The former Minister of Sports, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, on Thursday revealed to the students of University of Ilorin that in the early part of his life, he was a bus conductor.
Abdullahi made the revelation in Ilorin while delivering a paper at the annual public lecture of the Association of Business and Social Science Students (ABSSS) of the university.
He disclosed that he was conversant with poverty but eventually overcame the challenge.
He advised the students to design a template for themselves by diversifying into vocational skills.
According to him, vocational skills will help address the teething problem of unemployment.
The former minister noted that 80 per cent of students is merely in schools, especially universities, because they considered it as next stage after their secondary education.
He blamed some parents whom, he said, were sending their children to schools to brag about it.
Abdullahi challenged students to identify their unique selling points to overcome the problems occasioned by the increasing wave of unemployment.
“I was a bus conductor in Ilorin because I didn’t have money to go to school and I know what poverty means because I grew up with it.
“We must stop pretending about our problems,” he said.
He said that the essence of sending students to school was to be economic agents and contribute actively to the growth and development of the society.
Abdullahi advised them to know the direction they were going if problems must be solved, adding that society requires thinking and skills to solve the multifarious problems.
“I want to call on our youths to be skillful because you are winners,” he said. He also called on the Federal Government to create a special fund for young people to tackle unemployment, saying they should also be trained on how to use the fund judiciously.
Abdullahi blamed some elite in the society for their conspiracy against the poor masses in obtaining free education.