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Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Sharing Ideas For Development

I have come to appreciate Nigeria so much, especially since my sojourn abroad. I have also seen a lot of potentials which will place Nigeria... thumbnail 1 summary
I have come to appreciate Nigeria so much, especially since my sojourn abroad. I have also seen a lot of potentials which will place Nigeria amongst the world leading nations. I know nations need resources, human, material and natural to be great. These are not in short supply in Nigeria, but we need to re-discover and develop what we have got in abundance that is human resources. Without any iota of doubt, Nigeria is blessed with abundant human and natural resources. I will dwell on human resources which if properly harnessed will yield more than the oil revenue. My concern has also arisen because of the fact that many of our human resources are wasting as a result of high unemployment level.
The issue of unemployment in Nigeria is beyond my imagination. The situation has hindered development of the economy, increased poverty, promoted anti social behaviors etc. It reminds me of what Adams Smith said, “No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable”. Being a Nigerian and also part of the numerous patriotic people in search of the solution to the unemployment problem, I have proposed what I call human development by sharing.
We Nigerians need to share our knowledge, know how, skills, and experiences with one another .If we don’t have any skills or knowledge to share, lets support, encourage and sponsor one another to acquire a particular skill and know how. Please let’s realize that knowledge is power. Sharing of our ideas will mean to empower people. It will increase the human capital development of Nigeria. Any individual who has been empowered becomes an asset to the society, he or she will be a value added to the economy. Our society needs more people to be empowered. Sharing knowledge will be like teaching a man how to fish. Knowledge is so useful that it will forever govern ignorance.
By far, greater percentage of the Nigerian population is largely ignorant and the consequences are grave and disastrous. The Holy Bible in Hosea chapter 4 verses 6 acknowledged the fact that people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, suffice it to say that so many of us are wasting for lack of knowledge, know how and skills. If we share our skills or sponsor people to acquire a know how, these people will in turn pass their skills to others and on and on. This action will have a multiplier effects on the economy and a chain reaction that will usher in change would start.
I believe change(s) will start to happen when people come up with imaginations, dreams, and ideas, including the determination to act. Skills and knowledge sharing is an idea that will surely usher in changes in Nigeria. I understand that some knowledge and skills cannot be easily transferred or shared. More so, since some skills and knowledge are very expensive to transfer. Some might need formal training that will run into years and even some might need visits to overseas. My focus here is on low level skills and knowledge acquisition. Skills such as teaching people how to farm, breeding livestock, carpentry, tailoring, motor mechanics, electrical/electronics repairs, sports, singing, dancing, singing, IT, cooking, etc. A country like Japan has no mineral resources (not any one I know off) but we all know their position in the world. Much was achieved through their skills, know how and manpower development. People should also acquire skills when they are under productive where they are or if they are under employed wherever they might be working. Some people are working where they are not fit to work. Some people have hidden talents which are wasting, but which will move the nation forward, but they are working in wrong places. Graduates, undergraduates and non graduates should also consider this, as a way of being self employed.Am an apostle of skills acquisition, this I believe will lead to self employment/empowerment. Investigations have shown that it cost(s) little or nothing to acquire most of the low/medium level skills am preaching about. The impact is for life. My attention is on the unemployed people who can acquire this skills/knowledge to move their lives and society forward.
Who knows, may be engaging people through this way could reduce the crime rate and save us the fear and panic attacks associate with the mere thoughts of criminals. Criminals are human beings, perhaps a project like this could indirectly take away some of them from the streets. Please remember that one changed criminal could mean saving an entire family, community from agony. It could save people from death, injury, shock, set backs, torture, rape, sleepless nights etc.
The unemployment situation is critical in Nigeria. The solution has to come from all Nigerians. Please if every one around you is gainfully employed or self sufficient, kindly look for someone to help acquire skills for self employment. This message is more than an appeal. May be through this way, people will harness their full potentials. When this happens, the country will become a better place to live. Let’s imagine if about 10,000 well to do Nigerians decide to mentor about 5,000 unemployed people to acquire skills for living. The situation will surely start to change. The opportunity cost of not helping out now, will be the present state of affairs to remain same in Nigeria till in the long run. A critical look at the unemployment level which is a key factor for the high degree of poverty will urge us to do some thing. The Nigerian government cannot do much. Past and present experiences have shown us their capabilities (strengths and weaknesses). In my own thinking, reducing unemployment and poverty should be the responsibility of all of us. Through an initiative like and all hands being on deck, the fight against poverty will gather momentum. Therefore this is the time for a private led initiative to save our great and beloved country. We have no other country. This is the time to save her.

This project will be better actualized through the private sector, such as NGO’s , churches, mosque, cooperative societies, social clubs, organized bodies, communities, academic institutions, banks, individuals. Experiences have shown how effective the private sector can be when it comes to projects like this. Governments can also be involved, but much should not be expected from them. Individuals and organizations can establish skills academy, charity organization and NGO’s should look into this direction. More NGO’s are needed to start economic empowerment of Nigeria. A lot needs to be done in this field. Charities, NGO’s, community organization should focus on skills and knowledge transfer to Nigerians as way out of the present unemployment levels.
There are a lot of positive energies wasting in Nigeria. We have all it takes to drastically reduce poverty and unemployment. Churches, mosques and other religious bodies with there massive follower ship and membership will be in a better position to initiate this course of action. In addition, these religious bodies should use their abundant network to embark on enlightenment and information dissemination of the quest for sharing and acquiring skills for empowerment. Nigerians should consider sharing ideas, knowledge and skills with each other, if we are actually bothered about unemployment, poverty and all social vices that come with these problems.
I will recommend to the various governments in Nigeria to introduce skills acquisitions in their normal school academic curricular. This should be introduced right from primary school level up till university level. All other private owned institutions should also introduce skills acquisition as part of their curricular. If schools (primary, secondary, higher institutions and universities) have this as part of their compulsory subjects, we will be graduating people with abilities to be self employed. Our society should be dynamic and progressive. We should be able to change as our society changes. As it is now, our society is besieged with high unemployment rates. Therefore our schools should adjust their academic structure to be inline towards check mating this problem.
The schools should aim at graduating people with skills for life. Our governments should be able to introduce this to all their schools. There might be no need to establish specially schools for this. Make it compulsory in all schools, that way; we would be laying a solid foundation for our country Nigeria. The multiplier effects of this will be people coming out of schools with already means of survival.
Since there are a lot of private schools, colleges, universities in Nigeria. The owners should consider to make skills and knowledge acquisition as part of there program. The truth is that most Nigerians will be more competent in acquiring skills than formal western education. Our educational system should be made to teach both the western education as well as skills acquisition. The end point should be to produce people with ability to survive the current situation in Nigeria.
Your comments, compliments, contributions or criticism of my proposals will be highly appreciated .Apologies for any grammatical error. Further information will be made available. This approach if supported will help in fighting unemployment, poverty and hunger.

Chinedu Vincent Akuta. (akutachinedu@yahoo.com)
An activist based in Leicester, UK.

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