By Moses Nosike
MR Prince Goodluck Obi, is the National executive president ofÂ Â UN Youths Network Nigeria. In this interview with Saturday Vanguard Business, he advised that government should de-emphasiseÂ certificates and encourage creativity and passion if we must reduce the rate of unemployment in the country. Excerpts:
How is your background?
My name is Prince Goodluck Obi. I had a humble beginning right from my primary school at Santana Primary school, Awomama in Imo state.Â I had my secondary school at Government College, Owerri and my higher institution was at University of Ibadan. In all these there is something that propels me – leadership. From my primary, secondary to university, I have been a leader.
A class monitor in my primary school, a sanitary prefect in the secondary and in my first year at the university, people identified me as natural leader where I served as a member of the house of representatives at the Independent hall, in my department I was the president. But the most remarkable one in UI was when I was elected as a majority leader in the whole school where we had 12 constituencies in the whole school, representing studentsâ€™ welfare with other fellow officials.
Having been targeting leadership since your youth, what do you think is the best way we can develop our youths?
There is an adage that says, an idol man is the devilâ€™s workshop. In this country, the population of youths are more going by the UN statistics and national statistics. But unfortunately most of these youths are unemployed and these are the power house of every country and any government of the day that does not position youths of that country, it will affect the economy because this is the level in life where potentials are harnessed to boost the economy.
Therefore government at every point in time is advised to provide basic infrastructures or facility that could boost employment or development amongst youths.
Unemployment is becoming problematic in this economy, but with seriousness it can be reduced. Government should try as much as possible to reduce much emphasis on certificate. Disparity here and there because government lays much emphasis on certificates.Those who donâ€™t have certificates, nobody recognises them. Much emphasis should be laid on skill acquisition.
So for unemployment to be reduced, government should deemphaise on certificate, and the youths should be recognised for what they are. There is this philosophy that says: â€œItâ€™s the you in you that makes you the you you are.â€
We should deemphasis the issue of I read this I read that, therefore Iâ€™m higher than this, Iâ€™m higher than that. Unlike what obtains in some countries like Canada and America is what you are able to do and not what you read. Letâ€™s recognise passion and creativity among us. And another one is that government should endeavour to create jobs.
You donâ€™t just come out to tell Nigerians that youâ€™re creating 500 jobs in a country where we have a population of 150 million or a state of 11 million and out of this number youths are up to 100 million between 24 and 35 years and youâ€™re creating 500 jobs. UN counts youths between 18 -24.UnlikeÂ we Africans we canâ€™t take our youths from 24 even with that at age 24 some youths are still under their parents feeding because in some African countries where poverty is reigning we canâ€™t go by UN assessment of youths because they draw date from the western world.
So if government will create a sizeable number of jobs definitely unemployment will be reduced.
Now that government canâ€™t create the jobs needed, what is your advise to youths?
The youths should learn how to be self-reliant. Like in our organisation, we train youths which we call Life Skill Programme and Project. The training empowers them to fend all through their lives instead of depending wholy on parents and governments. Moreso, youths should be encouraged to go to technical schools, colleges. You donâ€™t need to be a graduate before you can do that, so that when you complete that it will make you to be self-reliant and self-sustainable.
What is your organisation into?
I belong to United Nations of Youths Network, Nigeria (UNOY). Is a network of over 120 NGOS and it cuts across every state of the federation. Our vision is to empower the youths of the nation to become competent and useful to the society by reassessing and readdressing the challenges of youths.
We also take our programmes outside the shore of Nigeria where we assess our youths alongside youths outside Nigeria. For instance, we just ended an international youth programme in Ghana, weâ€™ve had in Canada and other countries etc. We were in all these countries to exchange ideas that will beneficial to youths here at home.
Is like your organisation focuses on youths…
Yes. Youths I can say are much needed and an important segment of the society because the young people are leaders of tomorrow. In addition to this, we give part of what we get from the society back to the people.
To that extent the organisation initiated few years back awards we give to individuals and corporate bodies whose services to the nation is or are outstanding after asking Nigerians through facebook and sampling opinions of Nigeria before we give out awards.