A political economist, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, has advised state governments to adopt all skills-based education to step up development of the country.

Okonkwo made the call in a lecture at the International Youth Day celebration at Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Onitsha, Anambra, on Sunday.

Okonkwo, the Chairman, The Dome Entertainment Centre, Abuja, said the Anambra Government could adopt skills-based education whereby students at all levels could acquire skills in school.

“If Anambra Government adopts this policy, the state will turn to a springboard for development in the country as companies within and beyond will reckon with the state as where every skill could be found,” he said.

Okonkwo, who spoke on the topic: “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Their Impact on Youths”, said government should give more attention to the youth.

He said that any country that failed to give adequate attention to youths was bound to face numerous challenges.

Okonkwo, however, advised youths to be creative and imbibe positive lifestyles rather than get involved in anti-social behaviours.

“Don’t get involved in secret cult, Yahoo, Yahoo, sports game betting, prostitution and drug addiction because such would damage your future.

“Emulate people like Mark Zuckerberg owner of Facebook and others who through hard work have made it in life,” he said.

Okonkwo said that the 17 SDGs were achievable and commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent pronouncement that his administration would take 100 million youths out of the streets.

He said that Mr President’s pronouncement was achievable if the youth would adopt positive lifestyles and key into government policies and programmes.

Okonkwo urged state governments, especially Anambra, to invest in areas of comparative advantage rather than be “Jack of all trade and master of none”.

“In Anambra for instance, government should invest in technologies that would make her add value to agricultural products rather than compete with states that have vast lands in production of food products,” he said.

Mrs Chito Onuzulike, Anambra State Director, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency, said the organisation had programmes to support youths who had genuine plans to excel in their areas of interest.

Mrs Ngozi Okeke-Ekpe, Desk Officer, SDGs, National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), Anambra, said some members of the scheme in the area were already tapping into opportunities provided by SDGs to be self-reliant.

Mr Afam Mbanefo, Anambra State Commissioner for Youth Affairs, advised the youth to be proud of themselves and not be carried away by stories that life was better outside the country.

Mbanefo represented by Mr Ossy Onunkwo urged the youth to think home as there were many untapped opportunities in Nigeria.

He also told the youth not to wait for government endlessly as opportunities were limited.

Mrs Cynthia Enweonwo-Arinze, Official of Development Centre for Orientation, Discovery and Empowerment, Anambra, Co-organiser of the programme, said the event was to expose youths to opportunities in the SDGs.

She said that youths constituted more than half of the population of Nigeria and added that if they embraced the opportunities in the SDGs, the country would be better.

The highpoint of the event was a motivational presentation by a physically challenged person, Miss Uzoamaka Ike, a Mass Communication graduate, who through her NGO, Falcon’s Care Foundation, has assisted some students in their education in Anambra.

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