(By Godwin Ogla)
“Our major challenge has never been shortage of resources to tackle head on the many problems that confront us as a nation, but how to effectively deploy these resources not for selfish, but beneficial ends. Our founding fathers are certainly turning in their graves as our so called leaders of today, gallivant round the globe in search of loans from shylock financial institutions, to fix a country that is stupendously rich. Can our leaders sincerely look us in the eyes and say there is no money?“
Continued from last Friday, 3/10/2014
THE vehement denial of these facts does not douse the reality of the situation on ground, for reality goes beyond issuing statements and making empty denials. The frightening reality of soaring youth unemployment convicts the government everyday on our streets, with the Boko Haram menace, kidnapping, violet armed robbery, youth prostitution and ritual killings, Its many off shoots. Every disenchanted unemployed youth, who has lost faith in the system adds to the mounting iceberg, and to our greatest fear, there are millions of them. At the institutions of higher learning, motor parks, markets, street corners and job recruitment venues, you hear them hissing and cursing. They have passed a vote of no confidence on the system, with trenchant criticisms to reflect the measure of their anger, demanding the ultimate punishment for those who have made their lives less edifying than those of animals. Unfortunately, no one will hear their cries of agony, even the anti-corruption agencies, who are supposed to help them out, have fallen into deep coma. Complicity everywhere, they have resolved to take laws into their own hands, the country is now set on the edge, as they debate their methods, time is running out for the government to nip the problem in the bud, but the avarice and insatiable lust for political power by the ruling class have blurred their vision to these glaring realities.
Let it be noted that a society that fails to provide for the many who are poor, will one day, find it difficult to protect the few who are rich, because it is only in the satisfaction of the happiness of the great majority that the wheels of the society will turn smoothly.
The dawn of a new era is fast approaching as Nigerians will begin asking questions, as no matter how thick the veil of deception maybe, its stranglehold on the truth is like a momentary eclipse. Diviners of faith based prosperity will experience a progressive atrophy in the efficacy of their sermons on members, as the lavish prosperity of the secular world on the other side of the Atlantic, will make many question our perfunctory allegiance to the major religious faiths and the belief in their innate goodness. It is not that the great religions that have come to define our existence have lost their edifying value, but the problem is that many have become perfidious disciples as the number of Judas increases by the day. Many now indulge in cherry picking of its moral content to suit their lifestyles and even the threat of Divine retribution is not enough to deter our political leaders from the infamous paths they have taken.
The calamity that has befallen this country is man made for which leadership has become the supreme disaster, as we desire leaders we never have, and have leaders we do not desire nor need; a situation where strange bedfellows are expected to work together, albeit, for the development of the country. The result is a leader indifferent to the yearnings and aspirations of the people and followers, unwilling to support whatever policies and programmes he puts in place, as they have no sense of belonging in his government. This will certainly create confusion in the polity. His questionable legitimacy robs him of every form of acceptability and clothes him with the toga of an impostor.
Let anyone who thinks that the Nigerian youths will never rise above religious and ethnic sentiments to challenge the retrogressive system, which is viewed as unassailable, have a rethink. The world has witnessed many impossibilities transmute into possibilities. The Arab Spring is still a vivid reference, as who would have thought that a once docile people, who viewed their leaders as Creator’s representative will challenge the very status quo that has endured through ages, to the point of clutching the barrel to achieve their ends. It was very unprecedented. But, need we get to this point before our recalcitrant leaders wake up to their responsibilities, to fully appreciate that: Millions of Nigerians go to bed hungry; that the country is under the siege of corruption; and the millions of jobs created are all lies and deceit.
The annals of history is replete with stories of nations, who have successfully steered their ship away from the ice-berg that once posed a threat to them and these ice-bergs (problems) vary from country to country. We should view the experiences of these nations as a rich seam to mine from and adopt same with subtle modification where necessary, in dealing with the current problems that now confront us as nation.
It is now clear that our warped educational system is in dire need of restructuring. The government should be focused more on improving the quality of education than emphasizing more on quantity with the vacuous establishment of additional universities. This is because an educational system that prides itself on outdated curricula, poor entrepreneurial content and absence of essential facilities to aid learning is no education. These obvious deficiencies have contributed to the strong notion that the graduates being churned out from Nigerian universities are unemployable. The prosperity of countries, as have been shown to some extent, reflects the richness of their educational system. Education is supposed to transform the individual by imbuing him with the requisite skills needed to face up to the challenges of any given task, and the quality of his skill to a large extent, determines the level of his confidence. The Nigerian Educational System should be reformed to bring it in tune with the realities and demands of the 21st century to prevent the continuous outsourcing of foreign manpower in critical sectors of the nation’s economy, as is being witnessed in the oil and gas industry, which has contributed to growing unemployment among our youths.
Our major challenge has never been shortage of resources to tackle head on the many problems that confront us as a nation, but how to effectively deploy these resources not for selfish, but beneficial ends. Our founding fathers are certainly turning in their graves as our so called leaders of today, gallivant round the globe in search of loans from shylock financial institutions, to fix a country that is stupendously rich. Can our leaders sincerely look us in the eyes and say there is no money? We do not need loans but a tight fiscal responsibility framework that would check the profligacy of government official to prevent the wanton looting of our common wealth.
The government should key into the vision for an inclusive economic growth that combines strong economic growths with improvements in living standards and outcomes that matter for people’s quality of life (e.g. good health, jobs and skills, clean environment and community support) as advocated by organisation for economic co-operation and development. It is only in the pursuit of a broad-based inclusive economic growth agenda that the favourable growth indices being enjoyed by the country will begin to make meaningful impact in the lives of the citizenry.
The journey of the titanic may have ended in a fiasco, but its salutary lessons should be able to wake our leaders from their deep slumber, drive them into action and make them change course before it is too late. Youth unemployment is like a cluster bomb, some have already exploded and we continue to battle with their attendant consequences, with the unexploded ones creating an atmosphere of uncertainty.
Our leaders should be good students of history to ensure that the ship called Nigeria does not end up like the Titanic tragedy. Boasting about its unsinkability is not enough; it never helps, but only creates an incentive for inaction. But can we make this monstrous iceberg go away? Yes we can, by turning on the searing heat of purposeful leadership and the diligent implementation of an all-inclusive economic growth agenda. After which, we can now relax and watch it melt into oblivion.
• Ogla is a youth commentator, public analyst and a legal practitioner based in Port Harcourt. firstname.lastname@example.org
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