Governors elected under the umbrella of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday identified unemployment as a major impediment to Nigeria’s quest for economic development and vowed to tackle the menace in their respective states in particular and the country as whole.
The governors, under the aegis of Progressive Governors’ Forum, made the declaration while speaking at the first progressive governance lecture entitled: Unemployment and the Crisis of Governance in Nigeria: The Way Forward, held in Ibadan.
The lecture featured an assemblage of APC governors, their deputies, party chieftains such as the interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, former speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, former governors Olusegun Osoba and Niyi Adebayo as well as Pastor Tunde Bakare, among others.
The maiden lecture series was aimed at examining the nature, scope and dynamics of the current unemployment and governance crisis in Nigeria with a view to exploring alternative, creative and innovative solutions that could lead to mass creation of decent jobs and good governance in the country.
Welcoming the progressive governors to the programme, the host Governor, Senator Abiola 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.
Governor Ajimobi, who described the problem of unemployment as a global one, touching many countries in various degrees, noted that Nigeria’s unemployment rate was spiraling upwards, growing at 16 per cent per year.
“We must do something urgently as a nation to reverse this trend,’’ the governor 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.’’
The Chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum and Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, in his address, said the mission of the progressives was to provide a unifying platform for partnership and collaboration among all state governors that promoted the principles and practices of progressive politics to address current and future governance challenges.
The National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, decried the high level of insecurity in Nigeria, attributing it to the high rate of unemployment which he described as a time bomb that could explode if not urgently addressed.