Sunday Adebisi, a professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos, says listening to the youth could be the needed panacea, to fast track the much desired socio-economic development of the country.
Adebisi stated this on Tuesday while delivering a special annual lecture as the first occupier of the Dr Mike Adenuga (Jnr.) Professorial Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies, in Lagos.
The theme of the lecture is: Revolutionising the Nigerian Economy to Create Jobs and Sustainable Wealth; The Sole Ladder, The Sole Option, The Sole Platform.
According to him, the current young generations are eager to do exploit by seeking new ways of doing things, given their exposure to technology.
“This could only be possible if they are given an opportunity to be heard, as well as provided with an enabling environment to excel.
“Without any option, these youth must become our priority, because we have more mouths to feed as a nation, more people to give jobs and more projects to be funded.
“Government must, as a matter of urgency, democratise entrepreneurship knowledge from Generation Alpha, Y and Z, to have unhindered access through entrepreneurship education and practice at all levels.
“Therefore, intentional purposeful decisions must be made through very quick government policies to support this, especially at the primary and secondary school levels,” he said.
Adebisi said that today’s youth were already in a haste and there was the need for government to step up efforts in giving them a sense of belonging in a bid to win their trust.
“Permit me to call on President Bola Tinubu administration to do all it can to regain the confidence of the youth he brought with his renewed hope agenda and this must be action packed to have something to give them to talk about on social media.
“These youth are already in a haste and government may not have so much time to convince them to wait for another round of test.
“You remain the true last hope that this generation of youth will listen to.
“My appeal, therefore, is that we cannot afford as a nation, not to do everything possible to regain the trust of our youth, who are our foundations.
“The ‘Japa’ syndrome came as a result of the disappointment after an era. To do otherwise, should not be imagined, for this may be very calamitous, as well as damage a lot of youth for a very long time,” he said.
According to him, the renewed hope is timely and well christened, and there is the need for all hands to be on deck and work assiduously to do the talk.
Adebisi said it was time to claim back the country’s asset to build a nation where all would be happy.
“Our sustainability is the youth and it is on their sole platform that we can ever achieve being globally competitive.
“We as a nation, a government and a people, must ask ourselves these honest questions: does the various data describing the state of the country’s affairs, befit a nation of our stature?
“Have we been richly endowed by God far above many great nations of the world in the abundance of all natural mineral resources that you can find anywhere in the world?
“Is our problem and reason for poverty that of the people experiencing draught or who lack basic things of life or is that of a people who cannot manage abundance?,”
The don noted that there was the need for deliberate intentions to build a nation, without seeking an alternative anywhere, except for it to spiral into a positive change in the next five years.
He said that the new Nigeria enterprise would ride on the platform of making the citizens and everything in the country create value for positive multiplication through innovation and entrepreneurship.
According to him, given that innovation is the ladder to scratch any of the aspirations of the youth and the country, the current administration must drive the process through an executive order that can be regularly used by law thereafter.
Adebisi said that innovation should be the bedrock of the country’s educational system, beginning from the kindergarten, to the highest level of doctoral education.
He said that government must therefore promote a knowledge-based economy template that would sit on the pillar of innovation knowledge.
“It is left for government now to identify all areas of innovation required to support the new enterprise Nigeria, which could involve agriculture, emerging technologies, enterprise incubation, creative economy and transportation and logistics among many others.
“The Federal, State and Local Governments’ challenges that require these innovations as solutions should be deployed and issued to these institutions, with timelines to come up with suggested options.
“The private sector too, of the nation, will be encouraged to use these innovation packs, after which all the Federal universities in the country should be re-gazetted as universities and innovation parks in these specific areas of focus,” he said.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola,said the lecture was organised to expand public awareness in the field of entrepreneurial studies and skills development.
According to her, it is also expected to provide a platform to promote interest that can be galvanised to enhance job creation and address the massive problem of youth unemployment.
Ogunsola added that the Chair was one of many initiatives to promote research and learning at the university, especially research and teaching that was responsive to development needs.
Describing the theme of the lecture as apt, the vice chancellor added that the institution had continued to record success in the quality and quantum of research and grants, improved collaboration and partnerships with other universities and industry within and outside the country,
“We have, as well, exchange programmes for staff and students. Our ‘Future Ready Agenda’ is beginning to record many successes.
“To support the development of the innovation and entrepreneurial mindset among our students, we are adopting new teaching methods to facilitate better learning.
“We also create a platform to prioritise the use of modern methods of knowledge and skills acquisition that emphasise problem solving and critical thinking skills.
“We also have the Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Business Incubation Certificate (EIBIC) which offers our students the opportunity to discover and develop their creativity and entrepreneurial skills.
“This we do by including Entrepreneurship Skills Development into all courses, programmes and promote student entrepreneurship ideas (SEI’s)” she stated,
Ogunsola lauded Mike Adenuga (Jnr.), donor of the Chair, for partnering with the university in enhancing the frontiers of entrepreneurial academic knowledge and skills acquisition in the institution through the endowment.