A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said Nigeria cannot make it until the nation takes agriculture and its value chains seriously.
He said this on Thursday at the Youth Enterprises Summit organised by the Youth Development Centre, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The former President said agriculture had the capacity to develop entrepreneurs and create millions of employment for Nigerian youths.
Obasanjo, who described agriculture as his second career, noted that not many countries in the world had been successful without agriculture.
The former President recalled that his administration created an enabling environment which opened doors of opportunities and made some Nigerians billionaires.
He said, “The truth is this, if we are going to have employment for millions of youths 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 few billionaires and multi-billionaires.
“I opened the doors of 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 opportunities that my administration created, they grabbed it and utilised it.”
He added, “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 let’s 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.”
Obasanjo, who described himself as a successful farmer, urged youths to embrace agriculture and entrepreneurship.
He said, “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.”
Mr. Ayodele Aderinwa, who chaired the occasion, noted that the future looked scary with fear of poverty in view of the growing population of youths.
Quoting statistics, he said, African youths population would hit 850 million by 2050, arguing that “the wealth creation via entrepreneurship is the way out to combat poverty.”
A keynote speaker, Tope Shonubi, who spoke on the topic, ‘Youth and Entrepreneurship in Nigeria: Which way forward?’, submitted that Nigerian youths had entrepreneurship skills but lacked discipline.
Shonubi urged the youths to be consistent, humble, confident and embrace entrepreneurship with a view to adding values to human lives.
The event attracted youths from across the country.