 2011.
Obasanjo left
office in 2007, succeeded by Umaru Yar’Adua who died in 2010, and President
Jonathan has been in office since then.
The former
president lamented that the unemployment situation had given rise to the
prevalence of social crimes being perpetrated by three categories of youth whom
he identified as area boys, Yahoo boys and, recently, Blackberry boys.
He told the diverse
audience that in Nigeria people talk of growth without corresponding
development, and that what is visible is increased poverty.
Obasanjo said
national leaders must create incentives that will encourage entrepreneurs to
flourish and that special attention should be given to agriculture business as
against mere farming.
He reiterated the
need for easy access to land and micro credit, while advocating for a review of
school curriculum to enable undergraduates spend additional one year to learn
entrepreneurship.
At the sub-regional
level, Obasanjo called for a review of the New Partnership for African
Development (NEPAD) to accommodate issues of youth unemployment and job
creation.
The conference,
which was sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) and the African Development Bank, was attended by top
bankers from across Africa including the Managing Director of Nigeria’s Bank of
Industry, Ms. Evelyn Oputu.
Source: Daily Trust

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