Nigeria @ 60….. What Impact On The Youth?
By Yemisi Suleiman
As Nigeria gets ready to celebrates 60 years of Independence on Wednesday, October 1, Allure spoke with personalities from different sectors of the economy on the impact of the last 60 years on their industry and the lives of the youths in particular. Here is what they said:
Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Women Arise and Centre for Change
……..A period of Mixed Fortunes
Sixty years of Independence is a period of mixed fortune for us as Nigerians. It is a period that has witnessed several gains and numerous challenges. For 60 years, Nigerians have had to deal with loads of leadership challenge and economic crisis while, at the same time, the battle for the enthronement of democracy has been fought and won.
As for us in the Civil Society, it’s been years of consistent struggle for democracy, human rights and social justice. We have continued to demand for an improvement in the life of the average Nigerian, and all these are continuous demands that no administration in Nigeria has been able to actualise. For the youth, it is not yet Uhuru, as they keep battling with increased unemployment, poverty and insecurity. It is hoped that the Nigerian state, will take a critical look at the challenges of the past 60 years, in building a future that guarantees prosperity for all Nigerians.
Eucharia Anunobi, Nollywood Actress
—–Nollywood has impacted Nigeria positively
First, we want to thank God Nigeria is 60 years. But when it comes to impact, I would say Nigeria has not impacted Nollywood; rather, it is Nollywood that has impacted Nigeria. This is because the movie industry has created jobs for millions of people; people like me who would have found it difficult to fit into other structures that were not readily available. For instance, I have three degrees: I wonder where I would have fitted in.
Nollywood has also gone ahead to improve the image of Nigeria once known as a fraudster nation. The advent of Nollywood and the entertainment industry changed all that. Those that were not employed, are now being employed by Nollywood. So, I would say Nollywood has given a good shine to the country over the years.
Those in authority, should now create a level playing ground for industries to thrive. This is because, we have put our country in good light, at least, we know that today the world reckons with Nigeria as the second largest movie producing sector in the world. In addition, almost all African countries see Nigeria as the Hollywood of Africa.
People may say we haven’t done well, but from a spiritual point of view, the Bible says, ‘I will give you pastors after your kind.’ Whatever we are going through in terms of leadership, it is because they are the ones that God has assigned to us as a people. And and as a people, we have not woken up to give kudos to God and to say, let the people who have the mind of God be in government. So, until we are ready to change as a people, and let people who are also in government have the mind of God to rule us, we would still have those who are putting us into hardship rule over us. Invariably, if those who are in government do not first of all remove the business of self from their lives, they will continue to rule us with iron hands. So if people would say to themselves, I love my country enough and I want it to go to the next level, it won’t be about just me and my family, it will be let us do things for our community, because community goes beyond the family. Congratulations to Nigeria but we can do better and I know we will do better.
Government has been huge in the industry——–Amaju Pinnick, President, Nigeria Football Federation
The tremendous support and assistance of the government towards the sports sector in Nigeria in 60 years of the country’s independence, has been responsible for the giant strides that the football sector has made within the period.
Government has been huge in the industry; building and maintaining infrastructure, funding of the national teams and performance rewards which has over the years, served as incentive for future generations of footballers. This encourages them to serve with zeal, and the spirit of patriotism when taking the pitch against opposition from other countries.
This support has seen the national teams win various laurels over the decade, with the Super Eagles taking three Africa Cup of Nations titles and featuring at several editions of the FIFA World Cup and the Super Falcons winning 9 of 11 editions of the Women Africa Cup of Nations amongst others.
Infrastructural development in various parts of the country has not only encouraged our country’s teeming youth population to take to football and other sports for meaningful dissipation of energy (with attendant economic benefits) and discountenance social vices of all forms, but has also seen Nigeria hosting major international events such as the FIFA U20 World Cup, FIFA U17 World Cup, Africa Cup of Nations (two times), Africa U20 Cup of Nations and more. However, the recent decision by the government of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to move sports from its present categorisation as ‘recreation’ to ‘business’, is a massive paradigm shift that is bound to take sports, including football, to new heights. It is a measure that will catapult football to the position of contributing annually to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (as it happened in other advanced countries of the world) within the next few years.
Youths Should Play Greater Roles in Governance —— Rhoda Tyoden, National President FIDA
FiDA Nigeria’s mandate is to use our legal expertise as a tool of social engineering for the protection, promotion of the right of women and children including that of the youths. And I can tell you that we have been doing that successfully for the past 55 years.
The youth population of a Nation should be considered as an asset and they are expected to play greater roles in governance, politics, policy and development processes because they are the fulcrum of a Nation’s development. But what can we say of the Nigerian youths today? They seem to me confused, left to float with no clear, cut- out direction.
We are a Nation blessed with mineral resources and oil, yet, the Nigerian youth is so overwhelmed with numerous challenges such as; insecurity, unemployment and school dropped out. Young girls are going into prostitution to make ends meet. You also have so much going on with human trafficking. If you talk to a Nigerian youth, he will tell you that Nigeria has failed him and you can’t blame him. So there should be a deliberate attempt to make issues concerning the youths a focal point in our policies. They should also be allowed to play greater roles in governance. They should be a part and parcel of every policy process that is being carried out in Nigeria.
The Fashion industry is now more lucrative and competitive——Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi, Fashion Designer
The Fashion Industry in Nigeria has evolved over the years, since our independence, and has experienced tremendous growth, from the 90’s till date. We have also become a force to be reckoned with in the fashion world. Nigerian women have embraced fashion wholeheartedly, and are now more comfortable, confident, and happy, with the expertise of fashion designers in Nigeria making their outfits for their special occasions, casual and office attire, as opposed to shopping abroad which was the norm before.
It’s my fifteenth year, as a fashion designer in Nigeria. A lot has changed since I started. I recall when I started in 2005, there were a handful of designers back then. The mentality people had then was not favourable towards a fashion designer. Our profession was regarded more as a hobby by many, and not an actual career worth investing in. I am pleased to see that the perception of the past has changed.
Today, a lot of our youths study fashion as their first choice at the university, because they have veterans in the fashion industry they look up to and admire. From mentoring some of these youths, I can categorically say, they are prepared, ready, determined, to achieve great success and are not perturbed by any difficulties they might encounter along the way. This is a good mindset to have.
The fashion industry in Nigeria is booming than ever before. There are many new designers to attest to the growth of the industry. Which makes the industry more lucrative and competitive. We can’t be ignored any longer as we have Nigerian designers making waves internationally, and locally.
For the youths with passion, they need to exercise a great deal of patience, be very persistent, extremely hardworking, never give up on their dream.