This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria Needs Stability to Develop, Says Shonekan

The former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, has said that for the country to develop and tackle the challenge of unemployment among her teeming jobless youths, there was need for political and economic stability.

"Political and economic stability are important for local and foreign investors to invest their money. Generally, investors shun economies where there is no political and economic stability," said Shonekan.

Continuing, he said: "The Boko Haram insurgency has had negative effects on the country's image, particularly in the international media and the perception of Nigeria by foreign investors. "There is no doubting the fact that the country would have attracted more foreign investments than it has garnered in the last few years if there had been no Boko Haram insurgency in parts of the country."

Beside the security issue which scares investors, Shonekan noted that corruption was also another hindrance to development. He urged the government and stakeholders to ensure that the menace is gotten rid of.

"Both the government and all stakeholders concerned must team up to ensure that corruption is wiped out in the country. Investors shun countries where there is corruption, more so because it increases the cost of doing business and also truncates the laws for doing business."

Shonekan who was a special guest speaker at the second Nigeria Leadership Summit, holding at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos also delivered the welcome address.

The event was organised by the President and CEO of the Anabel Group of Companies, Nicholas Okoye, one of the keynote speakers, was the former vice president of the Africa Region of the World Bank, Oby Ezekwesili.

The Tourism Minister, Edem Duke, while speaking, said the most significant challenge for the youth in Nigeria is unemployment.

"The high rate of unemployment in Nigeria remains alarming. "Private and public sectors need to work together in addressing this alarming issue. We need to get the work to provide both the young and elderly ones with an opportunity to be employed and employ people through entrepreneurship."

Also, Ezekwesili, speaking on the topic, 'Empowering the Nigerian Youth Population', said unemployment is one of the major causes of social problems in the country.

"This problem has left many Nigerian youths in a vicious cycle, seeking for relevance."

While condemning the overdependence on oil, Ezekwesili noted that the country needs to shift away from relying on oil, to develop the manufacturing sector, which according to her remains very marginal. "Manufacturing has remained very marginal to our economic development." Continuing, she said, "There is a question of accountability for those in government and who have been in government as to why there's never been a structural shift to help drive the manufacturing sector into what it should be.

"We need economic structural change. Like China and India once did, we need to practise a closed economy. No nation can have a shared vision without leadership that understands sacrifice."

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