Last week while driving home from the usual school run my daughter asked me to guess how much her best friend had in savings. I said €200 and she started laughing her head off.
When I wondered why her reply was “Dad, that’s tiny. She has €3,000!”
My eyes nearly popped as I did the quick conversion to almost N2 million naira. I thought about Nigeria immediately and imagined that if not for some unavoidable family exigencies my sixteen-year-old daughter would probably be as rich. And that means richer than 98% of Nigerians who do not have up to N500k in their accounts.
All the way back home that day I rummaged about the stark realities of poverty facing my people and how many people in their 20s and 30s have no means of income. I started thinking of how we might begin to help. Well, charity begins at home and even if we don’t dole out giveaways or jobs we can at least dish out some ideas.
So here is one I believe we should think about and perhaps draw from.
Yesterday, a group of young determined creatives put together a wonderful event called The South-East Food & Fashion Festival at Okpara Square Enugu yesterday.
I fortuitously got to know about this because I had to peruse one of the organiser’s TL after a brief business discussion with her. So all through yesterday evening, I fed my eyes on Twitter watching enthusiastic youths interact in a collegial manner while trading products and services. They chatted, laughed, sang and danced in a wonderfully creative environment filled with positive energy. Happening at a time when restiveness has become worrisome in the region, I couldn’t help but blog this story as I believe that it symbolises the real Igbos spirit of thriving in difficult times. These are the kind of things our South-East leaders should encourage and promote more often.
We have a huge population of unemployed young ones who aren’t well educated too. But then the fast-changing digital world we live in continues to prioritize skills over formal education. It is a matter of what you can do over what you know.
Moreover, we are witnessing an increasing number of young Nigerian Instagram creatives smiling to the bank with millions. The digital world offers endless opportunities. So we need to start promoting creative activities because they often develop job opportunities that don’t necessarily require a degree. You only need a phone and data to create, market and sell these days.
The restiveness we see among the youths is down to unemployment and idleness. If the government is failing us then we must start doing our part to reduce the number of idle youths out there. You mustn’t produce a large event. It may just be a small weekly activity that employs 2 persons.
For instance, if you run a restaurant or a smoothie business you can agree with your place of worship for a Sunday/Sunday small chops/smoothie promo where you sell at a discount. We had this at This Present Day Lekki but it was kind of bland. So you can actually add some creativity to it. Perhaps a branded plate/cup, some gospel music in the stand etc. You can start small and with time it will grow if you stay true to the cause.
There are numerous ways one can start small and grow big but the problem is that we always think of the end before even starting. You can partner with someone if your plan requires more resources. The aim should be straightforward. Create, market and sell. This automatically generates income and employment. It is not rocket science. Think about this and draw a simple plan, the simpler the better.
You can google the tagline #EnuguFoodMeetsFashion and feed your eyes on various social media platforms.
Thanks to the organisers and sponsors of the South-East Food & Fashion Festival. You have inspired us to think, create and grow together.