Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for the creation of jobs for the youth, particularly in the agricultural sector, to address the problem of unemployment in Nigeria.
Mr Obasanjo gave the advice Thursday while speaking on the topic ‘Unemployment in Nigeria: The Way Out’ at a job fair at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
He said there are job opportunities all around the country, especially in agribusiness.
“Being a sole business person in the agricultural business, I had discovered the great job opportunities in agriculture,” said Mr Obasanjo. who has run farms across the country since 1979.
His farm in Ota, Ogun State, one of the largest in Nigeria, produces a variety of poultry, livestock and food items.
One of his farms was among 16 businesses shut down last month by the Oyo State government for defaulting in payment of environmental development levy.
In his address to the students at the fair on Thursday, Mr Obasanjo said the only problem is that Nigerians are yet to discover opportunities in agriculture because the system seems not to be encouraging the platform for the youth.
He stressed that the realities of the 21st century Nigeria cannot do away with agriculture.
“This means that it is very important we start discovering the immense opportunities in agriculture by embracing agriculture passionately,” he said.
Several companies at the event, including Julius Berger Nig. PLC, Portion Consult and Brick-House Construction Company LTD, offered the participants opportunities such as CV checking, consultations, and other jobs.
The Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Eyitope Ogunbodede, in his address described as unfortunate the present system in Nigeria that is unable to provide jobs for the youth.
“The present curriculum in the university is currently undergoing a design to bridge this gap,” he said.
“And this has been going on through the various seminars the university has been organising and hosting to ensure that whatever courses every student offered on this campus will be able to equip them for the current job challenge,” he said.
Mr. Ogunbodede, a professor of Dental Public Health, said the aim of the university is that students can stand on their own and earn a decent living after school.
He said several organisations were partnering with the university to achieve this aim of job creation.
Mr Obasanjo refused to comment on current political issues in the country and avoided entertaining questions from journalists at the event.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported he held a closed-door meeting with his former vice president who on Sunday emerged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar.