Sometime in November, 1996, an undergraduate University student made a call and pretended to be George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah, the current President of Liberia, who was then the reigning king of the round leather game, the only African to be so crowned. The caller introduced one Ali Dia to Graeme Souness, then coach of “The Saints”, Southampton F.C. as a PSG player and a cousin of the caller. Ali Dia was signed on a one- month contract but released two weeks after because of his woeful performance on the pitch of play only to discover that all the information given on the phone was totally false.
Nigeria happens to be a country filled with great potentials, hardworking population, abundant human & mineral resources but seems to be cursed with incessant bad leadership at all levels.
Unemployment rate is at all-time high, infrastructural development is almost not existing but folks at the corridors of power are more interested in the 2019 general elections rather than making life easier for the citizens.
Raising funds to startup businesses is such a herculean task around here as government at all levels doesn’t seem to care about startups or about growing businesses. Ease of doing business is abysmally low. The few who are able to pull the weight to start up are placed under heavy burdens of taxation & regulations.
While our school system teaches students to leave school and scavenge for jobs that are not available, the Igbo Apprenticeship system has developed a sought of Venture Capital platform that has proven to be effective over the years albeit with its own challenges.
It has been noted that mentoring is needed for the success of any venture in life.
The Igbo Apprenticeship system trains an individual in a particular trade for a period of between 2- 10 years (depending on the trade) and thereafter sets up such trainee in business after he/she must have learnt the rudiment of the business within the training period.
This is a working policy that we need to embrace on a national scale if indeed we are serious about reducing unemployment & facilitating the development of MSMEs.
As a people, we must take the bull by the horn to create similar platforms where our teeming youth can learn rudiment of businesses and be assisted with startup grants or loans.
There is an increase in hubs across the nation which is a welcome development but we need to create mentoring and business acceleration processes across the country on a national scale, we need to make it our culture to galvanize the creative abilities of our young population, rather than just dishing out N10, 000 to traders as a political gain.
Traditional rulers & religious leaders must set up community projects where good business ideas can be regularly discovered, properly funded, adequately nurtured, mentoring sessions organised & apprenticeship system embraced by the people.
Nigerians in Diaspora community have wonderful wealth of experience that we must tap into. We must create platforms for the patriotic ones amongst them to offer technical and professional advice/ services to our young ones who are creative and or talented. We need them to assist in the development of projects that we lack the expertise in the nation and to mentor the fast-growing youth population.
Our large population, heterogeneous nature, multi ethnic and multi religious society is an advantage to us as a nation. We need to become producers and not just consumers of products.
We cannot continue to miss opportunities. Folks in government seem not to care about development but there is a lot that we can do within our individual capacity in the pursuit of a better Nigerian society.
We must seize every opportunity to add our quota to the development of Nigeria.
God bless you.
God bless Nigeria.