A future without the youths: An epic movie directed by Goodluck Jonathan

The title of this article appears either too funny or weird for a serious article but it was intentional. Now that I have caught your attention, follow me as I address some life-hurting issues. This piece was motivated by a lie one so called Ariyo Dare Atoye (Aristotle) who claims to be the National Coordinator, of the Democratic Young Patriots (DYP) told the Nigerian youths in his article titled ”Let Our Future Decide This, My Letter to Nigerian Youths on the 2015 Presidential Election.” Dear Ariyo, I must confess I admire your writing skills as well as how conversant you are with the historical political events that have affected the future of our great country Nigeria. You started amazingly well with much suspense; I patiently read it to the end because I was very much concerned about your true motivation for writing such a long piece.

 You tried taking a middle position between Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) and President Goodluck Jonathan probably to cajole your readers which I must applaud you for but towards the end, your speedy vehicle stopped when it reached its destination. You talked about the administration of Jonathan embracing the youths which I am about to fault. A lecturer of political science at the University of Ibadan whom I have so much respect for said it is partially acceptable for a man to nurse bad values about the society but it is worse when the same man tends to spread it to a younger generation that accounts for the future of the country. I find you guilty of spreading obnoxious values just like our President Goodluck Jonathan who went on air to create his own dictionary by differentiating between corruption and stealing which are acts of dishonesty. You claimed President Jonathan offers what is more plausible for the Nigerian youths and I want to believe you were paid for that article or probably you made that statement sarcastically. It’s a blatant truth that President Jonathan has taken the state of the Nigerian youths from bad to worse. Wherever you go in Nigeria today, people will refer you to history when addressing the glory of the place. It is always like ”those days it used to be better but now…..”

 First of all, formal education has lost its value in Nigeria as a result of the fact that students graduate after the rigour of schooling only for employers to start offering them outrageous amounts of money which can’t even cover their transport costs to work fully. A times I weep bitterly in my room when an employer reads through your beautiful array of qualifications only to ask ”what can you really do” what happened to the ”on the job training process” but you will not blame these employers, this is what happens when the supply of labour by far surpasses the demand. It leads to an abject abuse of resources. A lot of youths in Nigeria are not gainfully employed, hence the reason why major vacancies are crowded with graduates who are seeking for a greener pasture. A lot of youths out there are so disillusioned, sometimes when you hear them discussing how bad they will embezzle money and sleep with under-aged girls if they eventually occupy any public post is a revelation of the fact that corruption is a viral trend sown in the hearts of these people consciously or unconsciously. In the future it will surely manifest. What will be left of Nigeria if we all occupy public posts with individualistic motives? I can’t imagine how bad Nigeria will be with a multiplicity of the trends of corruption especially in an era where Nigeria is experiencing a massive depletion in oil revenue. Probably one day, a leader would do the unexpected by selling the entire country to China or any rich country that could meet the asking price. This could be taken as a joke but in the real sense it is not funny.
It is no news that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan gives the youths in Nigeria little or nothing to live for. Getting a job has become so herculean. The best opportunities are for the best graduates with a 2:1 or first class and probably with an age that is below 26. This demand is strategic because the companies need the strength of this set of graduates to grow and develop; they need people who don’t use their time for concrete things. All the time resources are taken from them with so much money as compensation and after sometime they are probably dumped under the guise that the company is going through a restructuring process as we have it in the banks. After having the high taste of life, they are unexpectedly dumped and probably forced into entrepreneurship without adequate entrepreneurial abilities. This accounts for the reason why you get close to some businesses in Nigeria and ask yourself what the owner really engages in to survive because the drive and management skills for a business to grow is virtually absent. The picture I am trying to paint here is the highly limited chances of success for youths in Nigeria, the fact that you had a 2:2, a third class or a pass shouldn’t usher you into hell. Youths in developed countries live fine with the basic facilities for survival at their disposal with just a high school certificate. Why should it be different in Nigeria? We are not cursed; we are only being managed by the wrong set of people who are only concerned about their private interests.

I hate playing the blame game but the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan gives me the feeling that the end of the world is near. The major question is always “how bad can it get?” Taking a close study of Lagos, you will observe that recruitment companies are springing up and believe me, the insincerity of their operations is worse than what we have among politicians. They exist to painfully exploit people. These are intelligent people that have sat down to design a perfect platform to exploit graduates who are desperate for jobs. Some of them take a cut of up to 40% from the salaries of workers for a long while. Some of them make big money out of a paid registration process for job applicants which under normal circumstances should be free. The individual ends up working like an elephant with brilliant qualifications and eating like an ant. I will not fail to comment on the individuals working as marketers in banks, real estate companies, insurance companies or pharmaceutical companies whose wages/salaries are based on commissions with a very huge and unrealistic target given to them by the constituted authorities of the organization.  It is so terrible to the extent that some companies had to coin a new name for the post of a marketer just to cover the trauma attached to it. Some microfinance companies term a marketer as a “loan officer” who works on the field. Don’t be deceived by the beauty of English and face the reality of the job. Some real estate companies in Lagos refer to the post as ”client relations officer” don’t be fooled by such. It bores down to marketing with fraudulent targets that would give you the feeling that you are either being bewitched or you offended God.
In Nigeria today, it is interesting to observe that youths don’t have dreams anymore. This is due to the fact that there is no enabling ground to achieve such dreams. This is a country where dreams die, individuals pass through this world without reaching their full potentials. As a proof to this, you will observe that graduates out of desperation forget about what they want and carelessly apply for all jobs. The same set of people that applied for a job with the Nigerian Immigration Service today will apply for a vacancy at the bank next could be with the Nigerian military, the Police Force or the Department of State Security, a job at a telecommunication company, audit firm or probably at a pharmaceutical company. One question pops in your head that what is really the driving force of these individuals? Where is the vision? What’s the person’s ambition or goal in life? Lives of youths have been taken over by the bitter quest for survival. Now we youths have been enslaved by our levels of formal education which is meant to liberate us from poverty. We now see uneducated individuals boasting of admirable achievements graduates with brighter ideas can never get close to.
The essence of living has been eroded off the lives of the Nigerian youths. And according to the great Greek philosopher, Aristotle; man is a social animal, he finds succour in the society. The society moulds him. He loves to work as that is part of the essence of man. Contributing his own quota to the development of the society through division of labour and specialization. He would not survive even a day without the support of society. All his basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, health and education are fulfilled only within the framework of society. He also needs society for his social and mental developments. His need for self-preservation compels him to live in society. Now let’s ask ourselves, with the high unemployment and massive underemployment rate in Nigeria today coupled with issues of corruption which I will still address, has this society not failed us? Yes it has. Concerning the alarming rate of employment and underemployment, I will like to make reference to the statement made by the Special Assistant on Sustainable Banking, CBN, Dr. Aisha Mahmood on the 6th of June 2014. She said and I quote “In Nigeria, there is the issue of youth and employment. 70 per cent of the 80 million youths in Nigeria are either unemployed or underemployed .We are all witness to what happened recently during the Immigration recruitment exercise and this is simply because 80 percent of the Nigerian youth are unemployed.”
That figure is scary but it’s the bitter truth and it is hard to chew. The truth must be told.
Brilliant and highly intelligent youths who are supposed to be leaders of tomorrow are disoriented by the society due to lack of developmental facilities to reach their full potentials. Graduates in the unemployed class are only there as a result of lack of the adequate ‘connections’ to get a job. We see government organizations massively publicizing job vacancies on the social media as well as newspapers, radio stations etc. But secretly employing a few unqualified graduates due to favouritism. Achieving your dreams in Nigeria has become an issue of how connected you are with the top guns in the country. If you are not connected, probably joining a praying church and exercising a long patience will be your case.

The SURE-P project is quite commendable with a couple of achievements but what is the essence of a great project that is left unsupervised, poorly implemented but rarely visited purposely for campaign reasons. Read this article http://nigeriana.org/124368.html to get a glimpse of the ills of the Sure-P project. I have friends that are involved in the SURE-P project, apart from the minute amount of money they get monthly which can’t cater for their needs, they also suffer from issues of irregularity in payment. My friends always end up using the little funds in settling debts due to the massive borrowings they would have done to sustain them while waiting for their monthly payments. Another point is that the SURE-P project has aided modern slavery, at the end of the internship programme, business owners and other companies tend to offer the applicants employment without pay or bonus. They are heavily used and abused without them having a say. Since those Managing Directors at the assigned companies have to sign a form of register/document called an ‘online timesheet’ to indicate that the individual hadn’t been playing truancy at work, the Managing Directors/CEO exercises this prerogative to hurt any worker that doesn’t dance to their tune. This is really disheartening. On this ground, I don’t believe in comfortable individuals at the realm of power speaking for the suffering youths. People that are at the lower class with a similar fate should speak for them. This accounts for success of the participant observation method in social science research. These are things the TV or radio stations will never tell you due to the influence of the government on them. But a few Nigerians like me are not afraid of speaking publicly despite the risks involved.

The government has so failed us that we have become ‘local governments’ on our own. I know the term ‘local government’ used in this context will confuse readers but I will simplify this. Now some of us don’t depend on power from PHCN anymore, we provide power for ourselves by purchasing power plants; this is highly acquired by the privileged as well as photocell which utilize solar energy. Some run these machines alongside some big power generators as back-ups. Furthermore, some middle-class citizens either buy a big generator or the small ones called ”I better pass my neighbour” with an inverter to back it up. As for water, since the collapse of the water project nationwide, individuals now sink boreholes in homes or probably do it cheap by constructing a well and buying a pumping machine to distribute water around the house. Since there are no jobs in the country, individuals right from school are sharpening their entrepreneurial skills and establishing their own small firms with the hope of a growth. The affluent don’t even bother about healthcare in the country since they can afford the high cost of expert healthcare abroad. Assuming these responsibilities of the government to benefit your life makes you a local government. It is quite hilarious. I bite my fingers nowadays when motivational speakers make this infamous statement that ”it is not what the government of Nigeria can do for you, it is what you can do for the government’‘ That is a feature of a weak/failed state recited by amateurs that have a shallow knowledge of the state. Taking a clue from the advent of a state using the social contract theory by Thomas Hobbes, you will realize that the existence of a state is to serve the citizens and make their lives better. The citizens will in turn be patriotic and loyal to the state to avert break down of law and order.

 Individuals that believe Jonathan has embraced the youths need to visit higher institutions of learning to see the rate at which young folks are applying for postgraduate degrees. This isn’t due to their passion for education but as a result of the fear of staying at home, lazying around the street with nothing worthwhile to do. People even submit their applications before finishing NYSC programme. Poor folks are pushed to pay big amounts of money to obtain application forms. Since I promised to argue with facts, yes I mean strictly facts. I will use the University of Ibadan as a case study because I obtained a masters degree in Political Science. Based on my observation of the admission process in the social science faculty, I realized that a department with the educational facilities to accommodate just 50 masters students gets applications for 500 applicants. This became a point of concern to the faculty that correctively started designing measures to streamline the huge number. Because as time goes on, masters degree will lose it value, hence Ph.D. too which is the pride of Nigeria lecturers. Now the postgraduate school introduced an admission process which will entail you sitting for an English proficiency test at the level of the Postgraduate school and passing that will advance you to the stage of a departmental examination. At this stage you may have 400 students competing for a slot of 40. Trust me that kind of exam isn’t for amateurs. It will shock readers that the issue of the university requesting individuals to pay for an acceptance fee at the perennial stage of registration which is over N20, 200 is a new phenomenon, when I got my admission in 2013, I didn’t pay it. I can remember the pains a close friend of mine had his family go through to pay for his sister because the family wanted to keep her busy due to the danger of allowing a young lady stay idle. People go through diverse pains in the country. Most smiles are not real, only God can testify with the manners of prayer points he receives from Nigerians. Paying a visit to the prayer city of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries will give you a vivid clue about the picture I am painting. This applies to other schools too, getting a postgraduate admission needs another sort of influence and connection in Nigeria, it will amaze my readers that I had my first degree at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University and that same school declined my admission for postgraduate studies twice due to the stiff competition. This makes me weep for the country a times. It keeps me awake over the night. A postgraduate admission is not an oil company job. I am the one who wants to spend my funds not the school; it’s a huge financial burden on me not the school. So why the barriers? My lecturer then, Dr. David Enweremadu once said at a departmental symposium that students rush to do masters with no definite interest in the academia just because they have no place to go and the same students rush to put in for their Ph.D. blindly which is a tough concern for the university body before Ph.D. loses its value. At this rate of unemployment, probably one day, an oil company will put up a vacancy for highly experienced Ph.D. holders to fill in for the post of a driver or a gateman. It happened before anyway when the Dangote Group put up a vacancy for truck drivers and the company was shocked about the number of Ph.D. holders that applied. What a shame! This is an administration some myopic and blind individuals strongly believe has embraced the youths. Maybe I will need a new dictionary in case the previous writer was using an updated one with new definitions.
I have really exhausted the precious time of my readers so I will begin to round off here, I wish I could go on and on, there are several other decaying areas in the lives of youths in Nigeria that I intend to touch but I will skip them. I want to use this juncture to say this current administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has set a very bad legacy. I have argued it out with people who kept telling me about the fact that corruption was inherited from previous administrations, e.g. the National Identity card project, Power project that brought more darkness, Halliburton etc. woefully executed by an ‘unnamed regime’ but I believe we have gotten to the point where we have to stop blaming our woes on the past and probably focus on a proactive solution. A paradigm shift, a change of perspective, maybe the word change was what attracted me to the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Muhammadu Buhari because that word ‘CHANGE’ says it all. Jonathan’s administration has been a ‘loamy soil’ for the adequate cultivation and superb growth of corruption. Now we are harvesting a bountiful hardship in the country. I will post a couple of the corruption records from a functional group known as the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) to drive my points home. According to the group, corruption is the biggest problem the country is facing, besides the Boko Haram insurgency. CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran in an editorial on Punch newspapers has this to say and I quote:
“Jonathan’s government doesn’t see stealing of public funds as corruption.“The case of the unremitted $20bn raised by the then Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido, the case of $10bn expended by the current Petroleum Minister, Diezanu Alison-Madueke, on chartered jets, the Stella Oduah scandal, the Malabu oil scandal, and Yakubu Yusuf, who allegedly stole about N27bn of the pension money and got a court fine of N750, 000 for the offence. These and many others are cases that establish that this administration is corruption tolerant” the CACOL boss said. Similarly, a University of Ibadan lecturer of the Department of Political Science, Dr. Idowu Johnson, stated that “Jonathan’s attitude to corrupt practices had been responsible for the country’s clamour for a change in government. “General Buhari’s records in combating corruption during his regime gave him the chance to be accepted as an alternative to the current corrupt government. Even those who are Jonathan’s followers know that his government is corrupt but they keep silent because they are benefiting from it. Put simply, Jonathan cannot fight corruption,” Johnson said. 
That was self-explanatory, what about Jonathan’s romance with individuals of questionable characters like Alimodu Sheriff who is being linked with Boko Haram and our President still took him to Chad for security negotiations. I want to believe that was a joke. What about Dipreye Alameisegha, till date I am confused about the man’s sex, Bode George, Kashamu Buruji who is wanted in the United States for peddling drugs. These are our leaders, people we all look up to, we better start looking ‘down‘ if indeed we youths want a future at all.

To add salt to a fresh injury, it will amaze you that Nigeria loses a whooping sum of N3.1trillion naira to crude oil theft every year under the nose of our able leader, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the one that went to school without shoes (Prof Yemi Osinbajo, 2015). Please in case you are confused, read the figures again. Imagine the positive effects of that amount if invested in the economy in the areas of welfare and job creation. Probably the number of internet fraudsters would have reduced, Boko Haram wouldn’t have had enough fighters to recruit and maybe we would have averted the bloody Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment exercise where we lost leaders of tomorrow; where parents lost their life-long investments brutally. What a memory to the families of those people. With the global price of oil badly falling and standing at $55.77 dollars per barrel as at the 6th of March, 2015, what more can we take? I hope we don’t face the reality of the ASUU popular slogan that ‘‘one day the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich”
I will be closing this up with a brief orientation of the essence of youths in a country. Youths can be the heroes of a nation’s future, youths are the building blocks of a nation. It is a fact that the

stronger the youths, the more developed the nation is. The role of the youths in the nation-building occupies the central place. The countries which utilize their youths in a right direction are more developed. The energy and brightness of the minds of youths act as torch-bearers for a nation. On the contrary, the countries which fail to realize the importance of the youths lag behind in every department of life because one day the leaders will become weak, retire and be compelled to hand over the mantle of leadership of the country to the untrained youths. Can you picture the future of such a country? This is one of the reasons for the backwardness of Nigeria where there are limited true leadership models. Hence, the reason why an average Nigerian youth sees a public office as a gateway to wealth rather than to serve the people. Developed countries are totally aware of the worth of their youths. They consider their youths as valuable futuristic assets.
Most importantly, these countries cater for the needs of their youths and provide them with quality education, adequate employment, and recreational activities such as a healthy and competitive environment to prepare the youths to lead the country through thick and thin. If youths are not in the right directions and are unconcerned about the future of the nation, they will become a burden for the nation and will not play any productive role, their energy will be channeled towards the wrong directions like the nefarious activities of Nigerian youths in Malaysia including the drug peddlers that are about to be executed in Indonesia. That is a direct consequence of this. The Nigerian youths hope for a society free of poverty, unemployment, inequality and exploitation of man by man. We want a world free of discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, language and gender. The countries where the youths pay their proper contributions towards their nation are more developed. The entire success of a nation depends on the youths. It is the duty of the government to provide the youths with ample opportunities as well as enabling grounds to reach our full potentials. This agrees with the Korean saying that “a rising sun is greater than a setting sun” We are the future. Patriotism can only be instilled in the minds of youths by countries that indeed care for them. Any youth will jump at the golden opportunity to sell the country. This should CHANGE. People need a CHANGE desperately, any frequent social media user will remember the popular twitter handle post of the ex-Super Eagles international and former African footballer of the year, Victor Ikpeba that “even if Buhari presents a Nepa bill as his certificate, he will still vote for him” It is quite hilarious but at the same time very serious. I am not here to campaign. I am only preaching a message of CHANGE. Making reference to a song by Nigerian artiste, J.Martins titled ”Time is now” ft Youssou N’dour, the Senegalese legend, CHANGE IS ALL WE NEED AND THE TIME IS NOW!
Thanks for reading this far.
God bless the Nigerian youths! God bless our leaders!! God bless our great country!!!

Osayimwen Osahon George,
Online Editor,
Jetheights Services Limited.
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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on smile2georgex@yahoo.com Phone number: +2347053302356.
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