Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and now President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has rekindled hope of a better Nigeria in a not too distant future.
Adesina spoke at the 8th annual lecture of Pastor Enoch Adeboye which took place at the Redemption Camp on Wednesday, February 23.
He said he was confident that a new Nigeria will emerge despite the challenges the country is facing.
The ADB boss who said he often gets emotional while singing the country’s national anthem however urged the Nigerian government to begin to look in the direction of young people.
Adesina said, “I know we can be better. The youths of Nigeria can be all they can be. This demographic advantage, according to him, “must be trained for Nigeria, for Africa and indeed for the world.”
He lamented that close to 40 percent of Nigerian youths are unemployed. “They lack skill, they are discouraged. They look at the future that does not give them hope.” He said.
Invest in youth, don’t just empower them
Nigeria according to him must move away from youth empowerment to youth investment.
“They should become a positive force for national development. There must be a change, the old must give way to the youth. There must be a transfer of power to the youth. Our song should be the young has arrived not the youth is the hope of tomorrow.”
He cited the examples of companies like Pay Pal and Inter-switch that are valued in billions of dollars run by young people saying, “ The future is here”
Adesina disclosed further that the ADB approved about 170 billion dollar youth investment last year because of the belief the organisation has in young people.
He said the ADB is also planning a youth bank to drive youth wealth creation.
Nigeria deserves wealth, not poverty
According to him, “Nigeria deserves wealth, not poverty. We must build a better nation where all have access to a decent life. We must rebuild trust, equity, and social justice. I know the tides are high and our boat rocks from time to time. Yet, I have hope of a new Nigeria. I pray for a better Nigeria for a nation built on the foundation of equity, justice, and equity.”
While still expressing hope of a unified Nigeria, he said, “We are a nation of diverse people. We are not a country of many nations. Together we will thrive as one united Nigeria.”
He said the issue of restructuring should not be viewed from the prism of politics. “The constituent states in Nigeria must be autonomous to unlock the potentials they have based on their capacity. States that adopt this strategy will reduce their trips to Abuja for national funds. They will be free from depending on the federal government. Restructuring should be driven by the need for economic and financial independence”
Darkness will soon fade
Adesina who had also served as the Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) said the darkness Nigeria is experiencing today will soon fade.
He said, “I am looking forward to a nation that provides real opportunities for youths. Where dreams are realised, hope ignited. I am looking forward to a nation known for wealth, a better integrated Nigeria we are all proud to call home.”