Senator Tokunbo Abiru Speaks At Lagos Youth Stakeholders Parley, Highlights How He has Impacted Young People, Constituents ~Ajasa-Info


… Asiwaju Tinubu Has Solid Plans For Youth, Abiru canvasses

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Industries, Distinguished Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru, FCA, on Wednesday delivered a keynote address at the Lagos Youth Stakeholders Parley in Ikeja, highlighting how he has fared with the sacred mandate the people of Lagos East entrusted to him in December 2020. 

Abiru, a retired bank chief executive and former Commissioner of Finance in Lagos State stressed that empowerment and human capital development of young people in the district takes pride of place in his constituency services in the last  25 months he has been in the saddle.

According to him, to tame the rising youth unemployment rate, and low 
Productivity of young people, there is an urgent need to shift from the traditional path to development which entails transition from agricultural production to low-value manufacturing before engaging in higher value-added manufacturing. 

“The Asian Tigers – Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan – leveraged this approach to achieve enviable economic growth, though it took them five decades on the average”, the Senator said.

He continued, “Like the Asian Tigers, Nigeria has adopted the traditional path to development. This is the vision behind the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), which aimed at systematically transforming Nigeria into the preferred manufacturing hub of Africa. Since its adoption, the Plan has not translated to exponential economic growth in the last decade. 

“This simply suggests that if Nigeria continues to pursue development along the traditional path, the process may last several decades. For instance, according to PwC Nigeria, it took South Korea 54 years to attain a GDP per capita of $21,700 with a population of 48 million. 

“In its own case, it took Taiwan 59 years to achieve a GDP per capita of $20,100 with a population of 23 million. Even China, now a world power, attained a GDP per capita of $10,400 in 2020 with a population of 1.41 billion after 44 years of commitment to implementing traditional development strategies.

“Unlike the traditional development approach, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, brain capital literally entails a measure of brain health and skills encompassing emotional, behavioural and cognitive health across one’s lifespan that enables development and productivity. 

Senator Abiru averred that in this age of digital transformation, brain capital is crucial for every nation worldwide to realise its national economic objectives. It obviously requires such skills as creativity, systems and design thinking to drive innovation, an indispensable metric for measuring economic growth and development in the new world. 

He said, “As shown in compelling statistical evidence I earlier presented, Nigeria is abundantly rich in brain capital, which the world is ardently waiting for.

This mastery has preoccupied my focus and heart since I joined partisan politics after 32 years in the corporate world. It has also continued to shape my perspective to public service after I was elected the Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on December 6, 2020.

“There is nowhere this quest is more evident than in the Copyright Bill, 2021 and Franchise Regulation Bill, 2022, which I, in all modesty, sponsored. The bills are significant on
three grounds. First, the bills tend to strengthen the entrepreneurial ability of our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). As a critical segment, MSMEs are indeed engines of growth in every economy. In Nigeria, specifically, official reports reveal that MSMEs account for 80% of our gross employment and over 60% of our GDP. 

“Second, the bills will help thousands of resourceful youths to leverage their brain capital to create wealth and protect their intellectual property. Lastly, the bills will help them take advantage of their creativity and talent, mainly when they enter into contracts with corporate bodies, public institutions or foreign partners. 

“Driven by my passion, also, I have set up a foundation that focuses on human capital development. It is designed to help our resourceful youths become very competitive in this current world of innovation. In this light, I have set up an innovation centre christened Senator Abiru Innovation Lab. It is a lab where young people can come, learn and improve skills they require to be globally competitive and employable. 

“In setting up the lab, I have carefully partnered with Co-Creation Hub (Cc-Hub) to teach our resourceful youths basic skills on innovation and technology. Cc-Hub is an innovation and technology company that combines social capital to bring about accelerated economic growth and prosperity in different communities across Africa.

“As I speak today, at least 250 of my constituents have benefited from this initiative, which top tech specialists are midwifing to redefine the worldviews of all the participants. I have built a first-class innovation lab in Ikorodu, which will be inaugurated immediately after the forthcoming elections.”

Abiru listed other achievements that have great impact on young people to include; capacity building programme for about 1,000 entrepreneurs and N300 million Constituency Intervention Revolving Loan to support the operations of our MSMEs in Lagos East at 6% interest rate, amongst other laudable feats in infrastructure and socio-economic development. 

Senator Abiru urged young people to support and vote for APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and all the candidates of the party.

He said, “From 1999 till date, Asiwaju’s greatest strength lies more in his unwavering belief in the productivity of the youth population. 

Hence, he has been projecting and promoting young professionals to enable them bring their creativity, dynamism and innovation to bear in the state’s public service and beyond. This singular belief alone has Lagos on the trajectory of sustainable economic growth in the two decades.

“In all modesty, Greatest Nigerian Youths, I am a living example of such young professionals Asiwaju has tested and tried in the public service, first as the Commissioner of Finance for Lagos State from 2011 to 2013 and now as the Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. 

Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Kadri Hamzat, APC Senatorial Candidate for Lagos West, Dr Idiat Adebule, Lagos APC  Youth Leader, Dr Seriki Muritala, among other dignitaries were in attendance.