It is no doubt a rude shock that millions of Nigerian youth who have been adjudged as one of the most hardworking, resilient and industrious in the world were disgraced by their country’s number one citizen, President Muhammadu Buhari while attending a meeting in London last Wednesday.
Buhari, while attending Commonwealth Business Forum in Westminster, instead of telling the world and those present that Nigerian youth have a lot of yet-to-be identified and untapped potentials, but some of them are handicapped because the environment is not conducive for them to realise their God giving talents, however shocked the world that most youths in his country prefer to do nothing because they feel Nigeria is an oil-rich nation.
Buhari was quoted as saying, “About the economy, we have a very young population, our population is estimated conservatively to be 180 million. This is a very conservative one.
“More than 60 percent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education for free.”
I stand to disagree with Mr. President’s outburst because Nigerian youth are not in any way claiming that we have oil and they should not work. I ask Mr. President to name any company that pays its workers regularly and concerned about their welfare that has so far, sincerely sack any youth in this country or abroad because he or she is lazy. He should also name the individual for sake of clarity.
Though, the Presidency and some top government functionaries, adults, academia, activists and even some youths, maybe due to ethnic, religious, political party affiliation, ignorance or pecuniary reasons are still defending the defenseless Presidential outburst, I don’t mind them and I will not blame them, they are one way or the other benefiting from the largesse and reaping from our commonwealth at the detriment of all of us. That is why they are always in the habit of defending their heroes even when such person is wrong. I decided not to blame them because, it is generally believe that he who pays the piper dictates the tune.
Why will the President, instead of projecting image of the youths and the country at large make such statement that has generated a lot of criticisms?. I think the image makers in the Presidency still need a lot of lessons to learn from this and I am sure they must have leant some on what to and not to say abroad even at home by whoever is giving the opportunity to talk in any gathering.
I must also add that I happened to be one of the supporters and campaigners for this administration, either secretly or openly before it came to power in 2015 through one on one discussions, analysis and publications, I purposely did that due to the fact that, I was told that Buhari/Idiagbon led military adminstration between December 31st 1983 and August 1985 meant well for Nigeria and her people, but reverse is the case since 2015 when he was elected to lead us. It is a surprise that is is not what we expected that is happening.
This administration promised a lot of things include reduction in the pump price of petrol, increased megawatts of electricity and constant electricity supply, good roads and other infrastructure, jobs creation, feeding of school children, putting a stop to security challenges and fight against corruption among others. The only ones I can vividly see is the NPower jobs and the trial of perceived corrupt persons in the media.
It is saddening that despite the claims that Boko Haram insurgents have been defeated, many Nigerians are being killed on daily basis in the North East. Many people are being killed in Kaduna, Benue, Zamfara, Kogi and Nassarawa among others as if those states are not part of Nigeria.
It is now time to speak the truth and nothing but the truth. Nigerians should realise that it is until we clearly eschew sentiments that we can move forward. We should endeavor to call a space a space. We should not allow our relationship with whoever in charge to cover our faces on issues that affect our collective goals as people.
I will urge President Buhari to wake up early in the morning and visit streets of Ibadan, Lagos, Kano, Jos, Kaduna, Aba and Onitsha whether he will not see thousands of teenagers and youths hustling, selling sachet water, soft drinks, engaging in menial jobs among others in order to feed themselves and even their family members.
Mr. President need to visit our ivory towers and see thousands of students, male and female engaging in all kinds of businesses in order to survive because they are the ones responsible for payment of their school fees. Speaking from a personal experience, I have seen many graduates who engaged themselves as bus conductors, drivers and labourers in order to sponsor their education. I have seen thousands of graduates who sponsored themselves, they missed lectures but still make excellent results because they were determined. Are these people among the lazy ones?
Thousands of Nigerian youth have been adjudged as the best in their various fields of endeavours even those outside the shores of Nigeria are excelling more than their counterparts from other countries.
It is now pertinent to ask Mr. President, “Where are the lazy youths” he was referring to. I am a youth and a voice to my own generation. We are not lazy but are hardworking people.
If Mr. President could not come out and name the lazy youths, I am now asking him to within three days after this publication to without wasting more time, apologise to Nigerian youth and Nigerians in general for making such derogative statement about Nigerian youth.
Nigerian youth are not lazy. We are not lazy, because we are doing our best to make it. I am not lazy, but doing my best to succeed.
Mr. President should be told point blank that, it is he and past leaders of Nigeria who deliberately during their youthful age ruined the country that are making those he accused as lazy to be lazy.
This is because some of them, I will not mention names, had the opportunity to rule Nigeria at the ages of 20s, 30s and 40s, they destroyed the ladder due to unfavorable policies they introduced while in government. The ladder they destroyed is what we are trying to resuscitate. When we finally bring it back, I am sure they will be sent back to their respective homes in 2019 with our PVCs.
We have the opportunity to produce a military Head of State at the age of 29 in Nigeria. We have the opportunity to produce Federal ministers in the first republic at the age of 20s, in the defunct Western region, we have the opportunity to produce commissioners who were in their 20s and they performed excellently. So, kindly name the lazy youths sir.
Mr. President should understand that majority of those who he accused as lazy are making it despite unfavorable policies he and other past leaders introduced since independence.
Mr. President should also understand that youths between 18 and 40 years contribute more than 40 percent of the voters population in the present day Nigeria, he should understand that many youths decided to support him due to his campaign promises which are no more realistic after almost three years in government.
Majority of them including myself used their resources to campaign secretly or openly for you, but due to these attacks and unguided statements on our collective intelligence we have decided to do otherwise henceforth.
That is when you will know the worth of the youths accused as lazy. If you accuse us as lazy, that means you need to leave the stage for a government that will engage us meaningfully.
Mr. President should also understand that if some youths are lazy, it is the government policies coupled with their social environment that is making them to be lazy.
As Karl Marx (1818-1883) postulates that “It is not the consciousness of man that determines his being, rather, it is his social environment”.
Mr. President should know that Nigerian youth are not lazy, if they are lazy as claimed by Mr. Buhari, his government policies are responsible for their laziness going by Marx’s explanation quoted above.
It is on this note that I am now asking Mr. President to name the lazy youths he was referring to within three days after this publication.
The President should apologise to Nigerians youths for making such remark if he fails to name the lazy youths.
I am a voice to my generation, a Nigerian youth, a professional Social Worker, a trained and practising Journalist, but I am not lazy.
Musliudeen Adebayo sent this via firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: The opinion expressed in this article is of the writer and not necessarily of the publisher.