Former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Oyo State Governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday decried the unemployment situation in the country.
They spoke at a forum organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The host, Gov. Ajimobi, saluted the APC leaders for the initiative of proffering scientific solutions to the problems of unemployment in Nigeria.
“Our decision to brainstorm on the national challenge of unemployment at this forum underscores our belief that a mental and intellectual approach to the problems would dissolve the challenge into nothingness in no long a time”, he said.
The governor, who described the problem of unemployment as a global phenomenon affecting many countries in various degrees, noted that the situation in Nigeria was climbing up steadily at a rate of 16 per cent per year.
“We must do something urgently as a nation to reverse this trend”, Ajimobi emphasized, stressing “we must be attentive to the alarm raised by a concerned citizen who warned that of all the aspects of social misery, nothing is as heart-breaking as unemployment”.
Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who delivered a paper entitled: “Visioning Progressive Governance”, said the current unemployment situation in Nigeria was unacceptable.
His words: “Unemployment rate in Nigeria is a danger to the social, economic and political stability of the country. It also impacts negatively on our ambition as a new Nigeria; after all, how can Nigeria, with over 20 million youths who have no jobs, and millions of several others wasting away, claim that we want to be a major power in the comity of nations”.
Okorocha, who said Nigeria could no longer remain insensitive to issues of unemployment, stated that the gathering was aimed at coming up with tangible and workable proposals that would make immediate impact on job creation.
In his speech at the occasion, Tinubu decried the high level of insecurity in Nigeria, attributing it to the high rate of unemployment, which he described as a ticking time bomb that could explode anytime, if not urgently addressed.
The former Lagos governor, who was represented by a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, called on the present crop of leaders in the country to stop protecting their seats and focus on how to find lasting solution to insecurity and unemployment currently bedeviling the country.
“The people of this country are now more determined than ever before to protect the country by way of kicking out incompetent leaders, either at the states or national level”, he said.
In their separate remarks, Gen. Buhari and Gov. Fayemi said there was the urgent need to tackle the unemployment and security challenges facing Nigeria.
In his lecture, Dr. Ayo Teriba, Chief Executive Officer, Economic Associates, noted that unemployment rate had increased three-folds in the last 15 years, with the worst increases taking place between 2007 and now.
Teriba, who spoke on the topic: “Nigeria’s High Growth-High Unemployment Paradox”, said to make democratic governance a tool for delivering economic tangible and enduring economic benefits in the future, Nigeria should make monthly employment data available before the end of each month, fix rail transportation, rethink fiscal policy, re-focus monetary policy and ensure that elected officials accept responsibilities for policy formulation and coordination.