By Sani Sa’idu Baba
Dante, one of the famous poets of the 14th century, once asked Giotto, a great painter of the age ‘why is it that your paintings are beautiful, while your children are ugly?’ Giotto answered not only patiently, but wittingly that ‘I do paint in the day light, while I procreate in the darkness of the night ’. From his actions and sayings one can easily bring out the idea of putting the interest of the public above self. Though his children are ugly, he tried to make the ones he produces in his visual representations and expressions to be so beautiful mainly for aesthetics so as to please others.
In contradition, the Nigerian elites not only dot on their children, but always put them at advantageous positions even though they are ugly. They chuck away the beautiful ones on the ground as being the children of ‘others’. With this development, greater part of our youths today are shrewdly relegated to the back-bench despite their educational prowess and dedication as they are barricaded by the evil nature of unemployment, underemployment and redundancy.
It should be noted that behind any action there must be a reaction. This no doubt brings us to the fierce urgency of now. This becomes more pronounced when the Nigerian government and elites have no viable plans for its youths even though they accounted for over 60% of the nation’s population.
According to President Muhammadu Buhari, ‘corruption is more dangerous and deadly than Boko-Haram’. He equally made it succinctly clear during his visit to Kano that he cannot fight corruption. This statement has proven beyond doubt that the president is incapable of leading this country as he has fallen victim to evil castration and emasculation. With this on ground, I vividly recall the famous statement of one of my professors in the university that ‘while IBB shrewdly uses the people around him to his advantage, PMB is on the contrary being used by those around him to their advantage’.
It should be noted that the production machine of Boko-Haram as a social malaise that translates mere words into brutal action against the poor people of this country is the consequence of pervasive poverty which mercilessly strangulates the citizenry. It was this strong horrendous force that metamorphosed into terrorism and led to the radicalization of most youths in the country. Therefore, as the youths (especially the educated ones) were left to wander aimlessly in the jungle of misfortune and hopelessness so they become more dangerous and radical than the said terrorist group.
I am not saying that the government must incorporate all graduates into its workforce, but the authorities involved should create a serene atmosphere that would welcome individual and corporate creativity to make a difference as well as revive its industries and generate an unshakeable electric power supply. This will certainly allow the resurgence of vibrant private sector to help the government absorb the youths into its workforce.
Not only the downtrodden masses are suffering, but also the working class. As inflation is soaring, the basic salaries of the working class remain stagnant. That is why most civil servants in Nigeria are schizophrenic as they approach the age of retirement. Above all, even the pension they receive from the government after long years of servitude is often stolen by some active civil servants to enrich themselves and have a better financial preparation for retirement at the detriment of their predecessors in service.
Before this trying period, poor Nigerians were asking for good health care system, qualitative education, good jobs, and better life for all. However, they are now forced by those in power to demand only for two things; food and mirage-like security. What I have to tell our leaders is that we the Nigerian youths are not lackeys and shall not any longer put on with the way and manner the country is treating us.