Two Nigerian authors based in the US have documented alternative ways to solve the chronic problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
One of the major economic challenges Nigeria is facing today is the high number of youths who are out of work. Many people versed in the study of youth restiveness describe this as a tinder box because it is easy to recruit youths to unleash mayhem in the society.
With a population of about 180 million people, of which over 50 percent are between the ages of 15 to 34 and about 47 percent of this number is unemployed, experts say the rate of unemployment in Nigeria among this demographic group is dangerous. The National Population Commission also noted that there is a high rate of growth of youth unemployment because every year the universities send thousands of youths to the society in search of jobs
Despite the fact that various programmes have been set up to address the issue of unemployment in the country, only very few of these programmes have recorded maximal impact, compared to the number of youths who are still unemployed till date and sometimes such programmes are mere jamborees, which open a window to fraudulent enrichment of those recruited to implement the programme.
It, therefore, behooves on stakeholders concerned to bridge this huge gap by thinking out of the box to create some solutions youths in Nigeria can relate with, considering their cultures, peculiarities and their environmental upbringing.
This is why concerned Nigerian-born United States Professors, Chris Ehiobuche and Chizoba Madueke launched their new book, ‘Youth Entrepreneurship’ in a bid to explore effective solutions to youth unemployment and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
Chizoba Madueke, the co-author of the book said what informed the launch of the book was in view of the fact that most of the Nigeria youths remain unemployed after their university education, adding even those that get jobs, get menial jobs.
Statistics indicate that in the second quarter of 2016, the youth unemployment rate hit an alarming level of 24 per cent from 21.50 per cent in the first quarter the same year. These circumstances are currently submerged into a seemingly intractable economic recession.
“Our book is a step-by-step guard on how to how to start a business in Nigeria. Our approach is what we can do to start a business. People do not need to wait to get all the money to start a business. They can start by taking basic steps little by little at a time.
“Youth entrepreneurship is about being self-sufficient, about getting resources from people, government offices, families and friends. The book also teaches how people can sell little things or gather money, instead of depending on someone. It about getting out of being underemployed to becoming your own boss or and being financially secured,” Madueke added.
He explained that the approach of the book is not about criticism or trying to lecture. “We designed a step-by-step approach on how to start a business. People should begin to ask what they can do for their government. I was born an orphan, I should not be in the United States or have a masters degree but I have all that today because I sold bottle water, that was how I raised money to travel out.”
On how to distribute the book to the right audience, Madueke said people have been employed to get the books into various schools and universities, adding that some Vice Chancellors have already been contacted to get the books sold in their schools.
Chris Ehiobuche, the co-author of the book said in an interview that his interest in launching this book in Nigeria was the need to see a generational transfer to the leaders of tomorrow.
“I am here to see to what extent we can contribute in rejuvenating our economy. I am looking at the Nigerian economy from the point of view of our inability to tap into our resources, which is a situation that has been there. We are good at analysing our problems but we are not so good in implementing those solutions.
“What I am looking into is a different focus on how we can capitalise on the equity of what we have, an area that is never tapped into, which is the Nigerian youths,” Ehiobuche added.
“What makes the difference is that we looked into the people that will benefit from the book. We are in a digital generation. Regrettably, our parents and the professors in Nigeria are still educating people the way they were educated,” he explained.
He recalled that when his children came back to Nigeria for holidays, for the first time, they experienced a ower outage and immediately found out that their cousins were reading using the touch from their cell phones.
“When my son went back to the United States, he did a term paper on it and had a scholarship. Starting up a business is a mind-set and what we are teaching through this book is that people should stop thinking of getting employed but start thinking of turning what they have studied into a contributing agent in the society,” he advised.