The Chairman of Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh has called on the Federal Government to establish a credible partnership with businesses; a move that would save Nigeria from the looming effects of mass unemployment especially in the South East region.
He made this call recently in Owerri, Imo State capital, describing the situation in the region as appalling.
Ekeh said the unemployment situation in the region is a ticking time bomb, describing it as a social problem of immense ramifications which may see all-inclusive peace elude the nation, if not urgently addressed.
“The problem of massive unemployment facing the South East region is one that requires concerted efforts from the Federal Government and other stakeholders. A situation in which thousands of qualified graduates, most of them with upper-class degrees, are still looking for their first jobs 10 or 12 years after leaving school, is highly worrisome. It is a suicidal situation; one that will potentially explode in disastrous consequences, if not immediately addressed.
“If you rely on statistics, there are over a million of such unemployed graduates in the South East. Having such a huge number of active yet unengaged youths concentrated in the region is a serious cause for concern and the Federal Government has a role to play in nipping this situation in the bud.”
While disclosing that a lot is being done by private individuals and entrepreneurs from the region to ameliorate the situation, Ekeh noted that this was grossly insufficient and urged the Federal Government to partner with such well-meaning Nigerians to achieve more.
“What is required is a joint effort to save our youths. In reality, the State Governments cannot do it alone. Also, a number of entrepreneurs, businessmen and other well-meaning Nigerians from the region are equally doing their best but it is hard enough.
Personally, I have been quietly supporting the Imo State Government for many years in creating employment opportunities for youths in various communities in the state. These investments often exceed the sum of N1bn annually but it is like a drop of water in an ocean.
“The Federal Government must come to the aid of these youths by partnering with other well-meaning individuals from the state in creating platforms that will generate employment opportunities for the unemployed and equip them with the right mindset and confidence to take their place in today’s knowledge economy,” he advised.
He commended the People of Owerri for their commitment to improving a lot of the people, calling for a united front in achieving the political ambitions of the zone.