(Naole Media) In a recent gathering of prominent figures and experts at the 10th Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders’ Conference held on August 31, 2023, the spotlight was firmly placed on addressing two critical aspects of Nigeria’s future – Employment Creation and Nation Building. The conference brought together esteemed speakers who shared valuable insights into these pressing issues and laid down a roadmap for sustainable progress.
The conference highlighted a consensus among participants that tackling the rising challenge of unemployment and underemployment is pivotal to the nation’s growth. Youth unemployment, in particular, stands as one of Nigeria’s most urgent issues, with its adverse impact on societal stability and the rise in violent crimes.
Dr. Rotimi Oladele, Former President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, emphasized that Nigeria’s historical legacy has primarily been shaped by external stakeholders, focusing on resource extraction. To propel the nation forward, there’s a need to shift from mere literacy to functional education. This involves nurturing talents and creativity, building competence through mentorship, and focusing on specialized fields such as agriculture, solid minerals, and healthcare.
Furthermore, the conference stressed the importance of leveraging Nigeria’s abundant resources, such as oil and agriculture, to create jobs and enhance nation building. Instead of exporting raw materials, there’s a call to attract investment in petrochemical engineering and manufacturing within the country.
Dr. Austin Tam George cautioned against creating employment through propaganda, manipulation, or tribalism, emphasizing that job creation should be based on skills and talents, not just paper qualifications. He highlighted the importance of self-reliance and entrepreneurship.
Prof. Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika urged a shift in focus towards character-building in Nigeria’s nation-building approach. She emphasized the need for dynamic and innovative strategies to address unemployment, including policy reforms, infrastructure development, and contemporary education.
Mr. Femi Adesina, former senior adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, emphasized the necessity of collaboration between the government and the people for successful nation building.
Dr. Ike Neliaku, President and Chairman of Council at the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, stressed the need to revamp the education system to make graduates more employable, moving away from exam-focused training.
Mrs. Comfort Obot Nwankwo, Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations Lagos, highlighted the role of employment creation in reducing crime rates and other societal issues.
Mr. Olumide Sogunle, representing Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, reiterated the commitment of the Lagos State government to provide the necessary environment and infrastructure for employment creation.
The Lead Consultant and Convener of the conference, Mr. Olabamiji Adeleye, emphasized the event’s evolution as a platform for addressing critical national issues and setting agendas for government and stakeholders.
In conclusion, the 10th Lagos PR Stakeholders’ Conference illuminated a path forward for Nigeria. By focusing on practical education, resource utilization, talent development, and collaboration between the government and the people, Nigeria can address its employment challenges and pave the way for sustainable nation building. This event exemplifies the nation’s willingness to rectify past shortcomings and work towards becoming a « Great Nation » characterized by both reputation and character.