Ikpeazu said this as keynote speaker at the 1st Annual Lecture of Freedom Online (www.freedomonline.com.ng) with the theme ‘Unemployment: How Do We Tame This Monster’
Gov. Ikpeazu, who was represented by his Deputy, Sir Ude Oko-Chukwu, identified several factors that led to the present high rate of unemployment.
He listed wrong education policy, epileptic power supply, corruption, ghost workers syndrome, neglect of the agricultural sector, high importation and lack of access to capital as some of the factors.
“We need to discuss the issue of unemployment as a matter of urgency because it is fundamental to the progress and development of the country.
”There must be a reformation of the education system where practicals and skills are taught to empower people.
”Government has a lead role to play by creating the enabling environment and the unemployed must acquire skills to make them productive, self-reliant and employable,” Ikpeazu said.
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode,who was Chairman of the well attended Lecture, in his remarks, said it was essential for people to acquire appropriate skills and vocational training as a way out of the unemployment problem.
Ambode, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Idiat Adebule, said his administration was also taking steps to achieve this objective.
“The Lagos State Government has been providing windows of opportunities in this regard through various vocational skills acquisition centres in parts of the state,” he said.
Ambode commended organisers of the lecture, describing the media as the conscience of the people.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State in his remarks, said the huge unemployment crisis in the country was worrisome.
The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Taiwo Akerele, said his administration has started making huge investments in technical and vocational education to empower the youth.
He said that the step was part of efforts to address the unemployment problem and create more jobs, especially for the youths.
”We realised that with the right skills and technology, the problem of unemployment can be addressed and the Edo State Government has put in place policies to create 200, 000 jobs within four years, ” Obaseki said.
A former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, urged government at all levels to employ the services of indigenous companies rather than contract foreigners to carry out projects.
According to him, this will create jobs as well as circulate wealth in the country.
In a goodwill message, Chief Bode George, South-West Leader, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), called for devolution of power so that states would manage and use their resources to develop their states.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, averred that human capacity development initiative is a panacea to the growing unemployment rate in the economy.
The D-G disclosed that to stem this tide, the Agency through its Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) has trained over 2,500 Nigerian students in various maritime related courses in reputable maritime institutions outside the country.
Speaking further, Peterside disclosed that the capacity development initiatives embarked upon by the Agency are geared towards taming the foreseen lacuna in the seafaring profession in the nearest future which is a global challenge.
Represented by the Agency’s Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, he also hinted that the NSDP scheme, which has already started producing graduates will soon take a new look where Nigeria will also be a large exporter of seafarers like India and the Philippines who generate millions of dollars from the pool of its seafarers in the global market.
While assuring Nigerians of the unflinching commitment of the current Management of NIMASA to ensure a virile maritime sector, through its capacity building initiatives, he called on them to support the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s zero tolerance for corruption, to enable government and its Agencies to achieve their set objectives particularly in the area of curbing unemployment.
“Let me use this opportunity to call on all Nigerians, regardless of race, religion or political interest or affiliations to support the Federal Government in its quest to defeat corruption, which has eaten deep into the fortunes of the economy, so that we can together make our country great again. And I assure you all, that very soon; unemployment issues will be a thing of the past”, Peterside said.
Mr Gabriel Akinadewo, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of Freedom Online Group, said it was sad that Nigeria, with all her natural endowments, was faced with the monster of unemployment.
Akinadewo, in his welcome address, stressed that there is need to reorder the nation’s value system as a way to tackle the unemployment crisis
At the lecture were National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, Managing Directors of Punch, Sun and New Telegraph newspapers, Mr. Ademola Osinubi, Mr. Eric Osagie and Mrs. Funke Egbemode, Dr. Niyi Fagbemi, Elder Amos Okewumi, Pastor Femi Takuro, Hajia Lami Tumaka, Mr. Ramon Nasir Olanrewaju, Pastor Soji Omotunde, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, Mr. Isichie Osamgbi, Mr. Dare Babarinsa, Mr. Lade Bonuola and members of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP).
Others are Mr. Kayode Samuel, Mr. Dare Folarin, Mr. Esan Sunday, Mr. Taiwo Jimoh, Mr. Dare Oyebanji, Mrs. Dupe Osinkalu, Mr. Deji Elumoye, Mr. Kayode Boboye, Mr. Biodun Durojaiye, Elder Victor Adelalure, Editors from various newspapers and others.
Ikpeazu, Ambode, Obaseki, George, Daniel and Peterside were later given special recognition awards.