Six Low Hanging Fruits For Solomon Dalung, Minister Of Youth & Sport By Murtala Adogi Mohammed
If you are a good listener of BBC Hausa, and Voice America Hausa Service, both international radios, then you should be familiar with the voice of Solomon Dalung, He is always with and for the masses, advocate of one prosperous Nigeria. Dalung become more popular during the last administration – always in radio discussing, analyzing, diagnosing one issues or the other. Hon Minister, this is the time for you to act the at the talk…Congratulations once again and welcome on-board
This essay, intends to draw the attention of the new minister to note that this is 2015, not 1985 and the kind of minister the Nigerian youths would be happy with at this critical point must posses/build certain skills, knowledge and understanding of the contemporary youth issues and the challenges of youth unemployment and poverty as drivers of violence and conflicts in Nigeria. As someone who spent the last 12 years of my career in ‘Youth Industry’ I hereby outline Six 6 low hanging fruits for you to grab as quick- win
1. Identify The Enablers, Blockers, and Leveraging Platform within short time: The critical thing about the Youth Ministry is that if you are not quick to understand it, you can lose track. That is why you should strongly make use of your networking and partnership skills to collaborate with core ministries – Education, Health Agriculture Justice, and Labour, with aim of addressing the challenges of youth development and empowerment through inter-ministerial platform.
2. Be an intellectual Rigor: I would like to see you talking in numbers, try your best in applying in-depth analytical and problem-solving techniques. Leadership is all about all about solving problems. With an approach that should be rooted in empirical findings. You should be up to date with factual statistics, studies, research and data that will inform key decisions, policy direction and submission of memo at the executive council for deliberation and approval. For instance one study that the minister should be familiar with is that of the British Council that was released In 2010. In a nutshell, the report revealed that Nigeria’s booming population of young people might be a great dividend for the country’s economy in the coming decades, but if the Nigerian government does not take steps to engage young people, the country might face a “demographic disaster”. Five years down the line, the picture painted by the report is becoming more vivid as what I may call ‘the youth condition’ is worsening.
3. Develop a Quick-Win and Huge-impact Programs and projects: In a country of about 170 million people, 60 per cent is youthful. It is projected that by the year 2020, Nigeria’s population will cross the 200 million mark, and by 2050 the country would be the fifth most populous country in the world. Is it not scary to imagine a youth population in tens of millions that are engaged in the use of hard drugs, vandalism, oil theft, kidnapping, Internet fraud, prostitution, thuggery, and other vices?
President Muhammad Buhari, the new minister and his team should note that, without remedial action, the crisis in the job market would continue to worsen as growing numbers of young Nigerians enter the workforce. Nigeria needs to create almost 25 million jobs over the next ten years if it is to offer work to new entrants, and halve current unemployment rate.
4. Develop a Strong Platform For Private Sector Collaboration and Partnerships: it is important for the new Minister to have better understanding of the need to collaborate with the private sector, civil society groups, and international development partners. This task is very crucial, as it will help in leveraging development partners and private sectors resources. There are several local and multinational businesses operating in Nigeria that have youth development programmes as part of their corporate social responsibility from scholarships to job placements. There are also a good numbers of international development organizations (prominent examples include the World Bank, African Development Bank, British Council, DFID, US Embassy and USAID) that focus on youth development. The new youth minister must use his influence as a member of the executive council to push donors and implementing partners to develop long-term, quick-impact intervention with support of youth-based organizations to provide skills and entrepreneurial trainings, job placements, business development services and conditional credit to youths
5. Work Innovatively and Smartly With Youth Online: Working together with youth both online and offline is very important for any minister of youth development that want to succeed. Therefore, the new Youth Minister will have to be a social media-guru, one who thoroughly understands the tools and ways of how the social media works. This requirement is non-negotiable as a substantial part of the engagement with young Nigerians will have to be done through blogs, Facebook, Quora, Twitter and Instagram by responding to questions raised by young Nigerians.
6. Have Good Understanding Of The Concept of Youth Social Safety Net: Globally, the in-thing now is addressing the challenges associated with poverty through youth social safety net called Conditional Cash Transfer CCT. I will recommend a book for you here Hon Minister try and read “Barrientos &Hulme Model of “Just Give Money To The Poor” In addition, you should also try and facilitate the repositioning the youth development Ministry – specifically to sustainably increase the access of unemployed youth to entrepreneurial skills and employment opportunities for self-reliance and income security by working together with key government departments and agencies that implements projects and schemes such NDE, SMEDAN and others. If Nigeria fails to empower the teeming populations of young people, the seriousness of the country’s predicament should not be underestimated. Its prospects will be bleak and could be catastrophic.
I will conclude with some of the key findings of the British Council 2010 report, which revealed that, Nigeria stands on the threshold of what could be the greatest transformation in its history. By 2030, it will be one of the few countries in the world that has young workers in plentiful supply…Youth, not oil, will be the country’s most valuable resource in the twenty-first century.
Murtala Adogi Mohammed
Murry Greens Konsult