By Clifford Ndujihe

A fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Dr Victor Uko, has canvassed massive skills acquisition for young people to reduce unemployment among them, warning that youths without jobs or skills constitute serious danger and a sure source of insecurity in the country.

The principal partner and chief executive officer of Victor Uko & Associates, a real estate firm in Lagos, gave the warning in a paper, entitled: “Skills Acquisition as a Tool for Empowerment,” which he presented at the Town Hall meeting of the 18th National Convention of Ubium Development Association (UDA) in USA, July 8-10, 2022, in Dallas, Texas.

He stressed that attempts to address youth unemployment in Nigeria would continue to fail especially as it is done without appropriate investment in strategies modelled on best practices.

Dr. Uko called for attainable goals in managing youth participation and unemployment to be set and identified lack of goal setting and attainment as two of the several challenges facing Nigerian youths.

Pointedly blaming governments at all tiers, Dr. Uko condemned the non-implementation of Federal Government policy on youth participation which, he said, has made access to work related opportunities for youth difficult.

He also lamented that government agencies like the Niger Delta Development Corporation, NDDC, set up to promote youth entrepreneurship have not done much in that regard.

“We need to do more to bring the youth back,” Dr. Uko stressed.

The conventional wisdom that education alone can guarantee success for young people, Dr. Uko insisted, was no longer sufficient without collaboration and upscale investment in skills acquisition programs aimed at addressing many of the social issues associated with youth unemployment.

A retired senior official of the defunct Nigeria Airways, where he served as deputy general manager of estate services for over 20 years, Dr. Uko suggested an alternative age range of 15-35 for the definition of young people, as an alternative to, in his words, the United Nation’s preferred range of 10-24 years.

Discussing the components of Nigeria’s youth policy, and arguing that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has been observed more in name than implementation, Dr. Uko concluded with a list of key policy recommendations that included basic education for school age (5-12), entrepreneurial skills training, vocational training, and skills acquisition with appropriate emphasis on STEM and gender equality.

UDA is a non-profit community-based organization (CBO) registered in the State of Texas. It partners with stakeholders in promoting programmes aimed at abating problems and enhancing basic services, as well as standard of living in Nigeria’s Niger Delta community of Ubium, Nsit-Ubium Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

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