Talentism, Youth Unemployment And National Development


At creation, all souls were with God in heavenly places and to each soul, God assigned some works to be done either in heaven or elsewhere. Souls that must come to earth to do their works must wear the human body and become human beings. So on earth, each human being is made up of the soul and body; but the soul bears the work-seed. That work-seed is the purpose of a person’s sojourn on earth and it gives meaning to the life of the human being and differentiates one person from the other. The work-seed is domiciled in the human talent. People describe it severally as “your calling”, “your anointing”, “your gift from God”, “your purpose on earth” etc. All these refer to your talent which defines who you are and what you should do while on earth. Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners defined talent as “the natural ability to do something well”. Note that “natural ability” here refers to God-given competence. Talentism is derived from the word talent. Talentism insists that the state, through its educational system, must discover, train and equip every talent into an organized business to provide utilities for the satisfaction of human needs, increase and sustain national development.


Talents can be identified in different faculties or work-cells of life. They include natural abilities to talk well, clean well, be the best messenger, best clerical worker, best singer, best teacher, best curator, best stylist-fashion designer, leader of leaders, best artist, best entertainer, best engineer, best accountant, fastest sprinter, best writer, best footballer, best architect, best medical scientist, best project manager, best person who can ask questions and extract truths, best farmer, best scientist/technologist who can transform natural things into higher usable values, best businessman, best thinker, etc. In every nation-state, these abilities cannot all be found in one person because one person cannot do all these works of God; hence God distributed them among different peoples in different places as it pleases Him.


Again talents were created to be applied on latent resources to meet human needs and develop the state. Therefore it is the duty of state leadership to think through and provide policies that can harness these various talents into a sustainable national culture. To be able to do this, some countries adopted certain ideologies ranging from communalism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism to socialism. Except the first, none of these ideologies had been able to effectively resolve the problem of unemployment (especially among the youths). Some politicians have capitalized on this to promise creating million-million jobs for their people. This surely is not true because nobody can create work except God. God’s work domiciled in human talents is the most viable pathway to national development. Let us illustrate this by examining a publication on page 27 of the Daily Trust (a Nigerian Abuja-based newspaper) of 22nd June 2012, titled “I want to be a nuclear physicist”, said a 15 year old student of Zaria Academy, Master Salisu H. M. Bunkure.


In the said publication, Salisu was the subject matter and we are interested here in his engineering talent. The paper said “when he fabricated his radio station, nobody taught him how to do it.” That shows a natural ability. Salisu went further to state that, “because of the love I have for engineering…” The fact is that those who know their talents are always passionate about them. Again, talents define a person’s expertise or profession. Salisu helps us here when he said “…from then on, I became a radio repairer.” This means he has got his profession and already employed (at less than 15). One question to ask here is: could Salisu become unemployed after studying engineering at the University? The obvious answer is no.


Like other talents-bearing human beings, Salisu initially had problems working in line with his talent. We must note that Salisu’s primary challenges were mainly exogenous. For example, he said “… soon after, my mother banned me from repairing radio because of arguments that clients raised either before or after the repair had been completed”.  Whether knowingly or not, parents or guardians sometimes discourage and shade away children from their talents. But the other challenge from clients was positive because if properly resolved, those arguments can lead to improved service quality delivery. Very instructive here is that at about 15 years of age, Salisu already had clients and indeed had started building his business empire.


Furthermore, and most times, talents work on latent or wasting opportunities and resources to produce things of greater values. For example, Salisu said he “…picked pieces of amplifier that one of our teachers brought. It had been lying there for more than two years… I was just trying to detect why the amplifier did not work”. Latent wealth always lay wasting, especially in Third World countries, waiting to be transformed by appropriate talents. Thus, talents work on latent wealth to produce manifest wealth. In God’s design, requisite talents are usually located near every latent wealth to change the later into manifest wealth which has utility for humanity. The relationship among requisite talent, latent wealth and manifest wealth relates to the issue of the law of comparative resource advantage in Developmentalism.


Salisu went on to say that “after I had joined the relay from the speaker with that of the battery to the aerial of the speaker, I was just saying to myself, can this thing work? Then I heard what I was saying from the radio set…It was then I knew I had set up a radio transmitter”. When talent works on latent wealth, it results in greater manifest wealth and this output will always come to people as a surprise or miracle. Talent-driven output, when coalesced for over one million people from different works, results in huge manifest wealth called national product and as this process continues with the aim of consistently increasing this wealth, the nation can experience development. This is the true meaning of development.


Free education is crucial in capturing talents for national development. In our instant case, Zaria Academy should be applauded for sponsoring Salisu’s secondary education. To underscore the importance of free education for talent and indeed national development, Salisu himself noted: “ … if he could get scholarship, the sky would be his limit in his zeal to move his state in particular and Nigeria in general in technological development to higher heights.”  Thus nations would lose and waste their talents if they do not put in place a free educational system that can discover, train and equip talents for greater productivity. Besides free education, the curricula of the entire educational system should be talent focused.


“As a student in the academy, Salisu managed to write a physics handbook…he was among the students that constructed an electrical inverter… invented car security alarm that can be connected to a handset…and the establishment of a radio station at the academy.” These are greater and higher products made possible by the talents of teens in a secondary school. Every child is so differently talented and if every child can be so identified and encouraged, why should youth unemployment and violence overtake nations of the world in the 21st Century?


In seeking to resolve the unemployment challenge, most nations have turned to the so-called idea of creating employment for the youths. They have invested directly in the areas of skills empowerment that could enable youths establish small and medium scale enterprises. To nations, these are about creating jobs to reduce youth unemployment and increase national productivity and ultimately national development. Yet, youth unemployment keeps increasing by the day. Why? It is because talents are being neglected. Government needs to determine whether or not these youths have talents? If they do, what exactly are their talents? Do nations have a formal educational system or process that can seamlessly discover, train and equip these talents?


In seeking answers to these fundamental questions, I have come to discover that no government can create jobs; rather government can provide enabling environment to get jobs done. When people engage in areas of their talent(s) within an enabling environment, there is always instant joy in doing the work and the work is effortlessly done well. The work is creative, innovative and driven by decent ambition to take it to the highest level by achieving extra-ordinary feats that create quantum value for national development. Working in tune with your talent means working according to God’s purpose for your life. But when government attempts to create jobs, which is fallacy, they cause people to engage in works that are unrelated to their talent(s), even within an enabling environment (like in advanced economies). Such people struggle a lot to achieve and most times, despite some successes, they are unhappy, unfulfilled and constantly dissatisfied.


Salisu himself acknowledged that “his talent is a gift from God”. Therefore, a talent-focused free educational system and a talent-driven political economy are needed for true development where we can have employer-youths not unemployed-youths, positively engaged youths not idle youths armed robbers,  religious fanatics and social miscreants whose stock in trade is violence.


How can we have a talent-focused education in a talent-driven economy? It starts with the free educational system that must be able to discover the talents in children, train them along their talents and convert the talents into industries. This way, every work-profession is peopled with persons of like-talents. They may be capitalists, but not the mindless profiteers; they may be socialists but not idle Marxists who want to enjoy the sweat of others by depending on the state; they may be communists but not extreme advocates for an economic system that is too utopian and capable of re-instating the Hobbesian state of nature led by totalitarian workers.


Thus, the meaning of the Salisu example is that all human work activities should be based on talents. When those leading all the sectors of a nation have requisite talents, true professionalism and expertise will reign. Such leaders may not be driven by greed or Machiavelli’s ruthless Realism Theory, but by some humane principles that seek to achieve genuine progress with less contradictions and conflicts. For example, to be a political leader, you must have been created and born with political leadership talent and you had gone to school to study the science of political leadership ( that is Political Science), refined and passionate to lead. But what we have across the world today  is political leadership without requisite talent, where misfits now lead nations and the resulting dismal failures include the recurring economic meltdown across the world, the current Eurozone crisis and bailout politics, ever rising rate of  inflation, youth unemployment ( being idle, they organize themselves into sectarian secret groups that at times hide under popular doctrines or unresolved issues to unleash mayhem on society), consuming corruption, extreme greed and stealing and violence in all strata of society, meaningless class struggle and conflicts, wrong theories and ideologies, human and material wastages and the underdevelopment of 2/3 of the nations of the world. A non-talent led world must regale in constant turmoil.


We must note that in the post Second World War world, capitalism and socialism have failed. Developmentalism (development through Talentism)) will take over to drive human progress. Political leaders of all nations must key into Developmentalism to improve on the strengths of capitalism and socialism while rejecting their weaknesses thereby ushering in a more humane and decent development paradigm with the human talents as its driving force. Therefore, the World should quickly aspire to have talent-driven economic, social and political systems that must give every human being the opportunity to optimize his/her talent-potentials, reduce youth unemployment, consistently grow national productivity and move up national development in ways that are decent to sustain the earth forever.



Okachikwu Dibia

Abuja, Nigeria.

28th June 2012.



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