By: Atiku Abubakar
We warned about this, but repeated warnings by myself and other patriots were scorned. And now this.
How did Nigeria get here? We got here by abandoning the people-centred leadership and free trade and deregulatory policies of the Obasanjo years (which saw us maintain an almost single digit unemployment rate), and implementing discredit command and control policies that have led to massive capital flight from Nigeria.
What this government must realize is that the unprecedented insecurity Nigeria is facing is the result of youth unemployment. Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production, and towards destruction, and that is why Nigeria is now the third most terrorized nation on Earth.
Now, how do we address this challenge?
My recommendation still stands, and stands even stronger now that we have crossed the Rubicon in youth unemployment. If we can get the 13.5 million out of school Nigerian children into school, we will turn the corner in one generation. If we do not do this, then the floodgates of unemployment will be further opened next year, and in the years to come.
We can no longer say we cannot afford this. We can.
I say this because the fastest way to bring down a world record unemployment rate is via incentivized education. An educated citizenry are more employable and more self employable.
We must then incorporate those youths who are above school age into a massive public works programme. There was talk of 774,000 Special Public Works jobs for the youth, which was to have started in January 2021. This is a commendable step, but it must be done with proper agenda, rather than propaganda.
And we also need to do three things urgently to encourage capital inflow and foreign direct investment.
We are at a precipice as a nation and the truth is that all stakeholders and elder statesmen have to speak up on time, while there is still a Nigeria to save. This government obviously lacks the capacity to address our current challenges, and we must help them, not because of the government, but because of our people.
a situation where we are simultaneously the world headquarters for
extreme poverty, the world capital for out of school children, and the
nation with the highest unemployment rate on Earth, there is a very real
and present danger that we might slip into the failed states index –
Atiku Abubakar (Waziri Adamawa) is a former Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999-2007)