Wherever possible, government should invest in citizen capabilities to provide for themselves.”
– Anne-Marie Slaughter, President & CEO, New America
President Muhammadu Buhari who seeks re-election in 2019 criticized Nigerian youths last week at a business conference in London that “A lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming, you know, that Nigeria has been an oil producing country therefore they should sit and do nothing and get housing, health care, education, free.”
This piece was written by Bayo Oluwasanmi. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.
The coming to power of President Buhari should have heralded a new Nigeria for our teeming hopeless unemployed youths. The hope was that the youth would be living radically different lives from the lives they lived under previous governments. But that dream is still out of reach for 99.99% of our youths. Our youth population could have been a blessing for Nigeria if Buhari’s government did what is necessary to ensure our youths become healthy, educated, and productive citizens.
The anti-youth policies and programs pursued by Buhari administration make prospects for our youths broken and bleak. Three in four of our youths are failing to get the start in life they deserve. The inequality in opportunities and political disenfranchisement of our youths are huge. Our youths are denied the best shot at living a decent life. Poor quality of healthcare and education and a socioeconomic horizon blighted by poverty, unemployment, violence, murder, killings, lawlessness, have been foisted on the youths by the government.
A critical factor in youth development is the extent to which the youths are able to participate in political and civic life of Nigeria. But the models are in short supply. For example, how can Buhari explain the wisdom behind the appointment of a 80-year old plus as Nigeria’s ambassador to the US? Buhari’s 70-year old minister of agriculture Audu Ogbe was minister of communications in his 30s. Abba Kyari, Buhari’s chief of staff, is 80 years old.
The list is endless. The quality of life and opportunities for our youths are still defined to a large extent by legacies of their parents, their proximity to power, their connection to political god fathers, their religion, and ethnicity.
There are three responsibilities every government has towards its citizens. The oldest and simplest justification for government is as protector – protecting citizens from violence. Government is a provider of goods and services that individuals cannot provide individually for themselves – electricity, water,healthcare, roads, hospital, education. Government is the solution to collective action problems such as social welfare particularly in the vulnerable conditions of youths, old age, sickness, disability, and unemployment due to economic forces beyond their control.
As an investor in human capital, governments invest in citizens capabilities to enable them to provide for themselves in rapidly and continually changing circumstances. Buhari administration has failed in all these crucial areas.
Youth employment is a much bigger problem than Buhari has acknowledged. Instead, Buhari resorts to blaming the victim in order to cover up his failures and inadequacies. Buhari failed to create enabling environment for the youths. He failed to create two million jobs a year he promised the youths. Failed to jump start the economy. Failed to provide livable minimum wage. Failed to provide safety and security. Failed to provide quality education and healthcare. How dare him accuse the youths as contented loafers?
An incompetent Buhari blames the opposition for non-performance. An intellectually lazy Buhari blames the youths for his failure to craft a job bill that will jump start the economy. A clueless Buhari who failed to guarantee safety and security of our nation and citizens blames the deceased Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi for Boko Haram terrorists. Buhari whose judgement call is wrong most of the times appoints dead people, octogenarians, and the brain dead as cabinet members, ambassadors, and heads of government agencies.
A lazy Buhari cannot run an efficient and productive government that will bring peace, progress, and prosperity to all Nigerians. Talking of a loafer and one who demands and depends on freebies, all his life, Buhari has been a beneficiary of government generosity in education, in the army, and in politics.
No matter how the spin masters in Aso Rock slice, dice, and interpret Buhari’s condemnation of our youths, Buhari has no moral right to accuse them of being loafers. In fact, Buhari is one of the major architects of the misfortunes of our youths for his failure to turn Nigeria around. We know who sits around for oil money: Buhari’s family and friends, his ministers, his political cronies and hangers on, owners of oil blocks, and the stinkingly corrupt legislators.
Nigerian youths are dying and Buhari can’t save them. Buhari, “Baba go slow” has failed Nigerian youths. Enough of the blame game. The youths are ready to revenge in 2019. Let’s go there!