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The Dangers with Nigeria’s Idle Youthful Population
The Dangers with Nigeria’s Idle Youthful Population

By - Tobi Idowu

Posted - 04-11-2019

In Nigeria, the catchy expression, “the youths are the leaders of tomorrow” now enjoys a sort of cynical shrug. To most youths in Africa’s most populous country, that expression represents the greatest lie that has ever been told in world’s history. And really, could these young ones be blamed? Meanwhile, while it will appear the intensity that had characterised its championing in the past has now thawed, the question of restructuring in Nigeria still lingers. One of the major selling points of this agitation is that it will initiate an equitable redistribution of wealth in the country which will in turn benefit a large section of the nation’s demography: the youth.


Yet, amidst the clamour and huff and puff that it almost always leads to among the different old, ruling elite and the often ludicrous cat and mouth scheming that those in the corridors of power – the executive and the legislative arms of the government – engage themselves in, it does not appear that the youth place in the scheme of things is factored in or even thought of at all in the seemingly progressive agitation. The danger of not taken into account a large percentage of the country’s demographic, the youth, is portentous for the nation’s immediate future as it has been unravelling the social fabric of the country in the present.

A nation of estimated statistics
Nigeria is a nation of estimation. Statistics are never accurately got. That is why at no period in the country’s bumpy history as a nation has the people been satisfactorily counted. But a fact seems to recur from the always estimated figures of the country’s population; that is, the overwhelming numbers of the young.

In most of those estimates, usually based on the contentious census figures of 2006, the young ones are said to have made up of more than half of the total population. In fact, it has been reported that about 42.5% of that population are between the ages of 0 – 14! Nigeria is thus a nation of youthful zest and vigour with a lot of potential energies…

Yet a cheated bunch
Measured in any yardsticks, the young have been the most cheated group in Nigeria. It is irrelevant to point to the beginnings of the nation where the crop of the leaders were largely made of young people. That should not be unexpected in a new nation, especially in a so-called third world postcolonial country. And we should also not factor in the lot of the few youths whose luck as the children of the privilege and/political class have been the bane of the disproportionate disadvantaged hordes of other youths.

Oftentimes the achievements of those sons and daughters of Nigerian political-cum economic class are so easily deceitfully hoisted as shining examples of the working Nigeria that allows the youth to thrive. It has been reported too often how this set of privilege young ones, who were trained abroad with the country’s commonwealth unavailable to a vast number of Nigerians, is absorbed through the backdoor into juicy positions in government corporations as Central Bank of Nigeria and the like. Yet, unconscionable political elite will want to use them as examples of how the youths are thriving when the average underprivileged youth hardly gets a job to live by.

Getting pride and succour from crimes
The neglect the spiritedly active youths are unfortunately enjoying from the ruling class has always had its consequences; but in recent years, especially in the age of the highly democratised access to the internet through the phenomenon of the social media, the ramifications of this insane neglect have remarkably notched up high figures. An example of this reality will suffice: not too long ago, the activities of the internet fraudster (widely known as yahoo-yahoo) especially among themselves and also among would-be converts were often conducted and discussed in a very surreptitious or secretive manner. Even then, parents and such moral custodians as the clerics and old ones would as much as possible harp on the need to desist from and never be swayed by the temptations of defrauding others through the internet. Nowadays, things have gone so bad that people now glorify in fraud and are encouraged by those that should ward them of it. Parents who should be curious as to the source of their children’s sudden wealth now consciously look away as long as the gods of their stomachs receive their health-sustaining sacrifices.

More so, it has become fashionable these days to see young ones, without any traceable work, to engage in gaudy show-offs of unaccountable wealth via posts on Facebook: this is especially common with those in tertiary institutions. It is now very common to read news story of the arrest of teenagers or twenty-somethings who were caught with charms and all sort of things meant for riches. And then, now and then, we get to read a news story like, “the trunk of an unidentifiable body of apparently a young person has been found without its head!” It is now so bad young ones now get involved in human rituals in the quest for wealth! Yet, curiously, that is no concern for the ruling class who are also busy outdoing one another in pillaging the rest of the few riches that country is still blessed to have.


Desperate and pushed to crime
It is a question that should nibble at the heart of any right thinking young person. Restructuring is meant to reset the political configuration of Nigeria, but is it the most expedient issue at hand in light of the time bomb that is the consequence of the forced idleness more than half the country. One of the clichéd remarks about the youths is that they are lazy. But who made them so? Nothing for instance seems to work in Nigeria and the basic necessities, like power, which flourish vocational work, are also not available in this country. This kind of governmental ineptitude has no other ramifications for a country with an abundance of young people. The youth become restless and eventually are pushed to untoward activities.

Restructuring or whatever clamour for political reordering is not the most germane issue now. It is the question of the booming population of the young ones, who are increasingly been exposed and encouraged to crime. As much as most of the tilts of the argument for restructuring or anything of the sort have substances, they do not measure and should not be seen as measuring up to necessity that should be the revamping of most basic structures which are important to the engagement of the youths in meaningful employment– the issue of power, for instance.

Read More:  NIGERIA AT 59: Of Hope and Hopelessness

It should run a prickling sensation through the bodies of the privileged class, including the activists-for-restructuring, the danger of their silences on the expediency of the need to inject life to the country’s moribund institutions of learning, to salve the wounds of the suffocating unemployment rate through devising working formulas for the creation of works and works. It should not be lost on the leaders of the country and their mostly privileged agitating friends on the need to solve the riddles of the hopelessness that has driven the youth to the wide-strait of dangerous desperation.


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