Though General Obasanjo is part of our problems as a nation,he has a distinct character of commenting bluntly on issues. This was the case when the former president warned of an imminent revolution in Nigeria,if the business of governance continues as usual. He expressed fears that “Nigeria will witness a revolution soon unless government takes urgent steps to check the growing youth unemployment and poverty.
There is no doubt,that we the Nigerian youth have no confidence in the present crop of rulers in Nigeria. We are under no illusion,that they do not have our interest at heart. We are positive,that if nothing drastic is done we will continue to suffer and wallow in poverty while they continue to indulge themselves and their families at our expense.
Indications and signs pointing to the failure of the rulers of Nigeria abound. One needs no soothsayers to know that all is not well,if a country as rich as Nigeria has a 72 percent youth unemployment rate.
A Nigerian graduate begins to sense a bleak future ahead while serving the compulsory and irrelevant one year national youth service corps scheme. It is then that he/she will go for months without receiving his/her monthly allowance and without any explanation. I know many corp members that had to rely on the goodwill of their host communities to feed themselves because of the inability of those concerned,to ensure that they receive their allowance as at when due.
Graduation in Nigeria has seized to have it required significance,as far as finding a means of livelihood is concerned. Because its only those considered extremely lucky that find jobs with their qualifications within 2 to 3 years after graduation. Some unfortunate one’s who were unlucky not to have learnt a trade,go for as long as 10 years without jobs.
All these problems regarding job search surprisingly affects the masses only, for the children of the ruling class and their cronies change jobs at will the moment an opening becomes available. Its only after they have sorted out the best and more promising jobs,that the crumbs are then left for the masses to occupy.
The other section of Nigerian youths whom have chosen to learn a trade to better themselves rather than acquiring a certificate that doesn’t guarantee a daily bread,also face challenges and artificial obstacles created by years of corruption and gross selfishness of nigerian rulers.
From Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 to date,Nigeria has had more than 500 youth empowerment programmes created between the federal,states and local governments that have so far yielded no positive results. As a matter of fact,we the Nigerian youths see those empowerment schemes as avenues for local politicians And their cronies to corner the remaining crumbs being passed down from the top in the name of the destitute Nigerian youths. Anyone conversant with the process involved in the shady empowerment programmes knows that,the list of beneficiaries are usually filled with ghost names created by local organisers at the expense of the hard-working Nigerian youths.
These series of challenges and dashed hopes,turned a large amount of Nigerian youths into Okada riders. This trade was at one time the highest employer of Nigeria’s teeming youths. To further demonstrate their lack of sympathy for the plight of the unemployed, some state governments have now banned the Okada trade without offering any tangible alternative to thousands of the grounded Okada riders.
This and other anti youth policies too numerous to mention has demonstrated the government’s lack of genuine interest in the welfare and progress of the Nigerian youths. The fuel subsidy removal protests held all over the country early this year should have served as an eye opener to the government. They should have listened to the voices of the youths that braved intimidation,cold and sunshine to protest a policy we consider anti people. They instead connived with some so called labour leaders to feed us lies and deception. They came up with a bogus SURE programme that they know is not feasible considering their greed and selfishness.
Those who disregarded Obasanjo’s warning are indeed too blind to see,they are too deaf to hear and too dumb to understand the echoes of revolution in the making.
Revolt we shall if things continue the way they are,because we are fed up and tired of unfulfilled promises year after year while our rulers and their cronies feed fat at our expense. Nigeria is our country too,so we deserve to benefit from its riches as everyone else. We are not asking for handouts, Nigerian youths are hard-working and industrious. All we need are opportunities and a corrupt- free nation to excel.
Amiru Adamu is an activist,blogger and publisher of Northern wind magazine