In a country where 94.4 million people are languishing in poverty, skills in its various facets have been identified as one of the ways Nigeria can win the fight against poverty.
The aforementioned was revealed by the Managing Director of SystemSpecs, John Obaro, during the 6th public lecture organised by the Foursquare Gospel Church in Lagos, Nigeria.
Obaro, who was one of the panelists for the lecture themed; ‘Eradicating Poverty in Nigeria: The Role of The Church, Entrepreneurs and Government’, expressed dissatisfaction at the fact that despite the high automobile consumption rate of Nigerians, car manufacturers have not deemed the country worthy enough to assemble cars in.
“On February 2nd, 2019, French carmaker, Renault announced that they are establishing an assembling plant in Ghana. March 22, 2019, Japanese carmaker, Suzuki revealed that they are setting up a production unit in Ghana. March 23rd, Nissan motor unveiled its plan to open an assembling plant by 2022 that would have the capacity to produce 50 to 60,000 vehicles annually in Ghana. Recently, Toyota crowned it all by announcing that it will start assembling vehicles in Ghana by August next year. Nigeria is the highest consumer of automobile in Africa – both old and new –why then are cars not assembled here?” he said.
He confirmed that there is an obvious challenge in the country, but it stems from the fact that Nigerians are still too busy focusing on oil and unable to look at the larger African market to see the opportunities therein and maximise them accordingly.
While asserting that education is undoubtedly needed if the country must move past this deteriorating state, he frowned at the manner and approach the government adopts in inculcating said knowledge. According to him, “I understand that today, for secondary schools to get accreditation to teach business studies, the students must own typewriters. I mean if we are still teaching our youths how to use typewriters when the whole world is moving towards robots and then you want to complain that there are no jobs and there is poverty? It is a no brainer. I think it is time we began to look inwards.”
Speaking about the church’s role in eradicating poverty in the country, the SystemSpecs boss noted that some of the most progressive countries have almost zero church presence. He pointed out that Finland with the most stable economy today, has less than 20 churches; Switzerland has less than 30 churches and Denmark the third most stable country in terms of economy has about 23 churches. Africa, on the other hand, has clusters of churches. About 4000 in Abidjan, 7,000 in Kinshasa and 10,000 in Lagos alone. He lamented that Africa has more churches than schools and hospitals combined with more pastors than doctors, yet crime increases by the day.
He, therefore, called for a review of some of the teachings that the church passes on to the public, adding that it is the church that should lay good examples for other sectors to follow and not the other way around.
Corroborating, the keynote speaker, Abiodun Adedipe, urged the church to refrain from teaching the principle of ‘give your way out of lack’, rather, it should focus on inculcating meaningful skills on the populace.
Earlier, the chairman of the occasion and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha assured of the federal government’s commitment to eradicating poverty in Nigeria and empowering all Nigerians through various policies and programmes.
The chairman who was represented by Dr. Sade Caiaphas, enjoined all strata of the society to join the government in the laudable objective.