Speakers at the 10th Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders’ Conference on Thursday August 31, 2023 addressed the theme: Conversation on Employment Creation and Nation Building.
It was agreed at the event that reversing the rising unemployment and under employment in Nigeria is a major intervention to nation building because one of the many pressing challenges facing Nigeria today is youth unemployment with the ripple effect of their resort to violent crimes.
The lead speaker, Dr Rotimi Oladele, Former President, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations noted that “Our nation, both in terms of leadership and economy was built on the need of the external stakeholders referred to as the colonial masters. ‘3R’ education was for primary attention to agro-solid mineral resources for shipment away. Outcome finished products coming back at geometrical prices against arithmetical prices of shipout. Both manufacturing and maintenance of machineries remain imports even till today”.
In addressing the way forward “We need to move away from literacy to functional education. Policy makers and law makers should be volunteers with wisdom, expertise and experience who need no “Ghana must go” bags of money to do the needful; let our educational institutions be: at Primary level, route learning and practical demonstration of what cognitive, affective and psychomotor can do; at Secondary, artisanship built on talents, passion and creativity propelled by well kitted learning environment and competent teachers, mentors and coaches; at tertiary level, specialization and well-funded and learning environment to drive key economy-driven fields such as agriculture, solid minerals, oil and gas; water resources, Engineering/Manufacturing, Healthcare and Environmental sustainability”.
He added that “Schools should work more with the reality of resources of their catchment environments. Half of the period of service by NYSC should be for capacity building in entrepreneurship training. Rather than building Megacities which will increase risks of all types and pollution unlimited let us relocate our giant manufacturers to relevant resource locations to boost rural development, redistribution of wealth, employment at the grassroot environments and cost-effective IT and A1 driven new emerging cluster of functional villages”.
“Our oil should stop flowing out as crude only. We should leverage on it to attract and retain petro-chemical engineering products and heavy machineries designed, fabricated and assembled here in Nigeria. We ought to have automobile authoritative control to partner with non-oil countries of Africa.”
“Same should happen to our key agro-strengths e.g. cocoa, palmoil, cassava, fruits, and herbs roots etc. Artisans should earn more than administrators and technocrats; Our foreign policy should adopt: “assemble here”,” manufacture here; Foreign Universities should build campuses here rather than taking our students out. We have the market to drive these demands. These are the sources of jobs and this is true nation building.”
On his part, Dr Austin Tam George, a communication and public policy consultant, highlighted how not to create employment. According to him employment cannot be created “By Propaganda, you cannot deceive the people; By manipulation in order for you to gain; Tribalism, you cannot create jobs by going for the least qualified because of loyalty, you create job by skills & not paper certificate”. He added that; you will get jobs if you rely on your talents and not depending on government”.
Prof Abigail Ogwezzy – Ndisika, of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos observed that Nigeria’s Nation Building approach should priorities character not reputation.
According to her, “Available evidence suggests that youth unemployment is very prevalent in Nigeria with far reaching implications for nation building because unemployment has a negative multiplier effect not only on the individual involved, but on the society as a whole.”
“Against the backdrop that researches point to employment as a critical variable in the calculus of nation building, Nigeria should adopt multi-pronged, dynamic and innovative approaches to address the rising rate of unemployment in the country. This will include fixing the broken business environment by creating an enabling environment through policies; investment in infrastructure to promote industrialisation, which is synonymous with job creation; promoting agriculture; and focusing on contemporary relevant education.”
“All said, nation building is on a continuum i.e., work in progress. Hence, we gathered here for this conversation on what has worked or did not work and the next steps. This meeting indicates that we are willing to right our wrongs on nation-building, which is beyond various efforts at rebranding Nigeria that is just focused on the image i.e. ‘reputation without character’. This is creating a paradox of ‘Good people, Great nation’.”
In his goodwill message, former senior adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, called on Nigerians to team up with government in the drive for nation building. According to Nation building will not work unless there is collaboration from the people.
President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Public Relation, Dr Ike Neliaku, explained that the country needs to upgrade the school curriculum to “help train our graduates to be employable. He added that students are being trained to pass exams and not to have a means of livelihood.
The Chairman Nigerian Institute of Public Relations Lagos, Mrs Comfort Obot Nwankwo, explained that employment creation will help to reduce crime rate and related issues in the country. She noted that theme for the conference is timely and that the Lagos Chapter of the institute will continue to create and collaborate with innovative platforms to engage stakeholders.
On his part the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr Olumide Sogunle, representing the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, assured that the state will continue to provide the right environment and infrastructure to promote employment creation.
Speaking earlier on the need for the Conference, the Lead Consultant, Addefort Limited and Convener, Mr Olabamiji Adeleye, explained that “the event has evolved over the period to become a yearly August Gathering of Public Relations Solution Providers; a bridge-building talker-shop for stakeholders to interact, discuss and proffer solutions to the social, political and economic challenges plaguing our nation.”
“It has become a platform for Public Relations practitioners to set agenda for government and relevant stakeholders on key issues of National Interest.”
He noted that the theme for the landmark edition, Stakeholders’ Conversations on Employment Creation and Nation Building, was deliberate effort to address a key social issue to advert national crisis.
He added that “over the past 10 years the event, have addressed some key issues that include; the need to promote made in Nigeria; the need to promote environmental sustainability, healthcare and wellness, security and peace, the right and duties of consumers, foreign direct investment among others, towards actualizing the United Nations Sustainable Development goals envision2030”.
The General Manager TotalEnergies Country Services, Adesua Adewole, commended the contributions of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations.
According to her, “The Nigeria institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and the Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders’ Conference has continued to grow in stature and substance. We are happy with your sustained effort to add positively to the society.”
“Another example of your lofty effort to contribute to the society is reinvigorating the important conversation which been chosen as the theme of the ongoing conference namely: “Employment Creation and Nation Building. It is most timely at this period in our nation’s development.”