By Jonathan Ugbal
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has said that given the circumstances surrounding the youths in Nigeria, he feels a sense of frustration especially due to the high unemployment rate.
Mr. Ayade stated this Saturday night in Lagos at the Independence Newspaper’s annual award after he was presented with the award Governor of the year on agro-industrialisation.
He lamented the challenges Nigerians face everyday due to lack of food and aligned with the thoughts of the president, Muhammadu Buhari on shifting focus to agriculture as a way out for Nigeria without her crude oil.
In a rather short speech lasting four minutes and 30 seconds, Ayade explained that utilizing modern scientific methods was the best way to draw the youth’s attention to agriculture even as he warned of the dangers of unemployment which according to him, could lead to worse security levels.
Below is his full speech and the video…
“I want to ask myself if I actually deserve this award, is it really worth it? Can I agree with my moral conscience that I have actually served in a way and manner that I deserve to stand before Nigeria to pride myself as an awardee.
“Perhaps, I feel a sense of frustration and failure that given the situation and circumstance of our time, I doubt if I actually deserve this particularly when you look at the statistics of this country.
“Today, the total unemployment rate as at 2020 stands at 33 percent. It is even more cataclysmic when you synthesize this down to the youths. Youth unemployment stands at 54 percent – that is on the way of the Babylon already; an absolute disaster waiting to occur.
“As we sit in our high position, in high authority, focusing on our growth processes without recognizing that the primary essence of being is the welfare of your citizens.
“Therefore, if you don’t put food on the table, if you concentrate on infrastructures, projects that don’t have a direct bearing on the welfare of your citizens, you will definitely have the kind of social deviance that we have today- kidnapping and armed robbery taking full course of the day.
“That is why in my own infinite thought, I thought it was wise as a professor, a lawyer, a senator who has had a long standing discussion in the oil and gas industry to focus on those things that can recalibrate the social tension and create an economy, create a prosperity agenda that will allow Nigeria to become indeed, the living giant as it were.
“Definitely, the way forward is to create a new cytogenesis, viraminization of our seedlings, increasing yield, reducing disease level and improved yield: until we do that, until we create an opportunity like in the Phillipines and Egypt where food distribution to the poor is a requirement of government; until we focus on putting food on the table; until hardship is reduced; until youths find opportunity to engage themselves, this country will continue to face these challenges.
“I agree with President Muhammadu Buhari that his roadmap on Nigeria beyond oil; agro-industrial revolution is the way to go.
“If you have no food on the table then you have no business being here because hunger won’t let you to be here. I believe that all of us have the background and the experience that actually, the real revolution starts with agro-industrial revolution and that is the first step to take for any nation that is a developing nation and wants to see tomorrow.
“For what our young men and women are going through, we definitely need to review our position and our stance and focus on youth unemployment and you can only start it by digitalizing agriculture; creating opportunity for young men who are out of school to get into agriculture.
“I believe that the entire country is watching and is conscious of the fact that the massive unemployment if not addressed, I am sure in the next five years, we may not have the luxury of sitting together like this again to give and award.
“So, on behalf of young men and women who without fault of theirs, are finding unemployment a big challenge, I want to dedicate my award to you and reaffirm my commitment to yourself, to your generation and to your time.
“For all my friends, to all the business tycoons, members of the national assembly, my young commissioners who have thrown in their zeal, and vitality and kinematics to bring a change to the social culture, attitude and the cavalier of Cross River State, I will like to thank you for coming here to celebrate with me with this award, I will like to thank you and God bless, thank you.“
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