Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has blamed the country’s growing unemployment rate on the prioritizing of certificates over skills and entrepreneurship.
Osinbajo stated this at the 8th Graduation Ceremony and Entrepreneurship Seminar organised by Empowerment of the Less Privileged (ELP) Foundation, at Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday.
According to the vice president, who was represented by the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, the trend of institutions churning out graduates without requisite skills to thrive in the labour market was no longer tenable, especially in an era where paper qualification is no longer employers’ delight.
Calling for a paradigm shift in orientation, Osinbajo canvassed the need to dissipate more energy to skills acquisition among the youths than certificates so as to reduce the unemployment rate in the country.
Also speaking at the event, the founder of the Foundation, Dr Mike Okonkwo, stated that the event was part of efforts to bridge the unemployment gap in the country, noting that any society that breeds a population of unemployed youths was looking for trouble.
“Any society whose youths are unemployed is looking for trouble. That’s why I have taken it upon myself to groom youths. There are many youths with potentials in Nigeria, all they need is a push,” Okonkwo, who is also the presiding Bishop of the Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), said.
On this part, the Guest Speaker, Mr Charles Anudu, who spoke on the event’s theme: “Driving vocational training through technology,” canvassed increased Internet penetration and access to technological devices to scale up skills acquisition among youths in the country.
The Foundation’s Chairman, Board of Trustees, Mr Alex Okoh, disclosed that 220 beneficiaries graduated from the scheme.
He reiterated the Foundation’s commitment to helping the less-privileged in the country, regardless of their religious and ethnic configurations.
One of the graduands, Olasemi Moses, expressed confidence that skills acquired so far would help him add value to his immediate environment.
“I feel happy benefiting from ELP. I have no doubt that l can contribute meaningfully to the growth of my immediate environment and the country at large with the skills l have acquired over the last four months,” he said.
Highlight of the event, which had in attendance, wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, President/CEO of Coscharis Group, Dr Cosmas Maduka, among other dignitaries, included award of prizes to outstanding graduands.