(Opinion) NIHOTOUR: Stepping Out For Nigerian Youths By Frank Meke 



Unknown to many Nigerians, the EndSARS saga, remains a historic picture of the neglect of the Nigerian young persons in the socioeconomic and political circles in Nigeria.

It was not actually targeted at bringing down the state but a massive volcanic response to how far we have ignored the yearnings of our young people, clearly projected as most potent human resources value chain come year 2030.

Regrettably, a ‘Japa’ migratory Zion train has emerged, with an average of most active young persons, hitting the borders in search of greener pastures outside our clime.

Again, we laugh at the trend as comedians.

From all nooks and crannies of our dear country, it is yet to be seen this type of disconnect between our young persons and our governments at levels.

One must truly appreciate that our leaders, have  become more responsive  though in most dysfunctional manner, taken to engaging this phenomenon and providing opportunities to keep the young persons busy and employed , through skills acquisition, organic and innovative.

At a recent visit to computer Village, Ikeja, it was absolutely amazing, beholding the spirit of ingenuity brought to bear by these young Nigerians in ekeing out a living.

From startups in telecoms, travel portals, hospitality, logistics and indigenous culinary expressions, these young persons take to defining their future admit several failed socioeconomic opportunities, hitherto left in government control.

It is therefore, gratifying and on record in government tourism response, that Nigeria’ s hospitality and culture tourism vocational training intervention, through National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), has stepped up an entrepreneurship empowerment programme to keep many young Nigerians at home, contributing to national development.

Since, he came on board about two years ago, NIHOTOUR Director General, Nura Kangiwa has systematically and feverishly touched each segment of the octopus’ sector, refocused attention on human capacity development and to which there will never be any sustainable development benchmark.

NIHOTOUR’s International Airline Transport Association (IATA) certification for over 6,000 travel trade operators in Nigeria, were given a new flip, through National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), a partnership with NIHOTOUR, which opened a flood gates of training and retraining opportunities, beneficial to new entrants, boosting job openings in that sector.

Recently in Jos, Plateau state, Kangiwa reiterated the mission of his agency to help tour operators find their footings.

He was not a passive participation and mentor, he pulled off his Agbada, challenged the beautiful countryside of the plateau, showcasing the opportunities to Nigeria diversity in cultural tourism and adventure landscape.

And to STEP, which means, Sustainable Tourism Entrepreneurship Programme, Nura Kangiwa and his team at NIHOTOUR, is targeting young Nigerian males and females, willing to learning new skills on the various tourism and hospitality value chains in cookery, pastry, confectionery, tour operation, and guiding, ticketing and reservation.

Indeed, the process builds verifiable new entrepreneurs, driven through intensive and practical ” learn and Do” ecology, with beneficiaries deepened on how to set up and manage their brand start up.

Before this, there would be a “study to work” job placement, devoted exclusively to a strategic supervised apprenticeship at reputable tourism and hospitality organisations.

Eligibility criteria is not cast in stone of academic laurels but defined by passion for any area of engagement in catering and hospitality and as was listed here earlier.

Nura Kangiwa believes that “STEP programme” which will be replicated at all NIHOTOUR study centres across Nigeria, will not only boost rural job openings but will develop speedily, rural tourism ecosystem and help stem migration of human resources.

He told me while on short trip to Lagos, that NIHOTOUR, is determined to make the STEP curriculum work through well-articulated business development modules such as brand repositioning, go- to – market strategies, off line marketing, customer relations, business incorporation and global best practices in trainee’s areas of specialisation, powering the graduands in three months, as self-made hospitality millionaires.

Am anxiously waiting for the take-off of STEP, determined to document the faces of trainees and new entrepreneurs, future job creators and drivers of the Nigerian tourism tomorrow.

Next week: Look out for Hack trick(Hacthron), NTDC’s technology of fiction and deception.

Frank Meke,a Media and Tourism Consultant based in Lagos

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