By Abiodun Taiwo, Abeokuta.
Former Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday called on government at all levels to invest more in agriculture as it remains the largest employer of labour.
The Former president also opined that Nigeria can never make it until the nation takes agriculture sector seriously.
He said agriculture has capacity to develop entrepreneurs and create millions of employment for teeming Nigerian youths, but oil sector could only create few millionaires in the society.
Obasanjo spoke in Abeokuta at the Youth Enterprises Summit organised by the Youth Development Centre, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, OOPL.
He described agriculture as his “second career” noted that no many countries in the world have been successful without agriculture.
The former President recalled that his administration opened doors of opportunity which made billionaires in Nigeria today.
He said “The truth is this, If we are going to have employment for a millions of youth in this country, it will be mainly in Agriculture business not in Oil and Energy. Oil and energy will give you money, will make a billionaires and multi-billionaires.
“I opened the opportunity and they took advantage of it, and I thank them for taking advantage of it.
“All the billionaires we have today, they came out as a result of them taking advantage of those opportunities. And I am grateful to them that the opportunity that my administration created, they grabbed it and utilized it. One thing is to create opportunity another thing is to find people who will seize the opportunity and make what they have to make out of it.
“But lets take agriculture, we will never make it in this country until we take agriculture seriously. There are not many countries that have made it without taking agriculture seriously.”
Boasting that he is a successful farmer, the former President challenged youths to embrace agriculture and Enterpreneurship.
“If Obasanjo can do it, why can’t you do it. There is entrepreneurship in you and you must develop it. And we will make you develop it,” Obasanjo said.
In his address, the Chairman of the occasion and Deputy Chief Coordinator, OOPL, Ayodele Aderinwa noted that poverty becomes scary in Africa in view of the growing population of youths.
Quoting a statistics, he said, African youths population would hit 850million by 2050, saying the wealth creation via entrepreneurship is the way out to combat poverty.
He said poverty alongside other problems had been with African from pre-colonial era, but all challenges were fought and won but poverty war stands undefeated.
“Poverty connotes darkness and to fight the darkness. So, there is need to shine the light of wealth creation on poverty’s darkness,” he said.
The Keynote speaker, Tope Shonubi who spoke on “Youth and Enterpreneurship in Nigeria: Which way forward,” submitted that Nigerian youths have entrepreneurship skills, but lack discipline.
Shonubi urged youths to be consistent, humble, self-confident and embrace enterneurship with a view to adding values to human lives.