The society itself asks the question, ‘what is the fate of my young people?’ The voice is loud and clear all over the street yet no one would even try to answer. According to the report, over 40 million of youths in Nigeria are either unemployed or paid below 50 US dollars, as there is large record of graduates every year and yet no job opportunity. The youth employment rate in 2018 was put at 36.5% but recently it has increased drastically to about 40.8%. Each year the number keeps on increasing and accumulates with the other jobless graduates who had initially spent six years in primary schools, six years in secondary schools and four, five, six or seven years as undergraduates with hard labour. Now, why do you think the voice of the common question would not be louder in the street?
Unemployment constitutes to why youths engage in sports betting. Sports betting have become very popular in the country, particularly amongst the country’s bulging youth population. They have to miss one meal and use the money to strategically place a bet by predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome. But would we say sports betting, a peril or alleviation to these young people? Certainly, it is a menace. These youths tend to believe that they will one day become millionaires. This is only a fantasy that may end in mental distress, insanity or probably death.
According to statistics, 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 are involved in active sports betting. They spent almost 2 billion naira on sports betting daily. This translates to about 730 billion naira annually. This is a huge resource enough to manage 4.36 out of 100% annual budgets of most developing countries. In Nigeria’s economy today, the money is enough to sort 7.06% of the 2020 national budget. These young people don’t see all of this; instead they keep on fantasizing in their minds while they lose huge resources that could have been invested on something else every day.
Sports betting may cause emotional depression on these people. As a result of this, it may lead to provocation and sometimes violence when they do not win. According to researches, many youths have become more aggressive and rascals due to gambling on sports. Their loss could mount pressure on them to the point that they may want to seek other easy means of survival by looting people’s properties, stealing, being hired as thugs by politicians, street begging. All of these are immoral and unethical behaviours that should not be spoken of amongst youths. These are proves that sports betting is not a relief for jobless young people.
However, in order to mitigate the rate of youths who are sports bettors, remedies need to be introduced. One of which is to enlighten the youths on the adverse effects of sports gambling. There is an adage that ‘ignorance is the root cause of destruction’. Some of the youth sport bettors do not have enough insights on the dangers they could be exposed to. That is why the public needs to address this issue by taking the post of mobilizing and educating the young ones on the complications associated with gambling on sports. It will help curb the rate of hardship victims due to sports betting.
Furthermore, youths should be encouraged to participate in entrepreneurship training programs. The role of entrepreneurship training implies that young individuals are able to get foundational knowledge, training and resources which often guide them through simulations of a business plan, start-up, operation and development. As sports betting tend to destroy youths ambition, creativity and innovation entrepreneurship programs happen to build them up. The resources that they could have wasted on gambling on sports can be put together within a particular rate of time by a team of young individuals and use their potentials, ideas and knowledge of entrepreneurship to start-up a business (or businesses) with common goals and giving the business proper monitoring to achieve their aims.
On this regard, young people can also acquire skills necessary to attain sustainability of life and maintain a free living. Skill acquisition is the ability to be trained on a particular task or function and becomes an expert in it. In this current dispensation, acquiring skills is one of the best things for young people. Large numbers of skills are available for young people to be trained on in fields of science, fashion, building, art, technology and lots more. Instead of betting, youths can acquire skills like fashion designing, hairdressing, barbing, photography. In this present world, a lot of information technology (IT) skills are acquirable online. These skills are in high demands and generate a lot of money for those who have them. They include digital marketing, data analytics, computer programming, copywriting, machine learning et cetera. This, we could call an alleviation to jobless youths.
In a nutshell, considering these remedies would better be a relief or alternative to unemployed young individuals rather than sports gambling as they would not be affected by emotional depression, mental distress and destruction of ambition and creativity.
Matthew Oduola a student of Industrial Mathematics at the Federal University of Technology, Akure wrote in from firstname.lastname@example.org