Former Senate President, Ken Nnamani and the immediate past president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo have cautioned the youths against joining politics as a carrier without first establishing themselves.
Both leaders spoke in Enugu, weekend, during the gala night for 17 finalists of the 2021 Youth Entrepreneurship and Leadership Initiative (YELI).
They emphasized the need for what they described as a “second address” for youths who want to engage into politics in Nigeria.
They said this was the only way the youths would avoid walking into jail.
The leaders stated that most people who veered into politics now see it as a profession and a means to enrich themselves, which had worsened corruption in the country.
They said that the change that must be brought to bear in the polity by the youths was to have a means of livelihood before venturing into politics to enable them offer the needed services and avoid being sent to jail as result of looting public resources at the end of their career.
The maiden YELI competition which began in February this year with over 900 applicants from the 17 local governments in the Enugu State was aimed at supporting youths between ages of 20 and 35 years who have start-up businesses not less than one year and not more than three years old.
The organization mapped out N10 million which it released to the 17 youths to support their businesses.
Nnamani, who was the chairman of the occasion, attributed the majority of the problems in the politics in Nigeria to people who have taken it as profession and advised the youths to shun the tendency for the betterment of the society.
He said: “Why we engage in politics is to serve the people. But you must aspire to serve when you have a second address in politics, unless you want to end in jail for grabbing resources that do not belong to you. This mentality of grabbing is why we are the way we are. This is something the youths must avoid to make the difference for our country to move forward”.
He also urged Nigerian youths to think about studying courses in the higher institutions that are relevant to the future, stressing that some courses offered in Universities are no longer relevant in solving challenges of the country.
He stated that the entrepreneurial skills the YELI was impacting on the youths and the financial support to their businesses was what was needed to achieve the needed growth and development following the diminishing job market and urged those who benefited to put them to good use to build a strong future.
Nnamani, who praised the Initiator of the YELI project, Dr Dorothy Jeff Nnamani for her entrepreneurial spirit, stated that she had contributed in creating employment and that such a project would soon play the role Silicon valley was playing in America in Nigeria.
On his part, Chief Nwodo, stated that changing the idea of making money as quickly as possible among the Nigerian youths was needed to advance the course of the nation.
He lamented the decay in the educational system of Nigeria today, and maintained that his generation passed through more bitter experiences than what the Nigerian youths face today.
He stated that the only thing that worked in his time was good education which is being denied the present youths.
“I walked over three miles away to fetch water, cracked wood for my parents to cook and cooked in the midst of huge smoke coming from the wood. We walked various miles to go to school. We didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy what technology has brought today but in them, we survived.
“The only difference is that those who benefited from scholarships and community contributions for their education have found it difficult to invest in the society, they have chosen to train their children abroad and left our educational system to die. I call on them to rescue us from this because it was not the story before now”, he said.
He told the youths to always learn from every mistake to engender growth, stressing that courage and convictions were part of every successful story.
Earlier, Mrs. Nnamani said the initiative was her way of giving back to the society in view of the growing unemployment and youths restiveness, stressing that ” the youths if well supported, can revive and reignite sustainable businesses that have the potential to promote decent livelihoods, job opportunities and save the world”.
Sunday Chinwuike Onah from Nsukka won the grand prize of N2 million, Ugwujide Chinazom from Enugu-East won the second runner up prize of N1 million while Ogbabido Chukwuka won the first runner up prize of N500,000.