BY DAYO ADESULU
Governor Babatunde Fashola has commended the skills and enterprise of students who engage in traffic trading stating that it takes high level of mental coordination and expertise to trade in the traffic without hazards.
He said; “I have travelled to many places in the world, but I have not seen where youths trading on the streets run after vehicles with their wares on their heads without falling. The same person who gives change to a buyer is at the same time doing mental sums.
“If you observe the kind of skill level, flexibility and adaptability that is required to carry out those functions, I don’t know how many of us can do it. Let nobody come and tell me that Nigerians are not skillful. Let not anybody tell me that they are not enterprising. If that is not a display of skill and enterprise, I do not know what it is.
“But unfortunately, it is skill and enterprise in the wrong place. Because trading in traffic only helps to make business difficult. It slows down movements of goods and services, eventually what should cost N10 ends up costing N20.”
Fashola who spoke during the flag- off of the first Enterprise day held at the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association(NECA) House, Agidingbi, Ikeja frowned at street trading urging students to channel such skills appropriately.
He said that one of the things he wants to do on Enterprise day is to take those misplaced skills and energy away from the wrong place and put them in the right place, saying that such students will be more proficient in technical education.
The governor lamented that some people are not proud of their professions. “I have heard stories like: “since I graduated, I do not have a job, but I just manage six taxis. I drive one myself and employ other six drivers.’ If the owner of the six taxis was working in a bank, will he accept to be an accountant in the bank or in his taxi company? He is complaining without realising that he has become an entrepreneur.
“I have heard some people say ‘There is no work. But what I do since graduation is to help people fix attachment on their hair and get about N20,000 to fix for an individual and I do five per day.’
“There is unemployment, I do not say there is not. There is underemployment. There is also employment in areas where we do not believe it exists. Find yours.”
According to him, there was no difference between Government skills acquisition centres and those run by private people, stressing that government has oversight functions on all institutions to ensure that they meet the required minimum standards including the right tools and equipment for learning and right environment for the students.
He said the most important thing is to equip the youths with the right skills, which is what the school is doing. “If you are good enough, people will come to you because a good thing cannot hide. If you are good, the people who need your services will find you. Beyond that, we are already bringing the people who will need your services to you.”