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“We, your people, want solutions for Nigeria’s transformation”
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“We, your people, want solutions for Nigeria’s transformation”

A central government initiative to offer grants to young Nigerian entrepreneurs should be adopted by both state and local authorities, argues Timi Olagunju, 26, a law graduate from the city of Lagos.

It is an old Nigerian proverb that says, ‘when we use the left hand to spank someone, we use the right hand to pat the aching back.’

As much as I constructively critique the policies and laws of my government as a trained lawyer, I believe it is also important to applaud and promote good policies and laws when I see them.

Isn’t it good, therefore, that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan initiated an ‘Annual YouWin initiative (www.youwin.org.ng), a programme where young Nigerians aged 18 to 40 with business ideas, but little money, can get funding, training?

To justify the creation of the ‘YouWin’ programme, launched on the 11th of October, 2011 in Abuja, the President in his 2012 Budget Speech said that “unemployment among our youth [about 65%] is one of our biggest challenges. The time has come to create jobs [and] lay a new foundation for Nigeria’s economic growth”.

Under the initiative, which is set to run for three consecutive years, selected young Nigerians are able to set up or expand their existing business with a grant of between one million Naira to ten million Naira. It is an equity contribution (not a loan).

Isn’t it good, considering that you and I know that Nigerians are smart? What Nigerians need is support.

But if the ‘YouWin concept’ is a good idea, then what is my own State Governor waiting for? What is my Local Government Chairman waiting for?

Why should they not kick-start a competition, a platform or scheme where young people living in the state or local government area can get money and training to build their business ideas?

Why not harness the resources of men and women of substance from the state (in diasporas and beyond) to contribute to this state and local government competition, so we can build state-made, state-residing employer? So we can, like China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, build and boost potential employers?

What the good people of Nigeria are saying to the President is, ‘Sir, Seek first to understand us; our socio-economic picture, pains and plight in order to be understood.’

Nigerians are saying: ‘We, your people, want people-friendly solutions for Nigeria’s transformation.’ As the late great Lincoln once said: ‘There is no one solution to a problem. One solution leads to the birth of another problem”. Therefore, isn’t government meant to search for solutions?

In a nutshell, if the YouWin idea is implemented by my State and Local Government, wouldn’t this be a “You Win, I Win, Nigeria Wins” kind of situation?

www.facebook.com/olagunjutimi

www.twitter.com/timithelaw

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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