By Clement Tyav
Nigeria, the acclaimed giant of Africa sits on a mass landscape with a huge growing population, many of which are youths. The country which gained her independence from Britain in 1960, fifty nine years after is still an infant. The country gained her independence on the premise of accelerated development under the indigenous leaders but is still in the developing stage with the same crop of leaders still claiming to have the best solution for her development.
From her independence to date, many policies of different leaders to develop the nation have either taken the country few steps ahead or backward. Inconsistencies in policies and direction of where the country should be in short, medium and long term have not been in existence, not followed or partially implemented.
To say the country has not made any meaningful development in her fifty nine years of independence will be like saying a baby who has learn to walk has not grown. A bit has been achieved over the years but considering the quantum of resources in terms of revenue, which the country has earned over the period; we can say the country has achieved little compare to other countries in the same earning rank.
Leaders all over the world chart a cause of development for their nations and Nigerians expects their leaders too to play the vital role of directing the nation’s resources into developmental areas that all will feel the positive impact. But over the years, the leaders have rather turned the resources of the country meant for every citizen to their family empires and that of their colonies.
Helplessly the citizens watched in disbelief, adjusted to the hardship they faced as a result of their leaders’ selfishness and have also joined the bandwagon. This has lead to the resources of Nigeria been tagged as “National Cake” where if you have the chance, you cut the size you are able to get.
The national cake syndrome instead of satisfying the partakers has created a lot of greedy fellows who are never satisfied with what they get. Maybe the sweetness of the cake is too much to get a little and allow other Nigerians to be partakers – I wondered.
Typical of a cake, no matter how big it is, everyone only get a piece. But since the Nigerian National Cake is surrounded by greedy fellows, they eat the pieces that belong to others and expect them to remain silence and praise them for doing them a favour.
No matter how good a friend you are with somebody, if he continues to take what belongs to you, you will surely become enemies someday. And your actions may not only affect your greedy friend; but it will also affect others around you, which in effect the chain reaction will become fetal to the society.
Thi is the kind of situation we have found ourselves in the Nigerian society. And the people who suffer the most the consequences of this chain reaction are the youth – the strength of the nation. No wonder, Nigeria as a nation is becoming weak every day.
So, what can we do to create jobs for the millions of Nigerian youths and eliminate the moral decadence that has become a normal norm in our society?
I don’t intend for this article to be lengthy neither to base my assertions on bogus theories; I will be practical and short in proffering solution to this monster before us.
First, we must redirect our value system. The old generation have set a precedence of greed, selfishness and materialism culminating to corruption, which has reduce Nigeria to rubbles and destroyed her once cherish cultural norms of hardwork, dedication, truthfulness and contentment.
The old generation of men, women and leaders who are still in the helms of affairs of Nigerian nation are the ones who laid the foundation for this present generation that has even taken it to a technological level. So they should own up for their mistakes, take every right step to correct the wrongs and the new generation of Nigerians will take a queue.
Hard work, truthfulness, contentment, respect for elders and constituted authority should be promoted in our actions, homes, churches, and mosques rather than materialism as it is done now. Leadership by merit should be promoted rather than loyalty to the people surrounding the “cake”.
Old men have no more shame. Why has “under 13” suddenly become so fashionable to these shameless old men who should be mentors to these girls? Why has “under 19” become so attractive to these shameless old women? If you didn’t patronize these girls or boys and entice them with money, it wouldn’t have become a “normal thing” to them.
Secondly, government alone cannot create the needed jobs. Every developed economy is largely run by the private sector. Access to finance has been a big challenge in developing the private sector in Nigeria. Nigerian youths are creative and hard working; many of them if they have access to finance to fund their ideas they will create products/services that will be consumed anywhere in the world.
It is only in Nigeria that banks prefer to give loan to a politician for campaign than an entrepreneur. Since SMEs are key development partners of any government, Nigeria should key into this by creating various workable policies/intervention schemes geared towards developing a robust viable private sector that will steer the wheels of development of the country.
Schemes such as YouWin, which remains one of the best SME scheme in Nigeria, N-power, Tradamoni, Anchor Borrowers Scheme, grants as well as single digit loans should be made common in Nigeria and things will begin to fall in place.
Of course not everyone will want to be an employer, but if you provide for employers, they will in turn take care of the millions of employee (youths) on the street.
An idle mind is said to be a devil’s workshop. So if youths of Nigeria are not idle and they are working, earning money for themselves, paying their bills, giving direction to their lives, their minds will be too busy for any “devil” to use even in campaigns. They will learn the value of dignity in labour, aspire high, live their dreams, learn to respect themselves and naturally morals will take a better shape.