- Nigerian Youths Are Not Lazy But Intellectually Suppressed
Youths across the Nigerian states have taken to the social media to refute President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement. While the president might not be right, the president is not entirely wrong either.
Nigeria has the largest youth population in Africa and one of the largest in the world but the youths have failed the nation and continued to do so without realization, and without realization, there is no actualization.
“We have a very young population. More than 60% of the population is below the age of 30. A lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria has been an oil-producing country, therefore they should sit and do nothing and get housing, healthcare, education free,” said president Muhammadu Buhari during Commonwealth event in London.
In America, Europe, Asia, etc youths are the backbone of the economy, governance and most importantly dictate the path to the future. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, Jeff Bezos, Emmanuel Macron, Sebastian Kurz, Larry Page, Jack Ma, etc disrupted their industries by charting a new course for national and global growth. But in Nigeria, youths have been successfully undermined and relegated to the bottom by the old, one percent, who strategically picked few youths and empowered them to fight tooth and nail to defend their positions.
It is illogical to blame economic rout on the old, one percent, when the youths have always been part of leadership. The youths were part of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accused of rigging elections, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation fingered in over twenty billion dollars fraud, over seventeen billion naira was allegedly siphoned by Abdulrasheed Maina through Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), even Reno Omokri was Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, while Fani Kayode was the Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo, later appointed the Minister of Culture and Tourism, before becoming the Minister of Aviation in 2007. Femi Adesina is the present special adviser on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The question is why are they not speaking when it matters? Simple, you don’t talk while eating.
It is a shame that the best response Nigerian youths have for the president were pictures of university graduates selling charcoal, painting, riding Keke Napep and Uber, that is working hard. The youths need to start working smart. Travis Kalanick was 32 when he co-founded Uber with a 30-year-old Garrett Camp. If there is anything the pictures depicted, it is the fact that Nigerian youths have now accepted their position, and proudly so!
In Rwanda, the youths took charge by voting 43 years old Paul Kagame in 2000 after one of the goriest genocides in the history. But eighteen years later, Rwanda emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with the economy growing at eight percent rate between 2001 and 2014 and predicted to grow at six percent in 2018 by the International Monetary Fund despite global economic uncertainty that plunged Nigeria into her first economic recession in twenty-five years. The nation has since reduced the percentage of people living below poverty line and substantially cut down its gender inequality with about 63.8 percent women in parliament.
Liberian youths have started their own change by voting in George Weah, when will Nigerian youths realize they are the change and not APC or PDP?
There is no era better equipped than the current Nigerian generation, with internet penetration higher than the global average, Nigerian youths are more informed than ever. Still, they are the most oppressed by any administration, the current administration allocated seven percent (N605.8 billion) of 2018 budget to education, about N435.1 billion of that amount is meant for recurrent expenditure while N61.73 billion was appropriated for capital expenditure. Meaning, mere N108.97 billion ($356.2 million) of 8.6 trillion was allocated to the sector in 2018 in a nation of almost 198 million people. While nations like Rwanda allocated 17 percent, and in South Africa, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba declared education of South Africa’s youth as one of the top three national priorities in 2018, a total of 792 billion rands ($66 billion) in aggregate will be spent on basic education over the medium term. A nation of approximately 56 million people, yet no youth is screaming injustice in Nigeria. Maybe that is even why our graduates are proud riders!
Youth unemployment and underemployment rose from 47 percent to 52.65 percent in 2017, in a nation where youth constitute the largest workforce. 52.65 percent of them are either, jobless, unhappy, Boko Haram members, Kidnappers, Baddo members or even militants. Still, no youth is speaking up as celebrities and the few others they were gainfully employed are too scared to lose their jobs or endorsements. Forgetting that lack of economic productivity is the reason they are not selling out stadiums or getting pay rise like the rest of the world.
Low wages, high unemployment rate, and uneven wealth distribution will always result in low consumer spending, it doesn’t matter how hardworking you are or the number of pictures that prove so, consumer buying power is low. Konga, Jumia, etc are perfect examples.
Despite the obvious, the youths will once again vote in their usual manner, where tribe, party affiliation, and medium to long-term gain govern decision making. A situation where the future of tomorrow can no longer aspire because dreams are now expensive and only available to the kids of the oppressor, yet the children of the oppressed are the tools used in keeping oppressor’s dream alive. Next election, the children of the oppressed will once again be equipped to rig and protect the dream of the oppressor.
Until youths from the North to South, the East to West realized they are victims of a system built to intellectually suppressed and incapacitate them through tribal bigotry they will be seen as lazy and unfit to play a key role in modern world. Let’s upset them, get your PVC!