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Better job strategies than masquerades

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Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information.

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information.

Sir: The Minister of Information, Culture and National Orientation – Alhaji Lai Mohammed – reportedly gave his own idea of creating jobs for Nigerian youths still searching for gainful employment. And he is confident that his ministry has a solution to reduce the high rate of youth unemployment. By the minister’s calculations, there is at least one major festival being held annually in all the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the Federation. And some of these festivals have something to do with masquerades in one form or the other. In the minister’s opinion, clothing one masquerade can provide jobs for about 1000 youths. If the minister is being quoted right, we are of the view that the proposition is weird and unrealistic. Instead of prompting Nigerian youths to be carrying masquerades in our streets under the guise of creating employment for them and for cultural revival, our youths should be encouraged and supported to go into mechanised farming, mining and skills acquisition which can in turn make them to be  employers of labour in no distant future.

The signs that this nation may still be under some sort of bondage as a result of hosting FESTAC in 1977 are still visible in our socio-economic and political spheres. It should be noted that the 1980 Maitatsine religious riot broke out in 1980 in Kano city barely after the nation hosted the Festival of Arts and Culture – (FESTAC77) – and since then the demons that accompanied such masquerades have been demanding for blood. And that may be partly the spiritual undertone behind some of the needless socio-ethno religious crises that have been afflicting this nation – the most recent ones being the Boko-Haram and the Fulani herdsmen menace.

Some demon obsessed masquerades might have been dumped in our National Theatre by our visitors to the FESTAC 77. And the priests who know how to appease the spirits of these foreign masquerades have left their cargoes  behind. And so it is advisable that our eloquent and articulate minister should please avoid the temptation of further enslaving this nation through his masquerade creating-jobs idea.

His ministry can present better memos to the Federal Executive Council to justify its proposed expenditure in the 2016 budget that has just been signed into law by the President. We also hope that the budget will be cash-backed as soon as possible so that the MDAs can hit the ground running.

Gbemiga Olakunle,
National Prayer Movement,
Abuja, FCT


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