The Presidency has frowned on the increasing spate of unemployment in the country amongst youths, which it attributed mainly to over-dependence on government as the sole generator of employment opportunities.
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Youth and Student Matters, Mr. Jude Imagwe, stated this in Abuja while speaking at the recent African Youth Leadership Summit. The summit was held by the African Centre for Innovation and Leadership Development (ACILD) in conjunction with African Youth international Development foundation (AFYIDEF) and in collaboration with the office of the SSA to the President on youth and student matters.
Imagwe said the wide employment gap that has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society "was as a result of lack of individual innovation and youths who have overtly neglected personal talent, skill acquisition and have seen government as the only succour to the employment situation bedeviling the nation."
He emphasised that the federal government is not relenting in its transformation agenda of all sectors, adding "that little contributions of fora like this were made to engage with youths to see that the future of the nation is secured".
He said: "President Goodluck Jonathan supports such platforms so that, irrespective of our religious and ethnic divide, the nation can unify in its purpose to be biggest economy in the world, although this would come its own price. It is paramount that as Nigerians we play a collective role to see that the nation isn't neglected by its own people and collectively we foster a Nigeria of our dreams".
The Presidential aide also called for patriotism on the part of Nigerians and asked them to support the transformation agenda, noting that governments across the globe have succeeded based on sacrifices and patriotism shown by its citizens.
Also speaking, the former Chief Security officer (CSO) of late General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, said the current security challenges in the country can be curbed if the youths tailor their strengths into innovations and rub minds together to create dynamics in the somewhat static society.
Al-Mustapha advised that Nigerians, against all odds, should not distracted by religion and ethnicity but instead unify to fight the evil of terrorism. He expressed gratitude at the forum and pleaded that government should create a mentorship platform where youths are taught to gradually cultivate the habit of depending on individual strength, and not on economic factors. Highlights of the event included the launch of the book 'Fostering Innovation and Leadership in the African Academy' by the executive director ACILD, Dr. Obidimma Ezezika.
Ezezika noted that "as passionate as the African youth might be, they need mentoring and guidance and this book comes in to help guide the African youth in their pursuit of being innovators and entrepreneurs."
The event also had in attendance the chairman, Senate committee on power and steel, Philip Aduda, and other senior officials and witnessed lectures, symposia and other speeches from well known speakers on fostering innovation and leadership in the African Academy.