The former minister of youth and sports development, Bolaji Abdullahi, says entrepreneurship cannot solve Nigeria’s problems.
The former minister said this at the Citizens Conference organised by the Millennials Active Citizenship Advocacy Africa Network (MACAA) on Saturday.
Speaking on entrepreneurship and the role of governance, Abdullahi said entrepreneurship is an “escapist method” disseminated by an “irresponsible” government to delegate its responsibilities.
The conference, which was held virtually, was aimed at helping young Nigerians see the possibilities of hope, restoration and prosperity in the country.
In his address, Simon Kolawole, founder of TheCable, asked the youth to seek ideas that align with their passion.
Kolawole, who was the key speaker, said people tend to succeed with things they do “effortlessly” and with excitement, noting that successful people in the world today turned their passion into money.
“A million ideas come to your mind, don’t just jump from one to another, find the one that aligns with your passion. What ideas do you have? People who follow their passion tend to be more successful than others. Look for what you do effortlessly with excitement,” he said.
“The one that you are passionate about and give you joy. And go into planning and preparation to turn the ideas to opportunities.”
He advised the youth to “trademark” their ideas before seeking help from anyone because respect for intellectual property is low in the country.
“It is also good to trademark your idea, we live in a society where there is still not enough respect for intellectual property. Most of the advanced countries you see today, if you look at the foundation of whatever they are doing, it is respect for intellectual ideas. If you have any idea, you trademark it. It is not that somebody is trying to steal your idea,” he said.
Kolawole enumerated ways in which the youth can turn their ideas into opportunities as — research (SWOT analysis); planning and preparation; having role models and mentors; supportive systems; stress management and proper funding.
During the panel segment, Shina Peller, member house of representatives; Seyi Awolowo, media entrepreneur; Deyemi Okanlawon, actor and filmmaker, and Fateemah Mamza, CEO of Mamza beauty, discussed issues involving entrepreneurship, youth involvement in politics, state of the nation and EndSARS protests.
On her part, Fateemah Mamza asked the youth to strive for excellence in their field, adding that there are a lot of problems to solve in the country.
On his part, Deyemi Okanlawon advised the youth not to create ideas that are isolated from their realities, suggesting that they must be able to relate well with their ideas in order to prevent the problem of funding.
Speaking on youth involvement in politics, Peller asked those who are interested in 2023 elections to start preparations from their ward because that is the foundation of politics.
The lawmaker advised the youth to identify opportunities in the grassroots, before venturing into politics; so as to fill in the right space.
Also speaking, Seyi Awolowo said it is important for the government to create an environment in which young Nigerians can develop their potential, adding that good policies are only made in relation to the mood of those in government.