Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo Tuesday said African leaders have not taken urgent measures to address the rising unemployment rate in the continent.
Obasanjo, who addressed the 100th International Labour Conference (ILC) Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland, warned that the situation in the middle east may occur in some Africa countries including Nigeria if leaders do not take urgent action to check the unemployment situation.
Obasanjo spoke on the platform of the Club de Madrid, which is an independent non-profit organisation composed of 80 democratic former presidents and prime ministers from 56 different countries, constituting the world’s largest forum of former heads of state and government.
Additionally, the Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to continue to collaborate with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as part of efforts to improve the welfare of Nigerian workers.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour, Anthony Ozodinobi who stated this at the ongoing International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland said government will continue to maintain its leadership role in Africa through the entrenchment of decent work policies and programmes in the country.
Meanwhile, a gang up by other African countries, has resulted in Congo defeating Nigeria to clinch a titular member on the Governing Council of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which Nigeria had occupy for the past six years.
The country in a keenly contested election, lost the position at the on-going 100th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
This came as Nigerian former President; Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is billed to participate at the ILO high-level panel discussion titled: “The need for a new era of social justice” at the Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations, the venue of the ILC Thursday.
The Provisional Record Number 8, of the on-going 100th Session gave the results of the elections to the Governing Body of the International Labour Office for the period between 2011 and 2014.
He told the gathering of world leaders, employers and labour that he will be the first victim of any form of revolution in Nigeria stressing the need for leaders make jobs creation their priority so as oto avert any form of revolution.
“We have all heard what my brother from Yemen has said about the situation in the Arab countries and North Africa. I want to underline the situation that will signal red alert for us in Africa. I am worried , I am apprehensive about unemployment in our continent that it has not been taken as seriously as it should be. I give example of my own continent in Nigeria where we have about 120 tertiary institutions. When I was growing up, there was only one university in Nigeria. Today when you include the polytechnics to the tertiary institutions, we have over 200 institutions of learning. Each institution graduates about 3,000 students every year. You have well over 600,000 graduates every year but we are not creating 100,000 jobs every year. That is the issue that worries me and why we are all siting here. The fuse can be ignited at anytime and if it happens in Nigeria everyone will be affected and I will be the first victim.. The point is that Africa must begin to talk more about jobs creation,” Obasanjo said.
Speaking further, he explained that ILO`s vision of sustainable and shared societies cannot be faulted, stressing that social justice should entail what an ideal society stands for.
According to him, for there to be social justice, the tripartite groups comprising government, employers and labour must work together in order to achieve sustainable growth and development.
“Definition of shared society should embrace what justice should entail. If that must be done, then the question is how doe get there?. The tripartite group must work together. Government are not job creators but must create conducive environment for the private sector to create jobs, create conduce environment for private investors to invest. So government must work together with private employers and labour and in that way, I believe we will be able to make it,” he added.