By Odoh Michael
“It is the duty of the youth to challenge corruption”. Kurt Cobain
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. Albert Einstein
The average Nigerian youth is probably one of the most psychologically traumatized persons in the world and as such I wonder if they perform their duty of challenging corruption according to Kurt Cobain. The average Nigerian youth is faced with extreme poverty, joblessness, homelessness and is also penniless. They find it difficult to live a meaningfully decent life. Unfortunately, the plight of the average Nigerian youth is exacerbated by the continuous nonchalant attitude and insensitivity of the Nigerian government at all levels.
The plight of the average Nigerian youth has continued to be further exploited by the political class most of whom became political office holders in their youthful age.
During the 2015 general elections, the All Progressives Congress (APC) used the plight of the Nigerian youth as an advantage to gain their votes and promised them change. Two years later, the average Nigerian youth is still faced with the same problem and has yet to witness any change. Instead, what they have been offered is what I consider an insult, not only to the average Nigerian youth who is uneducated, but the educated ones who have graduated from university, the N-POWER SCHEME.
Listening to the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, on TVC morning show on the 28th of August 2017 talk about this government’s achievement and boastfully praising the impact of the N-POWER scheme on the Nigerian economy, I could only draw inspiration from the words of Albert Einstein who said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. Nigeria needs a new set of leaders for its problem to be solved.
In an interview on Naij.com, Prince Daniel C.D. Onyemaka, President, Youths Across Nigeria (YAN), noted, “Rather than offering plans of revival, the corrupt rogues we have as leaders have embarked on their normal practical theory of stimulus control, a situation whereby the lives of the Nigerian youths are made so hard they have to beg for crumbs from the tables of our corrupt and unreasonable politicians. They make you beg for bread, and, because of their inordinate ambition, you end up becoming perpetual slave to their dastardly acts of inhumanity”.
The N-POWER Scheme has proven correct the above statement. This is a scheme by the federal government to offer employments to 200,000 graduates to work in different segments in the country and they will be paid a monthly salary of between 20 thousand naira to 30 thousand naira. This amount is not even up to the salaries of most security guards or most artisans who do not even have O-level certificates. After spending 4 years in the university or 5 years in the polytechnics in some cases and spending up to a million naira in fees and other expenses, you will now be paid less than 30,000 naira monthly by the government. For me this is an insult to the Nigerian graduates and to the institutions that trained them.
A bag of rice is now between twenty to twenty-five thousand naira, fuel is now N145per litre, a dollar in the black market is now between 360-450 naira. How will such an amount paid by the N-POWER scheme help a Nigerian graduate to save, provide accommodation, take care of his/her parents who sent them to school and even plan for the future?
The N-POWER Scheme was created by insensitive people who did not even put into consideration the present realities of things in Nigeria. A thinking person will not contemplate paying a graduate whom you want to help secure a future such an amount considering the situation of things in Nigeria at the moment and when we know the amount of money our legislators get annually.
The YOUWIN programme of the past administration even did more by creating employments and by giving grants of up to 20million naira to youths to invest in the country. This did not only create employment but also helped to set up local industries and made Nigerian youths employers of labour. This government needs to re-evaluate this N-POWER scheme in a manner that it will suit the present reality. They complain about lack of funds yet they are adding more people to their salary scale instead of making these people employers of labour.
If this government truly wants to empower the youths of this country, it should relax some of its policies that have chased out most foreign and local investors to nearby countries, thereby creating employments to the youths of those countries and increasing the unemployment numbers in Nigeria. The difference between the YOU-WIN social investment scheme of the past government and the N-POWER scheme is that the YOU-WIN scheme made young people employers of labour both directly and indirectly.
It created more jobs indirectly, revived some segments of our economy and increased investment in the agricultural sector. But the N-POWER scheme is static. It only creates direct jobs with very minimal pay and does nothing to alleviate poverty. It does not make young people employers of labour.
To the youths, still quoting from the interview conducted by Naij.com with Prince Daniel C.D. Onyemaka, President, Youths Across Nigeria (YAN), “Selling your soul to the PDP, or the APC, participating in their rallies and campaigns, is not a guarantee of your tomorrow. Instead, one should ask: what structures and qualitative manifestos do they have on ground? They make the youths to be spectators of their shameful display of inept manifestation of their indoor agreement and then urge them to take up arms against their political opponent.
“These abnormalities will continue to prevail unless Nigerian youths wake up from their slumber, rise to their feet and redirect their destinies by saying No to the vices of our so-called leaders. Only Nigerian youths can liberate Nigeria!”
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