(By Gbenga Ademujimi)

We work hard from Monday to Friday and save some money in order to spray on Saturday at family wedding engagements or spend the Friday night at club houses. Our politicians, businessmen and professionals steal the public funds to buy the latest cars and devices that people who are younger than they have invented. What is wrong with us Africans, most especially Nigerians?

DEAR Nigerian Youths, I am compelled to write this letter by my daily experiences and feedback mechanism which makes me sad every second.

  An average Nigerian youth has lost hope totally in this great country ‘Nigeria’ and the best option they think is to run away from their home, but remember the mountain you run away from is waiting for you when you come back. Don’t run to Germany or else your destiny may jam, don’t disappear to Australia so that you don’t stray. Recently, I was addressing about 700 Nigerian youths and I just picked two of them concentrating on their mobile phones, I stylishly walked to their seat and checked their phone, it was shocking seeing XXX movies on their phones. I made an altar call in a church last year and surprisingly the worship leader came out with ‘weed’ popularly known as Indian hemp in his pocket and the drummer with another roll.

   Our youths are busy sagging their trousers, fighting and killing themselves because of foreign football clubs.  May I ask, how many of these foreign players know anyone of Nigerian youths? Our young adults contributed money and built viewing centres for those clubs here in Nigeria. Some handsome guys and pretty ladies are going round driving some form of Japanese and German cars and termed themselves as big boys/babes. How do you justify a 50-year-old woman celebrating her Golden Jubilee with a 2002 Toyota space bus? Our youths are sharing testimonies because they got visa to Germany, Ireland not because they are going to school but because they ‘taught’ they have escaped the problems in Nigeria. Are you aware that Toyota was about 40 years old when he was already running his registered weaving company which later became the automobile company? His son Kichiiro took his father’s dream to the next level at 47. Today, Toyota manufactures over 10 million cars annually with over 340,000 workers worldwide.

   Karl Benz registered his first company at 27 and at the age of 42 he already had his patented mark for trading Mercedes as automobile company. Soichiro Honda was 42 years old when he started making bicycles and cars for humanity. Our youths have been wrongly hypnotised that comfort and convenience are the victory signs over those who observe the ‘said’ comfortable ones, suffering and smiling. The most expensive slum in the world is in Nigeria, according to CNN report 2011. The best cars in the world are driven on the worse roads in Nigeria. Today what do we see in our youths? Please check the display page of an average teenager/youth on your mobile phone and tell me how many of them have a sensible, constructive and future message on their DP. What one finds are Elegushi things, Lekki things, Protea things, Gig things, Versace bags things, wedding things, Dubai things. These are the titles on their DPs.

When you see a black man or woman at any airport around the world, what she does is buying perfumes, clothing magazines, materials, materials, materials. This is in contrast to what an average white boy/girl does. For them what they buy are books or things that add value to their lives and make their minds robust and productive. This is a big challenge of the time we live in.

  OK, let’s come back home. Chief Richard Akinjide has been part of all the constitution written in this country since he became a Member of the Parliament at the age of 24. That was immediately on his return from overseas after his studies. Prof. Pat Utomi became special adviser to President Shehu Shagari at the age of 26. Gen. Yakubu Gowon became the head of state at 29, Gen. Mohammed Buhari, Murtala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, Bamanga Tukur, Ojukwu, Aguiyi-Ironsi, Gen. Adebayo, Fajuyi and many others had reached their goals, aspirations and dreams between the ages of 25 and 40. Many of them are still controlling us, why? The answer is what I have been sharing with us on this page. We as youths of this nation are too materialistic, vain and vague.  Our ladies don’t think anything again order than talking, praying, fasting about marriage and making babies. They succumb to family and societal pressure believing that honour and respect are fetched by the title ‘Mrs.’ It is education, right exposure and positive attitude that engender fulfillment of purpose of life on earth. The hairstyle of some ladies costs a lot at the expense of the development of their brains, forgetting that the brain don’t grow today makes you groan tomorrow. The PERUVIAN, BRAZILIAN, PARAGA weave-on has nothing to do with character content.ory. A person is a girl by chance, a lady by choice and a gentle lady by culture and vice versa.

   Mother Theresa never had her own biological child but there were over three million children that she cared for during her lifetime. Some years ago she won the TIME magazine award, ‘Woman of the Century.’ Two nations are still fighting for her grave yard just because of the tourist attraction value. How many of our young women are still living with any relevance? An average Nigerian youth is labouring, working hard just to compete with friends and church members, show off service instead of worship service on Sundays. We work hard from Monday to Friday and save some money in order to spray on Saturday at family wedding engagements or spend the Friday night at club houses. Our politicians, businessmen and professionals steal the public funds to buy the latest cars and devices that people who are younger than they have invented. What is wrong with us Africans, most especially Nigerians?

   We buy what we do not produce and produce what we don’t buy. We own cocoa and crude oil but still import the bye products. So the buyer of the raw materials determines the price for both the raw and the finished, what a shame? Africa has remained the single largest continent as liability in the whole global field. I wish to appeal to us with every sense of humility but without any apology that we take our destinies into our own hands by following who through Faith and Patience obtains the Promise and not following those only who explain but those who have already obtained. Anyone can doubt what you say but only fools will doubt your proofs. Many of our youths are not ready to do anything for free, don’t forget the best way of becoming a professional is learning on the job (apprenticeship). It is the degree of learning that determines the level of earning. Every champion needs a coach. Volunteer jobs are still out there and it still pays afterwards.

    Election is starting very soon, let us make sure we shun evil and embrace righteousness. We are 70 per cent of the nation’s population and about 60 per cent of us are unemployed. An idle hand is the devil’s workshop,  my father said to me and my siblings when we were growing up. Joblessness is not necessarily our problem but idleness and laziness. Agricultural programmes are out there; let us engage ourselves in something positive. Yahoo-yahoo is not a good source of income, going to Malaysia to sell your kidney because of money to buy Honda is nothing but lack of vision and risking ones health status.        Let us do something positive, learn a skill. Good POP makers and plumbers from Togo, Senegal these days fill the land. There is dignity in labour. I learnt how to make blocks, rings, and slabs during ASUP’s five-month strike in 1993 and today no one can take the skill away from me. Also I learnt graphic design, printing and publishing some time ago when I had no job, I didn’t pay for it because the owner was around my house. I would go there in the morning to help in the process, I became one of them. I made grinding stones from the left over of gravels, sand and cement, took them to the market and I made a lot of money. By the time ASUU/ASUP called off the strike, I didn’t need money from home, I was ready for school financially.

    May I suggest that Okada riding is not a company but a temporary business. One can make money from it, but only for a while. It cannot translate into a legacy for posterity. Also, okada riding has health implications. Chest is exposed riding Okada and this is dangerous to health. We should think of it: Where are the hospitals that specialise in chest and cold treatments? We should offer ourselves to an organisation today and let them see the value we can add to their system, our employment will be automatic. We should read books, go for seminars and stop wasting our time/money on recharge cards, movies, BB, facebook, expensive phones that add nothing to our lives. Empty your pocket into your brain and you will never be in want! Not everyone will become an entrepreneur; some will be academics, professional, find your track and run your race with burning passion. There is danger in every young man/lady aspiring to become a musician, dancer, comedian or going into showbiz because of money.

   Our multinationals should consider other viable ways of compensating talents. Some young talents are silenced by the quantity of money they are exposed to at their unprepared ages. Talent is not only in singing, dancing or making people to laugh. Our media houses should help us here, too. Where are the quiz competitions, debate clubs and other avenues for intellectual engagements? We should remember, talent alone is not enough. To destroy a man is to give him responsibility beyond his ability before he is ready for it in age and capacity. We should stop chasing money but honey. Honey is that which you add to someone’s life per day, and you will surely be paid for it. We can’t continue to run after mundane things and our government will take us serious. Nigerian youths should decide by deep thinking. This materialistic lifestyle will not take us anywhere. We should repent and do the needful. Remember, it is irresponsibility that makes a man become a liability.

Gbenga Ademujimi -@PastorGeeReform ‘The Navigator’.

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