And Of Lazy Nigerian Youths By Michael Ayotunde
Is it by sheer coincidence that the famous political activist and a campaign strategist for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, Debola Williams, was reported to have stylishly mock his one-time client over the former’s “lazy Nigerian youths” comment?
President Buhari, while delivering a keynote address at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London, was quoted to have said that most Nigerian youths “are lazy” and as such, want everything free without doing anything.
Williams who was in South Africa recently, was reported widely to have mocked Buhari over the statement, which has generated controversy and a major topic on social media platforms.
His post on Twitter reads: “I arrived Cape Town with three other #LazyNigerianYouths whose lazy work caught the attention of one of Africa’s living Legend Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu and awarded his prestigious fellowship that focuses on preparing leaders for the continent.”
He went further to name the other “lazy” Nigerian youths as “SEUN ONIGBINDE, Lead Partner and co-founder of BudgIT. Seun’s BudgiT has revolutionized citizens’ engagement with Government and fostered more transparency in government accountability. Serah Makka, country director, top 35 under 35 young African leaders in international affairs. Temi Awogboro, Director, The Abraaj Group, M&A Advisor’s European Emerging Leaders Award recipient. Recognized as the Female Lead’s Top 20 Women under 20; and, Management Today/The Telegraph’s 35 Women under 35.”
Rather than offering a deserving apology over the presidential blunder in faraway United Kingdom, the presidency through one of its spokespersons, Mr. Femi Adesina, instead chose to take Nigerians to the cleaner, and in the process showed his prowess in lecturing seemingly defiant students. Interestingly, the topic was the ubiquitous but simple English and sentence structure.
Adesina’s long years in the media, of course cannot be pushed over with a wave of hand. But with his mastery of English even more than the Britons themselves, he has failed to observe the simple rules of expression without passing insult in his official response to the wild cry of the people.
Similarly, Mr. Adesina and his co-interpreters, nay conductors in the presidency have yet to explain to us why they MUST first of all interpret, examine, do critical analysis of President Buhari’s messages or speeches before Nigerians should read it, digest or decode the intended meaning and or use it for whatever they want.
This style of leadership, to say the least, is no longer fashionable in modern times. A situation where a leader cannot relate directly with his people, where he cannot have direct interface with the people he swore to serve, but must have intermediaries, soothsayers, transformers and or interpreters is not only unfortunate, but ignominiously distasteful and spuriously demented.
It is not uncommon to see spokespersons tampering with their principal’s statement – all in a bid to achieve certain ulterior motives. This happens especially when such principals are perceived to be having challenges taking decisive steps to address issues and as such, must at all times be tele-guided before he is allowed to take decision. That this is happening in Nigeria, a nation with over 180 million population, is not funny. In a nation where there are several hundreds of thousands of professors, lawyers, doctors, engineers etc – is Mr Adesina telling us this is best we deserve or can afford in the country? Without minding the role and or position Nigeria occupy among committee of nations.
For daring to come out with the intention to re-explain what the president has said or undo whatever meaning that might have been extracted from the original message is nothing but a deliberate ploy to take Nigerians for a ride.
According to a report online, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that 29 million Nigerians under labour force were unemployed, and more than 80% of them were youths. It is evident that the Nigerian system makes life unbearable if not difficult for these generations of people. They crave for livelihood but the system obstructs their effort.
There is poverty in the land, frustration, joblessness, uncertainty etc. – situations which were not directly caused by the youth but by long years of maladministration, cluelessness, policy summersaults and lack of purposeful leadership. All these combined have succeeded to stifle life out many. Have we not been recording several suicide attempts in recent times? Why not the presidency take urgent action to boost the morale of the people instead of going about offending the sensibility of the people, despite glaring cluelessness and lack of quality and responsive leadership?
The truth of the matter is – Nigerian youths are not lazy. In fact, they are among the best generations in the world. This must sink without hesitation. All they need are avenues to display their potentials, brilliance but the overriding system is yet to create such opportunities.
The national cake that is being shared by a select few has left millions of youths in perpetual hopeless and helpless situations. Each of the 109 Nigerian senators receives N13.5 million as monthly running cost, over N200 million as constituency allowance while each of the 360 lawmakers in the House of Representatives receives N11.5 million monthly running cost aside other crazy allowances.
Other government parastatals and agencies, of course, are not exempted from this institutionalised rip-off. Aside from the outrageous allowances, billions of Naira are being siphoned on daily basis. It is saddened that President Buhari-led administration has failed to tackle this deadly monster frontally as promised during his electioneering campaign in 2015. Instead, he has institutionalised bulk-passing – a thing that has now become the stock-in-trade of the present administration.
To be realistic, is there anything, person still remaining that the president has not blamed for his glaring cluelessness and out of touch with reality? Even Muammar Gaddafi who died since 2011 was not spared by the ever blaming president. It simply means an admittance of failure and helplessness.
Realistically, government alone cannot shoulder the responsibility of providing employment for the teeming jobless youths, sorry the lazy youths. But it can certainly help by providing enabling environment for private initiatives to thrive. This is by way of provision of conducive environment for private businesses to thrive. This certainly can never be achieved by lip service. It must provide essential services for all.
The need for human capital development cannot be under estimated. Moreover, the establishment of industries, promotion of local goods, proper funding of critical sectors of the economy, and realistic empowerment programmes contribute substantially in building the nation and its people.
Nations are not built by bulk-passing. Do your best and leave the rest for upcoming generations.