Nigerian youths in search of green pastures
“My brother, you look excited”. “Hm, beaming. How do you know? Well, I have just read about a great opportunity in one of the national dailies.”
“Opportunity! About what?”
‘’In no time I will check out of this country ‘fia’.
“Please, be serious, joke apart”.
“Okay, hear this. One of these European countries is opening its doors for young and energetic Africans to come in and help drive its economy by replenishing its aging workforce. I feel I’m already there”.
“Armageddon!” You feel already being a slave? Don’t you know that’s a Greek gift fashioned to enslave Africans again in disguise? In fact, history, they say, often has a way of repeating itself in diverse forms. Many years ago, Europeans forcibly took Africans from their homelands abroad to enslave them for over 400 years. Now, they want Africans to willingly fill in the “slave” form themselves with little or no restriction in order for Africans, again, to build their economy through slave labour.’’
“Whatever! Call it any name. I can’t wait to get my papers ready and check out from this hellish situation”.
“Tell me you are joking”.
“Jokes apart! I am ‘dead’ serious about it”.
By the way what’s special about Europe? A place you are subjected to all kinds of discrimination and restricted freedom.
Eh, sit down there and be speaking grammar and enjoy your freedom in penury. What is freedom without the basic things of life? When was the last time you saw electricity in this neighbourhood? Our roads are riddled with potholes. What is freedom without a job seven years after graduation? Can freedom fight the economic recession in my pocket or deal with my stomach infrastructure?
“You mean your reason to travel abroad is to settle stomach infrastructure”? Why not have some patience lets’ salvage and build the nation together? After all we are the leaders of tomorrow.”
“Did I hear you say leaders of tomorrow? I want to be today’s leader not tomorrow because tomorrow is not guaranteed in this country, as our politicians don’t think about tomorrow. Hence, they lavish oil earnings without saving for the raining day”
“Please, jettison your travel dream and lets’ join hands to make Nigeria a great nation”.
“Why are you bringing Donald Trump’s slogan to Nigeria? Are we no longer ‘Giant of Africa’? With the biggest economy courtesy IMF, yet we allow the economy to float. Indeed, there is no country on this continent to compare our greatness.”
“ Can’t the government do something to stabilise the economy and create jobs for its army of unemployed population”?
“Not to worry, the Buhari administration promised to create one million jobs this year while campaigning in 2015”.
“Ah, there you are again, have you not heard or read about it?”
“Heard about what?”
“ Hm, You must be coming from a foreign land like the late Afro-beat king, Fela Anikulapo said in one of his songs. A recent newspaper report has it that the Buhari administration finds it difficult to meet the one million job creation promise.”
‘’Why are politicians always like that? They never keep to their promises.
Can somebody shout “Hallelujah” ?
They didn’t mention former President Goodluck Jonathan’s name this time.
‘’You must be joking, what has the former President Jonathan got to do with one million jobs and promises not kept?”
Have you forgotten so soon? In fact, Nigerians are quick to forget things so easily. Since inception, the Buhari administration has consistently blamed almost everything it cannot achieve on previous administrations’’
‘’Which side are you sef?’’
‘’Trust me. I’m on the ‘fence’ and will remain there because I don’t want to step on toes.”
‘’But, there are no sacred cows in the fight against corruption? The President assured us its zero tolerance and we are all witness to the Judiciary.”
‘’It would be nice if he had started the cleansing within. You remember former President Jonathan confessed that: “there were Boko Haram members in his cabinet. Likewise, corrupt people are not far from Buhari’s cabinet too.”
“Good talk But I still think we should give…
‘’Keep your thoughts to yourself. What is the need of being a graduate without a job? Even the employed are losing their jobs in droves as employers of labour downsize their workforce everyday because of recession occasioned by the sharp drop in crude oil prices, devaluation of the naira and surging inflation rates… name it’’.
”I think I understand why you are desperate to jump into the ocean of slavery in Europe. But the government is trying to diversify the economy and they need graduates like you and I.’’
‘’My brother, it is all rhetoric. They use it to buy time and campaign with it in the next election. Okay, look at NNPC playing politics with fuel price’’.
‘’No it’s the oil marketers.’’
‘’What is the difference between NNPC and the oil marketers? One is six, while the other is half a dozen. Abi?”
“There seems to be no control in the polity.”
“What are you insinuating?”
‘’Can’t you see the looming heat everywhere?’’
“What heat? Climate change or what?”
‘’The heat on the polity from Niger Delta Avengers and Boko Haram. Even the oil marketers are threatening as they demand a pound of flesh from the masses over the brouhaha of new increase in petrol pump price, the heat from the political class over elections in Ondo and of course, the warning from NLC to shut down the country if a kobo is added to the pump price of fuel.
‘‘If truly they are diversifying the economy why is crude oil still the only economy drive?
“Simple”. Government only talks and goes to sleep.”
“Please don’t scare our foreign investors.”
‘’Are they really foreign investors?
I think it is government magic! The greatest abracadabra in modern diplomacy. The monies with which the so-called foreign investors dangle over our face is actually ours, starched abroad by corrupt politicians.
“I read that the Vice President is making plans for one million indigent Nigerians to benefit from the Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme.”
“Trust me, another gargantuan hope to dash. I feel for those who will hope against hope in the ‘great expectation’. If I may ask: Where is the free school feeding programme and the N5,000 palliative unemployed graduate scheme used as election campaign slogan?”
“I’m running late for my appointment.”
“Thank God! Is the appointment from that last job interview?”
“Where is the job? I’m off to pick my visa in one of the European countries embassies. I can’t continue to live in this dry country, when green pastures are waiting for my arrival in Europe.”
“I wish you safe journey and peaceful sojourn in the land of Oyibo my brother. But chew this up. May your road be rough, so says our amiable and incorruptible great teacher and activist, the late Tai Solarin”.
Ozah is on the staff of The Guardian