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Jaapa, deceit and youth development

By Victor C. Ariole
05 September 2022   |   3:50 am
France’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann in the midst of some Nigerian youths wanted to know what jaapa means. One of them holding the microphone was so confused in providing the answer and ended up with a creative answer – exporting all our being including our physical self and the entrepreneurial ingenuity therein.

When darkness sets-in in life and imagination seems dampened, somehow in that darkness, clearer images appear to the mind for the way forward. -Goethe, The Creative Arts.

France’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann in the midst of some Nigerian youths wanted to know what jaapa means. One of them holding the microphone was so confused in providing the answer and ended up with a creative answer – exporting all our being including our physical self and the entrepreneurial ingenuity therein. Her Excellency Emmanuelle burst out in laughter. It is like her President, Emmanuel Macron coming out of Fela’s shrine and declaring to French people who are battling with religious extremism that what happens in the shrine stays in the shrine.

Macron is still a youth well trained in Ecole Normale d’Administration to rule France like his predecessors and he knows what it takes to engage fellow youths like himself knowing that a well trained youth is an asset for the nation whether inside or outside. Such seems not to be the disposition of Nigerian political elite, mostly not trained for governance, and seem to be inflicting their deceitful disposition on the youths and the resource management of Nigeria. Politicians in even the poorest environment like the Sahel region bordering Nigeria, and from where most of Nigerian political elite from the north identify their origin, do relatively well in making sure their youths with potentials are provided with some kind of platforms to exercise their youthful strength.

Imagine a place like Burkina Faso of about 21 million people where about 1.2 million are displaced, efforts are made to limit the effects on children and their university – ready students as about 20% of their budget is spent on education and, furthermore, if that of youth development is added it hovers around 26%. They suffer also from either herdsmen, kidnappers’, jihadists’ or bandits’ menace but their ruling class dominated by NAABBA’s protégés – the Mossi ethnic group’s king – mediates to enforce a fair justice process that allow the minorities including Fulanis, Bobos, Djerma/Hausas to be given equal opportunity to  western education; as a surprise, even most Fulanis there are Christians like mixed blood Thomas Sankara, ex and late head of state.
Nigerian political elite should know that depriving the youths of platforms for keeping their energy at work could portend greater danger for the nation, now and in the future.

Recently one learnt of the Federal Government kicking off vocational project in Lagos code-named T-MAX. It is commendable and needed to spread all over the nation like I witnessed such in Brazil when Lula Da Silva and Yusef were in charge there; and no sooner they were replaced by Bolsanaro a feudalist-minded president than unsustainability of the project emerged.

Nigeria should enact a policy that should make it sustainable if the nations intends to reduce the phenomenon of jaapa.  It is a better option to counter the attitude of some elite in the north who do not seem to bother about over 10 million children out of school in their midst and even the current closure of universities that ought not to be. Burkina Faso that admits about 60,000 students in their four universities with Ouagadougou’s Ki-Zerbo University leading makes sure the students are either in full shcolarship or financially assisted depending on their scores of entry to the universities without discrimination of ethnic belonging. No quota system; purely based on merit and they are also remote relations of people in the North West of Nigeria.

Massari, Jallo, Matawalle and Ganduje remote relations are there also and they are, academically, on equal footing with others, no privileged treatment and no Almajiri approach to their education. What people see as primary functions of any government – protection of lives and property, and people’s welfare – cannot work without full engagement of the youths in any given activities that detract them from engaging in evil till their youthful age is exhausted; that is form cradle to about 35 years.

The two divides of Nigeria, north and south, engage in deceitful talks that seem to be grounding the progress of Nigeria; and with the current regime, as darkness sets in, their making and marring the Nation is getting them to think otherwise and adopt a better clearer thinking pattern for the good of all. And, it has to be now that confusion is beclouding the Nigerian state.

Listening to the NNPC MD and the Minister of Education, one on oil pipelines vandalisation and oil theft and the other on ever long closure of universities in Nigeria and for the youths to sue lecturers, jaapa deceit and youth development misadventure seems the norm.

If, indeed, the youths, who are capable of exhibition of brutal force that must be tamed, see the reason in not allowing oil theft, knowing it does not benefit them, the NNPC MD could be freed of such worries and Nigeria as a whole will be safe. It is all about education and youth development. President Yar’Adua was very great in acknowledging that. However, if you weigh not educating the youth with estimated thirty youths that die every day trying to cross the Mediterranean sea, of which 6 are probably Nigerians, you wonder what Jekalo pa or Jaapa stands for in its high risk move and who, indeed, is being slaughtered or killed. In contrast, if government puts money for the education of the youth like we enjoyed as students during Shagari era when with N36 (Not 36,000) one could buy meal ticket and feed for a semester, the collective youth could stall any attempt at oil theft or vandalisation knowing how such activities negate their upbringing and interest. And, finally, during our time in school, it was never expected that anybody instigate students to have a face-off with lecturers when in effect it, rather, was students fighting for the well being of the Universities and not the lecturers doing the fighting. Jaapa then, was at worse like Andrew-checking out, and not checking out with no quality. Checking out with quality yielded people like Olukemi Olufunto Badenoch who came 4th out of 22 people who started-off the race to replace Boris Johnson. She was a product of UNILAG International Secondary School. Her academic background was a leverage; hence government should do better leveraging more of Nigerian youths with subsidized education enabled by lecturers’ poor pay, no matter the increment made which can never reach up to $10,000 per month as earned in a best practice milieu, though not in Africa, by acknowledged lecturers.

Ariole, is a Professor of French and Francophone Studies, University of Lagos.

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