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Buhari’s critics on Nigerian youths should re-examine themselves

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Nigerians from all walks of life have continued to condemn President Muhammadu Buhari for calling the Nigerian youth lazy at the just concluded business meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of governments in United Kingdom.

This write up is not to discuss the rightness or wrongness of his utterances against his own country outside the shores of Nigeria, but calls for sober reflections and self-re-examinations of our own selves towards our love for our mother land called Nigeria.

Before we condemn the President, we should answer the following questions: Do I love Nigeria as my country?

Am I ready to lay my life in defense of its unity? Am I ready to abandon tribal and ethnic considerations and promote the concept of ‘One nation one destiny’ in all my dealings with other Nigerians?

If your answer to the above questions is “no”, then you don’t have a moral right to condemn Buhari, but if on the other hand your answer happens to be “yes” then welcome to this section on self-re-examination, or call it, the truth section.

The President’s negative comments about Nigeria, in and outside the shores of Nigeria is indeed a true reflection of how we Nigerians feel about ourselves and our country which many commentators have also constantly called mere geographical contraption put in place by the British colonial master.

This means they do not believe in it! The truth is, if you don’t like a thing, it will constantly reflect in your utterances, actions and in-actions about the thing, the best you can do is to pretend.

According to the holy bible, Matthew 7, versus 18, Christ made it emphatic that “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”

Also in Matthew 7:20, it states that “wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

It is either the tree is good and the fruits good or the tree is bad and the fruits bad, here lies the point.

The youths we have today is what we made them to be. They are our fruit; they are the reflection of who we are. Going abroad to berate them, is just exposing our weakness as a nation and the failure of our leaders, for no one plants a cocoa yam and expects to harvest yam or a mango tree and expect to get palm oil from it.

In the words of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, President Muhammadu Buhari knows that Nigeria has many challenges and has accepted the mantle to fix the challenges which is summarised in the APC’s “mantra of change” it is this change that Nigerians are looking out for and it includes a productive and enduring youth culture.

Solutions:

If we want the best from our youth we should invest in their career chatting. Investing in career: is prosperity for citizens and windfall for government.

Jarvis, P.S (2003) in Ezeugonwa (2014). It is therefore imperative for governments to invest in the career charting of their youth as a prerequisite for holistic empowerment. For example; school-to-work programmes are becoming increasingly important in school reform movements.

They encourage curricular restructuring towards a contextual learning environment. This approach to learning is defined as “application learning”.

With such a restructuring, the universal complaint of students, “why are we learning this when we won’t ever use it” will be laid rest. According to Microsoft Encarta (2009,) a well-chosen career, based on a sound education and training helps the individual to achieve self-actualisation.

Sport: one other area that youths are easily empowered is through sports. School sports should be re-activated as a matter of urgency.

In fact, the energy that youths deploy to crime should be harnessed for sporting activities and other positive ends.

Nigeria has not been doing well in swimming sports’, yet Ijaw youths are reported as been capable of staying ‘underwater’ for several minutes without suffocating. Government should make the area a national swimming centre to train the youth.

Economy: A nation must have a purpose, a goal, a vision; it is this vision that will be the driving force of the mission; a nation without a strategic plan is laying its foundation on the wind ‘for its youth.

Let us have one hypothetical example, “fix the light problem today in Nigeria, you will have provided jobs for millions”. This is because all the businesses the world over depend on power supply.

Research institutions
Research is a major tool of national development including youth development; but many research institutes in Nigeria are at present moribund, mere conduit pipes for syphoning official resources.

There should be foundries where molds for youth’s inventions can be fabricated. there should be a fund to encourage research, inventions and talent development. Many youths today are wasted talents because of lack of encouragement.

Nollywood is a test case, it shows that, with enabling environments, the youths will recreate their own destiny.

Youth empowerment should occupy a prime position within the budgets. What our youth becomes today and tomorrow must be a regular agenda of the National Executive Council meetings.

The government plan about youth empowerment should be both strategic and tactical. The tactical phase should be goal oriented and measurable.

For example, one year out of the six years of secondary school should be devoted to compulsory vocational/trade acquisition in all aspects of life.

This will be backed up with a separate certificate to make the youth employable at that level as they move up to the career ladder.

Therefore, all our leaders, from today on, lead us with the love of Nigeria in mind and every other thing will fall into place. Nigerian youths need love and care not condemnation; for theirs is a sad plight indeed; a generation hoping against hope.

Dr. Ezeugonwa, a mass communications lecturer and public affairs analyst.


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