Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The United States of America Consul General in Lagos, John Bray, yesterday, opened up on why the the US Government has been assisting Nigeria to overcome poverty and unemployment.
Bray said the US government is doing that in order to enable Nigeria takes its rightful place among the leading nations of the world.
He disclosed this at the opening of a two-day conference for 136 emerging entrepreneurs, who were selected from a pool of over 1,000 budding Nigerian entrepreneurs, which began at the Ibadan Business School, Old Bodija, Ibadan, yesterday.
The conference, which is the fourth edition, focuses on four key entrepreneurship sectors–technology, agriculture, food processing, as well as fashion and style, was formally declared open by Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
It was organised by the US Consulate in Lagos, in collaboration with the Field of Skills and Dreams (FSD), a leading vocational, technical, and entrepreneurship training institute.
In his address, Ajimobi, urged the emerging entrepreneurs to have Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) in order be successful, and added that they must be adaptive, assertive, proud of their achievements, engage in more of doing than talking, not to be afraid of failure, be visionaries, be ingenious, logical, moderate, discipline, and behave their positions.
He noted that various intervention programmes embarked on by his administration has attracted a lot of investment opportunities to Oyo state in millions of United States dollars, created thousands of jobs and placed the country on the path of prosperity.
Bray, who was repsented by Public Affairs Officer at the Consulate in Lagos, Mr. Russell Brooks, explained that the US believes that Nigerians, especially young people, are the country’s greatest resource and they can produce a more prosperous future for Nigeria.
He added that young people, through their entrepreneurial skills, could make Nigeria a country that would be “less dependent on a single commodity, and be one capable of inventing new products and services that would be attractive to markets around the world, producing the growth, jobs, and incomes that will enable Nigeria to take its rightful place among the leading nations of the world.
“Yes, we believe in you and by aiding Field of Skills and Dreams, and other local organisations, we are demonstrating our confidence in what Nigerians can accomplish.”
Bray stated further that ambitious entrepreneurs were selected from the Young African Leaders Initiative Network, known as YALI, which is “now in its ninth year of inspiring and connecting young leaders to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security in Africa.
“The YALI Network in Nigeria currently has more than 160,000 registered members who have free access to online courses and information on events and workshops to develop their leadership skills and advance their career goals.”
FSD Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Omowale Ogunrinde, said 729 young Nigerians applied for the conference within one week after the portal was opened.