By Balogun Damilola
The year 2020 – 2021, according to certain reports would have severe impacts on the economy of all nations across the world, and depending on how each of these countries manage it, and how each and every one of them would survive it.
This is as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic, and this pandemic has seen few people being laid off from work and some companies downsizing.
In this regard, Balogun Damilola of Yemiefash.com, had The President of the ECOWAS Youth Council in an interview, and he talked about how these situations can be managed.
Here, Excerpts after Interview Cover
Firstly, can we know a little about you Sir.
Seun Williams: I am Mr Seun Ologun Emmanuel Williams, a native of Ondo State, Nigeria. The President of ECOWAS youth council, the largest youth organisation in West Africa of over two hundred million youth. I am also a youth developer, an activist, a consultant on peace and security, and as well an expert in this various categories in which I have been practicing for over six years now most especially in the West Africa.
The Coronavirus disease 2019 also known as Covid19 is a communicable respiratory disease caused by a new strain of Coronavirus that causes illness and death in humans. As the President of the ECOWAS youth council, during this period of Covid19, how have you been able to reach out to youths under this body and see how they are faring?
Seun Williams: We have been engaging young people from all angles. We have been doing so much in advocacy via social media by enlightening youths about Covid19 and also giving them the necessary precautions they need to follow as propounded by the W.H.O ( World Health Organization). We have also been engaging in giving back to the society via giveaways, not just online giveaways but reaching out to people such as the youths, widows, widowers and so on by giving them Covid19 relief materials so as for them to be able to sustain their lives within this period of time. On this note, we have tried reaching out to people to distribute Covid19 palliatives on three different occasions in which they were carried out here in Nigeria in the south west, Ondo and also in Abuja. All this was done so as to support people during this pandemic period. Currently, we want to engage people most especially the youths, whereby a program tagged Post Covid19 Reality in form of an E-meeting or E-conference will be coming up on the 19th of May, 2020 so as to enlighten youths on post Covid19 entrepreneurship and self reliance because we are very much curious on to the fact that so many people will loose a lot of job opportunities now and also after the Covid19. So, as the President of the ECOWAS youth council, we intend using this medium ( E-conference ) to enlighten people on how they can develop themselves on self reliance, entrepreneurship in order to earn a good living for themselves.
I have heard of cases whereby some companies have laid off their staffs during this period of Covid19, it’s not going to be a surprise that youths may get affected mostly. As the President of the ECOWAS youth council, how does this affects you? And what do you think can be done?
Seun Williams; Yes, this is a global issue, everyone is trying to way options. Well, if i also have a company, I will do such, but then, what i feel should happen is that, for private company owners, they should be considerate enough in the sense that they shouldn’t lay off their staffs during this period of time, because this is not the best solution, from my own perspective, I feel if any step or measure is going to be taken so as to maintain the growth and development of the organization, it should be that a certain percentage of not more than 40% are to be removed from every staffs salary working in the organization rather than laying off majority of the staff. By this measure, one has reduced the rate of unemployment during and after this pandemic. If such steps are not taken by those organizations, this might lead to calamities, unemployment after this pandemic. However, some of the youths we have now are not patient now, they might actually go into fraud via social vices due to unemployment and all sorts. So, the best thing that can be done by private organization is that salaries shoud be reduced to a minimal level that will also be appreciateable by the staff of the organization rather than having a lot of people been pull out of their jobs.
If I may ask sir, what are the realities of preparing oneself and retailing in a Covid19 world most especially in Africa?
Seun Williams: Well, this is simple as we maintaining what we have, and by cutting out coat according to our size. However, we can see the relaxation of the lockdown from different countries in the world even in Africa and here in Nigeria. People have started going back to their place of work as well as managing and containing this deadly virus ( Covid19 ) by following the necessary precautions stated by the World Health Organization ( W.H.O ). So, this period is as explanatory as basically cutting one’s coat according to one’s size, the government will not do anything. Of course, we should expect more from the government on empowering youths, creating job opportunities and all sorts, but the bitter truth is that we should’nt rely on the type of government we have here in Nigeria and Africa as well, so it’s better for people to cut their coat according to their size, not even their size but according to the status they actually find themselves in.
I saw on your platform, West Africa (ECOWAS) youth council to be hosting a program on the 19th of May, 2020; Post Covid19 reality, a critical analysis of African talent and the opportunities within. With due respect Sir, what should people be expecting from this program?
Seun Williams; Yeah, you are right, we have a list of outlined speakers, this speakers are one of the best we can on find in various platforms such as the social media, entrepreneurship, social activist, brand influencers and all sorts. They will be enlightening people most especially youths on how they can use their talents,develop their skills or probably start engaging themselves in one or two things so as to earn a good living for themselves against the post Covid19 reality and their lifetime as well.