President Muhammdu Buhari has sent a Eid-ul-fitri message to Nigerians…
By Abiodun A. Abiodun
If we put policital differences and propaganda aside, as a people and country, we would achieve progressive socio-economic growth and development in a short time.
Nigeria has a promising youth population, so it is with all other African countries, but most of the government initiatives introduced to promote innovation, technology and entrepreneurship among her youth force suffer setback or discontinuity when there is change in administration; especially transition which sees a change in leadership from one political party to another.
If I cannot cite a distant reference, the closest one to my memory is the YouWIN (Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria) a Public-Private Partnership programme, which birthed 3,900 enterprises with a minimum grant of 1 Million Naira, up to 10 Million Naira maximum. YouWIN was initiated in 2011 by the past administration. The grant was not given on a platter of gold, but through a business plan competition and capacity building, which I was a beneficiary (though, I did not win the grant)
Although from the on set, the government stated that the programme would end in 2 phases but it was later extended to 3 phases after the first 2 phases recorded impressive results. The YouWIN3 was around it final stage when Nigeria has a new central government of new policital party; though the winners were awarded the grant which comes in tranches as planned, but the YouWin initiative ended as designed.
Now, I begin to marvel, how magnificent would it be, if YouWin could continue even under another name and administration? What if we reason as result oriented people, not minding whose brilliant ideas we imitate, but focusing on the effectiveness of the results?
I certainly heard of the NPower, and I did some findings on it too. It is also a good programme, if managed well. These two similar programmes operate differently and produce slightly different results. In my view, while YouWIN focused on building and financing youths, who will establish ventures that will create jobs for themselves and other youths directly and indirectly; NPower on the other hand aims at training and building youths who will assist the government in the public service areas that need more competent hands, and those who will create jobs through acquired skills learnt under the programme. They both centre on tackling unemployment.
I want ask, would it not be productive to run these 2 programmes simultaneously?It is apparently sustainable, if we could look into all the loots recovered within and outside Nigeria, government excesses, take home of our representatives in the upper and lower chambers etc; If we could involve more private organizations and individuals, including religious organizations.
YALI otherwise known as (Mandela Washington Fellowship) was introduced during the Democratic administration of Obama, to support leadership and entrepreneurship among the African youths (not even American youths!) Still, Republican Trump administration continues the initiative. Some of these young African leaders are already leading good causes on the soil of Africa.
Continuity of efficient programmes will challenge more philanthropists and capitalists to support our youths. Sir. Tony Elumelu is already renkindling the dreams of African youths through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, but we want more! More from the government, more from the people at the realm of affairs.
The beauty of true democracy is looking beyond political differences to better the lives of the people. Let us support and encourage progression of government developmental programmes.
Abiodun A. Abiodun is an entrepreneur, writer, barber and interior designer (interior architect). He blogs at http://www.mybroadstreet.com/