By Kingsley Burutu Otuaro
The world does not need university thesis or any peer reviewed article to be awakened that economies of different countries have been battered and impacted adversely by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic are still in the world, particularly now that its mutations have given birth to rampaging variants of the global scourge.
With once productive industries and companies left comatose by the global scourge of COVID-19, huge job losses have become the next scourge in the world because companies, industries and government have become disastrously too incapacitated to engage and employ the teeming youths annually thrown into the labour market. This is why youths, their talents, potentials, skills and capacities should be healthily and sufficiently channelled to the growth of the society.
The sad commentary everywhere is the scourge of fast-rising inflationary trend, job losses and unemployment. To contain this scourge and live sustainably in the society, priority attention must be given to talent-discovery, talent-development, potential-development and commercialisation of talents and potentials. Through hardwork, Nigerian youths should discover their potentials, develop their talents and potentials and commercialise them. Sustainable survival possibilities of youths become endangered if talents and potentials discovered and developed are not deliberately built into a commercial framework.
Talents and potentials discovered and developed without being commercialised are open invitation letters to impoverishment because it is like giving fish to somebody without teaching him how to fish. Here, it is far better to develop and commercialise your potentials by imbibing Zenko Suzuki’s words that: ‘If you give a man a fish, he has but one meal; if you teach him how to fish…’, (512, FROM THIRD WORLD TO FIRST).
Talents and potentials could be discovered and developed in music, journalism, agriculture, sports, comedy, business, wrestling, oratory, crisis-management and crisis-resolution. The moment youths are able to discover and develop their talents and potentials in any of these mentioned fields of human endeavour, the next stage is the commercialisation of the talents and potentials.
A well developed and commercialised talents and potentials would be the road to economic independence, economic sustainability and economic invulnerability because hundreds of thousands of people would flock to such persons to engage them commercially for various engagements. In commercialised talents and potentials lies the ‘yawu’ of wealth-creation, the yawu of prosperity, the yawu of social and economic transformation, not the yawu of ritual killings and internet-consolidated manipulative gimmicks. Development and commercialisation of potentials is a legalised ‘yawu’ of wealth-creation and sustainable growth for Nigerian youths in an environment dominated and ruled by the scourge of COVID-19-induced economic hardship, inflation and unemployment.
For a society animated by visionary transformation of its teeming youths, a vision of deradicalising them away from banditry, armed robbery, terrorism, drug-addiction, rape, prostitution, ‘yahoo-yahoo’, ritual killing and kidnapping, a solid foundation must be laid for them to discover, develop and commercialise their potentials. To develop and commercialise the talents and potentials of youths is to deradicalise them in advance and channel their minds towards profitable productive ventures.
This explains why my development theories are geared towards redirecting the youths positively within the developmentally-elastic and impactful framework of Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa-led SMART agenda from which my development theories are derived and built as an appendage or accompaniment because the Governor Okowa-led SMART agenda is the pivotal element of my development theories.
Youths are the lifeblood of a nation. There is no country or state without youths because youths determine the direction of society; youths determine the developmental trajectory of tomorrow in a nation. Youths constitute an integral part of the growth and transformation of society based on their current productive engagements viewed against the background of future development matters now seen in their promising outlines.
In every state everything must be done to develop the talents and potentials of youths for commercialisation. This is the awareness, the orientation, the consciousness, that underpins most of my development theories. This is even more importantly why Governor Okowa has created the enabling structures to engage the youths entrepreneurially and agriculturally through his skills and capacity-development platforms such as YAGEP(Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurship Programme), STEP (Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme), RYSA (Rural Youths Skills Acquisition Programme), WESAP (Women Empowerment and Skills Acquisition Programme), GEST (Girls’ Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programme) and GEEP (Graduate Employment Enhancement Programme).
Nothing gladdens the heart much more than the realisation that engagement programmes like GEST, YAGEP, WESAP and many others which create a vista of possibilities for youth talents, skills and potentials to be developed and commercialised, Governor Okowa has built the supportive framework for MSMES (Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises) to thrive and grow in Delta State, showing clearly that the Delta State Government is committed to the welfare of its teeming youths.
Sufficiently developed and commercialised talents and potentials, a component of ‘human resource development’, treasured by Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore as highlighted in the book, FROM THIRD WORLD TO FIRST, must be viewed with all the seriousness in the world. Alongside developed and commercialised talents and potentials, youths must have aspirations to take society ideologically to a higher level of achievement and growth.
Stagnation is the word in a society where youths don’t aspire to attain great heights. Our youths should, therefore, be ready to attain heights envisioned to make our environment grow like a mustard seed. There is no mustard seed-like development in the society where youths are not fired by aspiration to attain new and greater heights of transformation.
However, for the purpose of emphasis, clarity and better comprehension, let it be known that developed and commercialised talents and potentials are tantamount to teaching somebody how to fish. We must, therefore, inspire and teach our youths how to fish by creating platforms and structures for the youths to commercialise their talents and potentials and become economically-strong and sustainable in the face of COVID-19-induced economic challenges ravaging the economies of various countries in the world.
These are the benefits of what I would rather terminologically call ‘economies of commercialised talents and potentials’. The enablers for the economies of commercialised talents and potentials had long been provided by Governor Okowa through the entrepreneurial, agricultural and skills development platforms and structures.
In Delta State, there are already existing structures created by Governor Okowa as enablers for the discovery, development and commercialisation of talents and potentials of youths who are ready to discover, develop and commercialise their talents, skills and potentials for a sustainable living away from the scourge of inflation and unemployment caused by the covid-19 pandemic. The entrepreneurship, skills development and empowerment platforms of the Delta State Government must be embraced by youths with commitment.
To align myself ideologically with the thinking of Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore who believes that ‘that trained talent is the yeast that transforms a society and makes it rise’ (544, FROM THIRD WORLD TO FIRST), developed and commercialised talents and potentials, which constitute the passport of sustainable living and survival in a world of COVID-19-induced economic challenges, must be cultivated by youths for unstoppable growth and development for both at the societal and individual levels.
This should be the focus of Nigerian youths, particularly the youths in Delta State for whom Governor Okowa has already provided the structures and platforms that make realisable this focal dream of economically-independent and sustainable living in a world of COVID-19-induced economic challenges where the individual or the youths are equipped with their developed and commercialised talents and potentials to navigate and negotiate the bends in the society within the developmentally-meaningful and impactful framework of the Senator Ifeanyi Okowa-led SMART agenda.
Kingsley Otuaro, the Deputy Governor of Delta State, wrote from Asaba.