Message From The Founder

As the World Keeps Moving, will Nigeria’s Youths Catch up?

In a country like ours where the present youthful population [millennials] are only fixated on white collar jobs that are virtually non-existent, some are already positioning themselves to be a part of the bigger picture. This people have taken the first baby steps towards laying the right foundation for the dream that will define the world’s development and secure the future.

These people have gone past merely mouthing the “Future of Tomorrow” maxim, which by the way has become hypnotic in effect; slung by politicians, motivational speakers and life coaches alike. These people have decided not to merely swim in life’s current but dictate the tides!

In Nigeria where the average age is 17.7 years and over 60 percent of the population is below 25 years old, these ones have decided to set themselves from the crowd of normalcy and the binge of old wives’ tale—of a future yet to come and of the “not-yet-mature”. They have taken a hold of the abundance of wealth within and outside their skills, knowledge and opportunities.

These people have latched on to the vision, mission and ideas that Nigeria’s leading social enterprise, Rise Networks has laid out for the Nigerian youths to run with. It is not in flowery words, neither is it in exciting speeches bearing similarities to a shindig. Instead, it is in clarity of purpose that Rise Networks has shown itself to impact and impart the youth in parts and in whole all towards the same goals of capacity building and youth development.

The goal is to strategically position millions of Nigerian youths to become reference points- not just in political budgets or emergency targeted programmes or when social vices get mentioned- but in politics, governance, business, social justice and education.

Rise Networks is burdened with Nigerian youths taking opportunities and not depending on office jobs where seats and tables become, in itself, fulfillment. In a country where youth unemployment has a chokehold on the economy, Rise Networks is concerned with diversification of the Nigerian economy with end goals as job creation and youth inclusion in Nigeria’s development framework.

One may ask: “So how?”

There has been so much focus on the petroleum sector since the oil boom of the 1970s and 1980s such that Nigerians forgot to exploit the wonders in other areas. The average Nigerian youth gets tempted with the juiciness that drips from crude in form of high-paying jobs with fat allowances which oil companies offer. There is also the seductive aura of the industry, one that most youths think cannot be found in the agricultural sector. But that is all an illusion!

Do you know that in Nigeria, a litre of petrol sells for N87 while a bottle of palm oil sells for about N140? So, who says Agriculture is then not more profitable and viable for our economy  than Petrol? We have become focused on the gains from a petro-dollar economy that we have forgotten the abundant wealth in the agricultural sector; the very sector that still provides the largest contribution to the Nigerian economy. It is indeed high time Nigerian youths desist from thinking that Agriculture is “uncool” and “not hip”.  They have to, as a matter of urgency, ‘hip’ to this sector and position themselves to become a part of history and not be forgotten in the annals of history when the oil wells dry up.

Today, Nollywood is the third largest movie industry in the world. Most of our entertainment practitioners in music and movies are far more influential in several situations than our President and our legislators. They wield so much powers that a single tweet, a single Facebook or Instagram post can change the minds of thousands of followers. Despite their cult followership and influence, the Nigerian movie industry continues to subject itself to production of low-budget movies and gross unprofessionalism as a result of lack of expertise and the habit of recycling ideas. The question to youths is- what are you doing about it? What are you doing about the opportunities that the entertainment industry presents to you? Are you still waiting for that six-figure salary even when there are several opportunities in the entertainment industry waiting for you to plug in and make a killing? It is about time you stop waiting, dears.

The highest number of technology businesses (start-ups) in Africa today are in Nigeria. We are home to the largest number of e-commerce and online shopping platforms on the continent. These platforms require tens of thousands of daily to oil the tech businesses for national growth. They require people who can infuse their ideas towards making it more successful. What are you waiting for?

On Jobberman.com, there are more than 1000 jobs that are Social Media-related; they offer at least, N50, 000 monthly remuneration. Now that is a good way to start!

But, alas, my favourite Latin maxim, states thus “Nemo dat quod non Habet” which simply translates in English language “You cannot give what you don’t have!”

So gentleman and ladies *tap your shoulders from the back*, learn new skills today, darlings! Everyone these days is a graduate with fanciful certificates from every and anywhere. A certificate from a tertiary institution is no longer a meal ticket to that life you constantly dream of.

Now here are some truths to consider- not everyone can make magic happen with their hands. Not every can see the magic that is within the crevices of their palm. Luckily you have a magic and that should be your competitive edge and advantage!

In the end, it is not just about earning a living; your standard of living must not be at par with those of lower animals who merely live day-to-day, per chance, if-it-comes-it-comes and purposeless lives. So if you have a brain in your head and a skill in your hands, you can tell your feet to go wherever in life you desire and accomplish whichever feat you aspire.

That said, EAT should be the focus of every Nigerian Youth NOW!

  1. Entertainment + Agriculture + Technology = EAT. All other sectors in our country depend on these three key areas in one way or the other.
  1. EAT – To take into the mouth and swallow for nourishment; chew and swallow (food) (_ HYPERLINK “http://www.dictionary.com” _www.dictionary.com_).

The poor, the rich; the privileged, the deprived – We must all EAT! It is at the core essence of our living.

It should be the priority of our three tiers of government and the private sector. But most especially, it should be the preoccupation of the youths.

I thank our board, staff, sponsors, partners and all our Programme participants all over Nigeria for being supportive over the years.

May we do more greatness together!

Have a good one, please!

Toyosi Akerele – Ogunsiji

Founder/CEO

toyosirise@risenetworks.org