Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
A civic society accountability organisation, BudgIT has advised Nigerian youths to demand from politicians and political parties their investment plan for the people ahead of 2019 general elections.
The Lead Partner of BudgIT, Oluseun Onigbinde told Authentic Platform News Nigeria at an event on Wednesday in Lagos tagged, ‘Investing in the People of Nigeria’ that the key conversation towards the 2019 general elections is for every party to talk about how they are going to invest in the people of Nigeria.
He said, “It is a conversation we are taken round the country and we are going to present to the governments at all levels.”
According to him, in 2015, the issue of corruption, insecurity, and collapsing economy was the conversation.
He said, “Though, we have seen clearly that those issues are still not abated but, this time around, we need to shift it up and talk about investments in education, health and how we can give equal opportunities to people.”
He said most of the crisis and the security challenges facing the country was based on lack of investments in people and linkages in the system.
“We need to equalised the opportunities for Nigerians as the only way we can be a sustainable country in the world.
Onigbinde said, “It is clear that the fourth industrial revolution is going to come in talents and it is important that government invest in its people, put money down for education and health.”
The conversation was held in response to Bill Gates’ statement at the expanded session of the National Economic Council held last week in Abuja.
The event witnessed different young speakers who said that there is a need for government to prioritise the welfare of the people by investing in health, education and other sectors that equalise opportunities for more Nigerians.
Adebola Williams, CEO of Red Group Africa said Nigeria human resource should not only be harnessed but, serves as a tool to make development happen.
He said, “I believe Nigeria should be at point where our people are being exported around the world to set standards in the industries. Many time you see a brilliant doctor in America who is a Nigerian and he went there not on contract basis or receiving expatriate packages. But, because he feels there are no opportunities in the country.”
According to him, Bill Gates statement is not an indictment on anybody but, a wake up call to the government.
He said, “With the amount of money being spent on infrastructure, we have enough resources to invest in our people. A former minister of education once said, if we focus on human capital development by building minds of the people, we don’t need to fence the school, they will stay, innovate and create better atmosphere than the education you gave them.”
“Our founding fathers that took over from the colonial master got good and quality education. So, why can’t we have the same quality education now? Why would you become president at 40 and you are saying 30 year old is too young to run, he inquired.”
Another speaker at the event, Bisi Ogunwale who is an experienced impact investor, lamented on the decay in the education sector due to weak investments in education.
“About 1.5million people write JAMB ever year, while only around 30% of that find their way into the tertiary institutions”, Ogunwale emphasised.
An intelligence expert, Cheta Nwanze, who buttressed Ogunwale added, “We need to up our productivity however we can to be able to invest in education to meet our expanding population; do we have the political will?”
A frontline photographer, Fati Abubakar, said that poor investments in the young people of the North East created the current nine-year insurgency that has claimed lives and ruined every sector.
She added, “radicalization started because we did not invest in our people; it followed from idleness and lack of role models”.
She emphasized the need for government take advantage of unstructured education in empowering the people.
Ify Aniebo who is an Oxford-trained scientist stated that investing in healthcare in Nigeria must also include investing in the health professionals, training and research.