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Situating Youth Unemployment as Catalyst to Violence in Nigeria



Pension Loot: Workers as the Raped Victims

What would have been a promising pursuit of my journalism carrier would have been the birth of ABUJA FOCUS, the beat I anchored with African Herald Express (a strong and promising publishing firm based in Abuja) for about four months. I handled the assignment with uncommon and undiluted passion. I still live, breathe and savour the idea which still haunts me today.

It was conceived by the Editor-in-Chief, Mr Aloy Ejimafor and went through incubation and labour in the hands of many midwives and other editorial board members, including the managing editor, Mr. Alex Ogbu. What I considered a sizzling package was a pot-pourri of elitism – focusing on in-depth informed analyses, metro unfolding, familiarization of AFRICAN HERALD EXPRESS with corporate organizations within the nation’s capital city, the entire country, and the international community by extension, and also to offer some useful tips on business, entrepreneurship, international intelligence and diplomacy went to bed during the incubatory stage when the Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Aloy Ejimafor retrenched me.


Though, it was very painful when I received the termination letter, but I still wear the tenacity to say goodbye and thank the organization for the opportunity it afforded me to nurture a carrier in journalism. When I text the Editor-in-Chief to appreciate his fatherly gesture and the corporation he extended to me during my service period with the media firm. Surprisingly in his response, he downplayed his actions and blames it on the economic condition of the nation.

He said, Balogun, lack of money forced me to downsize. You are a good reporter. I wanted to free you to look for more secured job. But from time to time, you can contribute stories to the paper, if the financial situation improves, I will remember you.

Mr Aloy Ejimafor’s submission leaves me reeling in pains because of the wonderful working and mutual relationship we had shared. While I was reading his text message, the news of the protest organized by the unemployed youth’s association in Abuja and the bombing of the Police head quarter were simultaneously sent to my mobile. Even with my state of mind at that time. What came to my mind was, when would this nation get it right? After identifying the fact that, the import of this unrest is the long seated national question of various socio-economic, political and leadership problems that have been threatening the unity and continuous existence of our nation as a sovereign state.

Before now, as a concerned citizen, I believe 2011 would be a platform to regain our Nigerianess, where issues of poverty, insecurity, economic instability, homelessness, bomb blasts, corruption, privatization and commercialization of our commonwealth, ethnic crisis over trivial issues and unemployment to mention just a few will be history. But with the new waves of bomb attacks cum terrorism that just raised its ugly head amidst other challenges afflicting overall development in Nigeria, I totally agree with Mr. Aloy Ejimafor on many things, including the fact that the economic situation is not friendly and that he cannot continue spending without any reasonable economic gains or input from the business to his purse or the company’s account. I do not see hope in a nation where the government has been inconsistent in its policy making and implementation.

While I was growing up as a boy, am of the school of thought that there is continuity in government. This adage is not applicable in Nigeria, as practically demonstrated recently when the Senate President, Senator David Mark said privatization is the bane of infrastructural backwardness and unemployment of the nation’s teeming youths.

What should have been the vehicle to propel Nigeria’s economy from stagnancy to prosperity, going by the analysis and argument of the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo led administration when it privatized most of the nation’s owned companies to private handlers in other to ensure its effective and positive contribution to national growth between 1999 and 2007 has now been tagged as the cobweb behind infrastructural development and employment of millions of our unemployed youths by the seventh senate; a policy that was heavily condemned and fought against by the progressives, civil society organizations and economists at its introduction in 1988 as part of structural adjustment programme (SAP) under the then military government headed by General Ibrahim Babangida. Series of protests and demonstrations were organized by the Nigerian people against it, after careful assessment and consideration of its future negative effect on the economy, but it turned leap ears.

Disturbed by the worrisome security situation and unemployment of the youths, the senate President, David Mark after a protracted debate on the low output of the privatized companies to overall development during the probe of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) recently said if two privatized companies have performed well while over 100 others do not, it means that the exercise is a failure.

“Government truly has no business in all these commercial enterprise because it has failed. Every time it has tried it, it has tried it and it has failed because of the orientation and attitude of a civil servant is quite different from that of commercial organization and I think that linking the two in my candid opinion is not the best and I think government should hands off these commercial organizations” he advised.

This statement exposes the practical political and administrative naivety of political office holders in Nigeria who cannot translate theory to practice. Hence, raking excuses for the failure of the implementation of their anti-masses policies. Governance performance evaluation in the country has been very poor since the nation’s independence, as successive political office holders have been consistently inconsistent in their policy making and its implementation; a situation that has plugged high percentage of the nation’s population to abject poverty, unemployment and homelessness. The situation has in the otherhand heightened insecurity in the land; vis-a-vis bomb blasts, continuous and renewed ethnic clashes in Jos and other part of the country, protests by unemployed youths among others.

You will agree with me that President Goodluck Jonathan is fast becoming a fall guy before an average Nigerian who due to the angelic toga he wore towards the tail of last regime when he signed the minimum wage bill into law (the bill which its implementation was delayed and engulfed by series of administrative politics) and the appointment of Prof. Attahiru Jega as the INEC head voted him in during the presidential election in April 2011. The broad expectation of the people is that President Jonathan administration with its newly expanded and constituted cabinet ought to build on the gains of the last election by prioritizing the immediate needs of the people.

The raging and continuous growing rate of poverty in the land that seeks urgent minimization, if not total eradication to the tsunami of unemployment that has almost turned our youths to terrorists, 419ers, yahoo-yahoo, prostitutes, drug addict and also qualified our nation as an environment that is not save for genuine democratic practice and have also cast dark shadow on the future of the nation, to insecurity and the pitiable state of our infrastructure that is far from attracting practical priority in the hand of the government.

One of the priorities of the administration’s prime focus ought to be more sensitive to the cry for uninterrupted power supply, which will enhance economic growth and subsequently create employment opportunities.

The high rate of unemployment in Nigeria today, might erase the name Nigeria in the committee of nations, if urgent steps are not employed, because it has influenced the increasing challenge of insecurity snowballing from youth restiveness due to unemployment to series of kidnappings for ransom, politically motivated attacks and now bomb blasts, undoubtedly means the leadership of the nation have to employ result oriented approach to employ and creatively engage millions of unemployed youths in Nigeria. If not, i just pray and hope the British cooked marriage will not be a mirage.



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