Published on Apr 21, 2018 Yusuf Ozi-Usman
A very interesting and worrying topic trending around Nigeria today is the issue of laziness among the youths. It is interesting for those of us who have been worrying all along about the new generation of youths that are dangerously destroying the fabrics of the society and making none sense of our heroes past. And it is worrying that just because it is President Muhammadu Buhari that said something to that effect, the same youths and their parents have turned it into politics and or jokes.
The question we should really reflect on is: are the Nigerian youths lazy or not lazy?
Let’s attempt at answering the question by some simple analysis or logic.
Today and even long before now, we have been breeding very lazy Nigerians, starting from the very first day a child is born. Indeed, an average couple would not feel comfortable if their child is not enrolled in kindergarten school a little over one year after such child is born. From the point such child is in the kindergarten up to secondary school, the parents would pamper him by taking him to and from school everyday either in a car or on a motor bike. The parents make sure that the child is always with a lunch box loaded with all sorts of junk foods. When the child returns from school, he is offered another set of food; he is sent to bed for siesta and subsequently, he returns to the sitting room to watch films, some of which are images and comedies.
After the secondary education, the parents would take it as their responsibility to find a university admission for him, by hook and or by crook; from where they would continue to bribe lecturers all through the university to see that such child graduates.
This scenario can be replicated millions times around the country. And so, when these children now grow and become adults, all they ever know is that they have been spoon-fed and made to believe that either their parents or the society owe them the responsibility of offering jobs to them. They become, like the topic we are treating, lazy. They are lazy either because they graduated by default, without assimilating the courses or the professions they read and therefore not employable, or because their parents are unable to get them jobs. They sit at home to watch films all day long and sometimes go out all day long, with their fellow lazy friends for unproductive purposes. They eventually become nuisance in the society and embarrassment to their parents.
The fact remains that most of the graduates in Nigeria today only go through universities but are actually not educated and are not useful outside the four walls of their parents’ homes. Some of them are even mannerless.
And those that are not so privileged to be educated grow up to resent the society and become envious of every other person that is fortunate to be productive. Both the educated and not productive ones, and uneducated that are also not productive have the same thing in common: they become ready-made fertile minds for mischief making, including armed robbery, drug addiction, drug trafficking, kidnapping, oil bunkering, yahooyahoo, pipeline vandalism, herdsmen killing, Boko Haram, area boy activities and so on.
As a matter of fact, how many of some notable rich young men and women in Nigeria today would admit honestly that they attain such riches through hard work? From the Niger Delta creeks where hundreds of youths have hit millions and billions, to the Southwest where even some young millionaires have gotten high chieftaincy positions, to the Southeast where millions of naira is scooped via armed robbery, up to the North, where lazy youths are cruising in posh cars and private jets, it is all about the young generation devising all sorts of devious means to make it big. And they are making it big with obviously free money.
Come to think of it, there are a lot of young Nigerian youths who have never seen N1,000 in their lives through the work they do with their hands but who have been turned into millionaires by overzealous politicians. These youths become willing tools in the hands of such politicians who offer them huge amounts of money for thuggery. Such young Nigerians would certainly not be ready to look for productive work, including learning useful handiworks or arts and crafts to survive so long as they earn, through political thuggery, within days, what they ordinarily would have earned in more than ten years.
At any rate, it was the UNESCO that first floated a figure of 63 million Nigerian youths that are out of schools and therefore, automatically jobless in 2017. This was out of 108 million youth, representing 60 percent of the Nigerian 180 million population.
The African proverb which says that what an elderly man sees sitting down, a young man may not see it standing even on the heel top, has brought into focus, the way the remark of President Buhari is being interpreted, even among the youths today. In civilized countries, when an elder or leader speaks on any issue, the intellectuals would analyze the content of the speech for the purpose of advancing the course of the country’s progress. I doubt if we, in Nigeria, have lost such hordes of intellectuals to the extent that the field is now left open freely to the brigands. Or are we all being turned into brigands at the altar of politics? Or are the few ones still having good heads above their shoulders, including the very few productive agile, dynamic youths leaving the field for such brigands to make none sense of what our heroes past had been able to bequeath to us?
Of course, one cannot divorce whatever the President says now from politics, especially as we approach or are even in the campaign period, but there ought to be a time when we should look beyond politics. After all, President Buhari is old enough to be able to personally offer his honest opinion about what the youths in Nigeria are turning into; the situation that makes their future looks gloomy.
It is only liars and the usual deceptive politicians desperate for power at all costs that would rob white paint on a black spot just so that the people would hail them as their friends. And it looks as if that are the types of politics and politicians that our intellectuals and youths want.
In any case, if President Buhari were to be such desperate politician and leader and had said that all Nigerian youths are productive, active and dynamic, surely, the same set of Nigerians, playing politics, would still have attacked him. They would have called him all sorts of names, including the fact that he has abandoned his renowned integrity, honesty and truthfulness just so as to enable him gain acceptance.
What would politicking Nigerians not query as long as it is Buhari that says it?
Sep 03, 2015