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Buhari: Youths don’t need critics, they need models

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The world is changed by your example, not your opinion”-Paulo Coelho

There is a Yoruba adage that says: “A man that sells his relatives cheap in the market place will be unable to re-purchase them in times of scarcity” (Eni to ba ta ara ile re lopo, kole rira boba dowon).

Over the past few days, there has been heightened tension as a result of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent statement at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London on April 18, this year.

The forum that was supposed to be a platform for the President to showcase the opportunities that abound in Nigeria, but later became a session to take Nigerian youths to the cleaners.

It was so sympathetic that a platform that could have been used to market the nation ended up portraying some Nigerian youths as invalids and national liability. While some Nigerian youths were busy hustling and working hard to eke out a living, the President was furiously pouring vituperations on the some of them.

His statement at Westminster that a lot of the youth just want to sit down and do nothing, banking on the notion that Nigeria is an oil-rich nation has elicited various responses and reactions.

Though the Presidency refuted the wrong notion by saying he was just referring to some and not all Nigerian youths, my question is: Why must you talk about few lazy Nigerian youths when you should have projected the others that are very industrious, hardworking and innovative?

Every President and country representative came with their challenges and problems, but they knew too well that the platform was too expensive to de-market their countries by focusing on a trivial few.

Recall that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was in Lagos recently to inspect tech companies owned by Nigerian youths.

Benjamin Franklin said: “I never knew a man who was good at making excuses who was good at anything else.”

Your Excellency sir, with all humility, you give more excuses than you accept responsibilities. In fact, I can barely remember seeing your government taking responsibility for anything. You were elected not to give excuses, but to take responsibilities.

The recipe for a failed state is for the leaders to always look out for excuses. Your Excellency sir, finding excuses demeans your exalted office. Mr. President, DON’T FIND FAULT; FIND REMEDY! In life, it is impossible to consistently give excuses and still make results.

Gabriel Meurier said: “He who excuses himself, accuses himself.” Nigerians are actually aware of the failures of the past governments and that was why the last Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government was voted out massively. We didn’t vote you in for excuses; you were voted to take actions.

Your penchant for excuses has seriously encroached on your electoral value to the extent that Nigerians are always waiting for your next excuse. The only thing complaining does is convince other people that you are not in control.

Mr. President sir, have you ever wondered why Nigerian youths make it everywhere in the world except Nigeria? Give a Nigerian youth a project to handle in the right atmosphere and see it done immediately. This is proven world-over.

There is a young Nigerian kid in the United States (US) called Zuriel Oduwole, who has actually interviewed up to 25 Presidents around the world, including yourself, but I can assure that if Zuriel had grown up in Nigeria, she would probably have been hawking pepper in Mushin, selling bread in Agege, begging for alms in Sokoto or probably selling wares in Onitsha.

Mr. President, it is not the Nigerian youths that is the problem; it is obviously the Nigerian environment.

The main responsibility of a sane government is in creating the right environment, which your government has consistently failed over the years to achieve.

Nigeria is in a dire need of models and mentors.

Zig Ziglar said: “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” The youths of a nation are a deep reflection of the values passed down from the older generation. The mistake of the youth is actually a result of the failure of the older generation.

We cannot demand what we have not given out. The only legacy left for the youths is the culture of corruption and impunity inherited from the older generation.

The pertinent question I will like to ask the President is: What is the older generation doing to model the youth?

Have you ever gotten the ludicrous number of millions of Nigerian youths visiting job-searching websites every hour? You can easily visit Jobberman website to see this staggering number.

Imagine the young Nigerians behind Jobberman, which is a Lagos-based, pan-African online job search engine that started by three young entrepreneurs- Ayodeji Adewunmi, Opeyemi Awoyemi and Olalekan Olude- during their last year in the university.

One of the core responsibilities of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity should have been to help graduates and young Nigerians find their match of job in places they never knew such opportunity existed, but these brave young Nigerians have taken up the responsibility to fix the lapses in the Nigerian system themselves.

Leaders don’t pass the buck; they take full responsibility. Your Excellency sir, one of your electoral promises when you were campaigning for votes is that you will give every unemployed youth a stipend of N5, 000 each every month, a promise you later renege on, but none of the Nigerian youth is protesting on the streets for your failed promises.

You cheated the Nigerian youth on many fronts and can still remember the young man that trekked from Lagos to Abuja as an expression of hope in your government.

Who is truly lazy, when the Nigerian government spent close to four months selecting ministers who seem not to have impacted on the fortune of the nation after over three years of sterile inactivity?

Who is truly lazy, when the Nigerian government could not act accurately on the intelligence report gathered around Fulani herdsmen until they ultimately became a nagging menace to national security?

Your Excellency, who is truly lazy, when it took the federal government months after, when hundreds of fortune- seeking and hardworking Nigerian youths were being slaughtered and sold like slaves in Libya before global outcry, indignation and condemnation jolted the government from its slumber?

Who is truly lazy sir, when the national budget has not yet been passed because our hallowed lawmakers go on recession every other time with impunity? Imagine, we are almost close to half of the year without a concrete fiscal policy and national budget,

Who is truly lazy, sir, when herdsmen are on killing spree in Benue State and all other parts of the country without unified security intelligence that could promptly checkmate the killings and protect innocent and hardworking citizens?

The real lazy people are people that make money from government without solving problems. Who is truly lazy, a Nigerian government that is over suffocated with different kinds of security agencies, yet three to five unarmed men grabbed the mace of the Nigerian Senate?

Reports of several youth summit have been submitted over the years to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development without any significant feedback on government interventions.

It is very obvious that the ministry needs serious restructuring, as it has no concrete blue print for the Nigerian youth.

Nigerian youths are not liabilities; the real liabilities are leaders at different levels that cannot solve problems. Every youth must work hard to get his/her Permanent Voter Card (PVC). If #BBNaija was able to get 170 million votes (mostly from the youth), we can vote in a youthful President next year.

Finally, to Nigerian youths, don’t allow anybody to despise your youth. Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

Don’t ever allow someone else’s opinion to become your own reality. You may succeed if nobody else believes in you, but you will never succeed if you don’t believe in yourself.

The search for self-worth doesn’t begin with what others are saying about you; it begins by looking inward and finding out ways through which you can be a blessing to your community.


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