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A case for the youth

By Chioma Gabriel

I don’t know how you will feel if your child that graduated as an engineer, doctor or a professional of any kind is rendered jobless for years after graduation because the system has no job for him that will make him somebody. I don’t know if you have experienced the pain of a parent, seeing your child you paid fortunes to train in the university ending up not having a job after graduation. I don’t know if you see the heart of such graduates or feel their pains when they watch their dreams die before their eyes.

I remember clearly a couple of years ago when a young man laid on the high way somewhere in Calabar and begged to be killed by any oncoming vehicle because after graduating as an engineer and attending job interviews several times, his First Class Certificate could not give him a job . His dreams are dying and he chose to be killed before his dreams died.

Every year, graduates are churned out from Nigerian universities without jobs and more join as the years pass by. Only those from privileged background get jobs. Every year too, governments boast of having given employment to youths but these jobs only exist on the pages of newspapers. They don’t exist in real life and hence the Nigerian youth graduate watch the society move on without recourse to his needs.

A child grows up to become a university graduate and then finds out that the people he reads about in History as a subject in primary/secondary schools are still in charge at the helm of affairs when in other climes, they youth are taking over. The Nigerian youth is being squeezed by the old men and women who refuse to give way, who remain in the system, reviewing their ages downward every year. Now you have a situation where a man keeps celebrating birthday of a certain age for years and his younger siblings celebrating to be ten years older than their elder sibling.

Today, the Nigerian youth are venturing into other things due to joblessness. A young graduate who ordinarily had other plans now goes into Nollywood to become an actor first so he would be popular enough to become a legislator; an engineer, doctor or lawyer who is a professional to the core is now an actor, musician or comedian. Yet, one denigrates him by thinking or saying that its inconsequential people that venture into such fields.

But the very bitter ones amongst the youth decide to venture into a more dangerous field: kidnapping, armed robbery, political thuggery or what manner of youth would allow themselves to be brainwashed by the Nigerian politician who stole his way to the top to turn him into a thug, that he would now beat the security apparatus in the national assembly to enter and steal a mace, a symbol of authority of the senate president.

If you ask me, I think these are the youths who can do the job. The ones who occupy the security apparatus have timed out and there is need for fresh blood to be injected into the system. A man who beats your security apparatus seemingly knows the security business better.

Now, besides the bitterness that created the mindset, the youth is also under the influence of drugs and alcohol. As a ‘science student’ (apologies to Olamide), they are under the influence of monkey tail, school shoes, Kerewa, ogidiga and others.

Olamide’s message is clear. If you see the video of science student, you will understand him better. But he was castigated and a ban placed on the music which was misconstrued to be giving out names of drugs to be used .

It is the system that has damaged the psyche of the youth and battered his ego. So, he seeks negative attention. He wants to be noticed by the system that would not give him the chance to express himself positively. He becomes the evil genius and there is no end to the evil deeds he can conceptualize and execute.

Now, the ones that are even employed are either paid insignificantly or owed salaries. With N18,000 minimum wage and tons of bills to pay, the Nigerian youth is lost in the system that only favours the rich and relatives of the influential. The employed pays his tax from his minimum income, pays his rent, takes care of his immediate family and extended ones and at the end of the day, goes a begging to make ends meet. So what is wrong with accepting handouts from politicians who have dominated the system and uses Ghana Must Go bags to pack home the millions he earns or steals as a legislator, elected official of government or political appointee.

The youth need these handouts to survive and pay their bills, else, he becomes a kidnapper, an armed robber, a drug addict of Olamide’s description .

Come to think of it. If you have ever been to the major markets across Nigeria, you will see how enterprising our youths are. Look around you when you are on traffic, that young man rushing through traffic to sell you pure water, gala, plantain chips and yoghurt is the enterprising Nigerian youth. Tomorrow, he will get established as a businessman of repute.

Or haven’t you seen the youth on highways pursuing moving vehicles just to make a sale for the day? What about the wheel barrow boys and cart pushers? The Nigerian government has not been fair to the youth. Go to the north. Northern are not given requisite education and are proudly sent

out to be almajiris and grow up on the street as street boys and who eventually become easy tools in the hands of politicians. Or are they insinuating that they have groomed youths who do not want to make any efforts?

We should be truthful to ourselves. These men who keep celebrating the same age every year should give way to the youth. They are there and poverty is ravaging this country and unemployment is on the increase. So, how can’t all these people beat the security point at the National Assembly?

Next to the National Assembly is the presidential villa and that means that the thugs can go into the villa and do whatever they want. What if it were Boko Haram insurgents that beat the security of the senate and got in?

All kinds of jokes have been cracked about the invasion of the senate chambers but you and I know it is not something to joke about. We know the security implications of the ugly incident? How could such a thing have happened without the cooperation of the security personnel on duty and possibly, some staff? This is why Nigerians are worried.

C’est pourquoi les jeunes ont besoin d’attention.(That is why the youth need attention.

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