“Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced” (John Keats). The EndSARS protest might have ended prematurely, but the shock wave it generated will still resonate for a long time. Mind you the storm is not over yet, rather, the protest has made the youths to realise that they can stand up and put the government who has failed and is still failing them in all ramification on its heels. The protest has reawakened a sense of belonging and entitlement amongst the many unemployed, angry and deprived Nigerian youths. Of course, they are entitled to the enormous wealth of the nation being siphoned by a miniature of self-centric Nigerians called politicians.
A hungry man they say is an angry man and by now I am sure the government will be wondering why the protest was the way it was. You know, the coordination, the relentlessness, the burning and looting of properties across the country. That is simply saying enough is enough with the bad leadership, mismanagement of resources by the political class, corrupt politicians, immense unemployment, hunger, poverty and so many bad man-made factors befalling the country.
Nigeria is a country blessed with abundant human and natural resources when compared to other countries around the world today. Yet, majority of her citizens keep wallowing in abject poverty, while a hand full of her self-centred and evil politicians sit on the nation’s wealth, siphoning money here and there and saving for their unborn generations. Of course, they have uniform men whom they pay handsomely to protect them wherever they go. That’s the height of wickedness in all spheres if you ask me.
The Nigerian government will be naïve to think the recent #EndSARS protest was only about the cry for the scrapping of SARS and police reform. No! The #EndSARS protest goes beyond that, it cuts across the hardship many Nigerians are going through in their country and this protest by the youths was a way of telling the government that enough is enough. The famous axiom that says “what an old man sees while sitting down, a young man cannot see even if he climbs the tallest building”. In the case of the Nigeria government, I hope the author of the axiom will forgive me if I say “what Nigeria government does not see while sitting down, probably they might see it if they climb the tallest building” because it seems they have been sitting down for too long, such that they cannot see that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder and sooner than later they might ignite the gunpowder with their nonchalant attitude towards governance.
Our educational sector which ought to be the foundation for the country’s human capital development is in total shambles. There is total neglect on the part of the government when it comes to education and this explains why the government will rather budget more for Legislators salaries and welfare packages than the educational sector. There have also been instances when our clueless government would choose to reduce the budgets for the educational sector, to increase that for the renovation of the National assembly. That was the pinnacle of misplaced priority and that goes to say a lot about our so-called leaders.
There was a time when Nigerians enjoyed world-class education which was only comparable to the best in the western world, but today that does not exist as our educational system takes an average Nigerian 2 extra years to complete than what is obtainable in other countries. The government makes policies that subject the youths to poor education, despite the enormous resources available to give them the best, meanwhile their children study in the best universities around the world. Things like these breeds anger and resentment towards the government, that needed just EndSARS to explode.
What about the health sector that has been left to the mercy of the patients themselves? Every year, budget is made for the health sector, but still, there has been stagnation in the sector and people die every day just because of poor medical treatment. About 4 months ago, a popular Nigerian comedian, Seyilaw, delivered a tearful message to the Governor of Ondo state, Akeredolu, after losing his aunty to a neck injury she sustained from an accident due to inadequate equipment at the general hospital in Igbokoda. If time was on her side, Seyilaw would have flown her out for proper medical treatment, but she didn’t have the luxury of time and she died.
Our leaders have this habit of always flying abroad for medical treatment, championed by the incumbent president himself. What if one-day life does not present them with the luxury of time just like Seyilaw’s aunty and they are forced to use one of these Nigerian hospitals they have refused to invest in. You died because there was no oxygen in the oxygen tank? Like a popular Nigerian musician, Falz said: “every Nigerian is one sickness away from death”. He said so in reference to our poor health sector. Mind you, so-called leaders, you might find yourselves in a situation where you will be forced to use these hospitals, I pray God helps you.
I stumbled across an online video where a lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mrs Mojisola Alli-Macaulay while shedding light on the EndSARS protest, attributed the destruction that ensued after the Lekki massacre to hard drugs rather than youth unemployment. In her word, she said, “The youths are high on drugs, all the time, most of them”. According to her unemployment shouldn’t have been the reason why youths should destroy properties.
She went further to proffer a solution and she said: “The youths need to look inward and learn fashion designing and how to be professional tilers”. Her statement goes to tell us that our government have no solution to youth unemployment. Rather they advise that after spending four years in the university, graduates should abandon their degrees and certificates at home and go learn a trade. Then the question I ask is: what was the need of going to school in Nigerian? Even if one decides to learn a trade after graduation, who will provide the money for the training? That question is for you Mrs Dishonourable.
It’s really disturbing to think that she studied in the UK and cannot still differentiate between the unemployment rate in the US to that of Nigeria. Yes, there are unemployed youths in the developed countries, but the government there have welfare packages that cater for them so that they don’t become a nuisance in the society. Do we have that in Nigeria for unemployed youth Mrs Dishonourable? But Like I quoted earlier “a hungry man is an angry and so too is an unemployed graduate in Nigeria”. So it’s high time the government starts looking for ways to address youth unemployment before this ticking time bomb goes off.
Nigerians, especially the youth have suffered enough under the scorching heat of misgovernance and they don’t intend to continue anymore. It’s time the government saddle their minds with policies that will engage the teeming youths. It’s time they stop paying lips-service to the diversification of the nation’s economy because the nation’s reliance on crude oil alone will never employ up to three quarter of the Nigerian youthful population. They say “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. Please dear government, get the youths engaged and don’t let the devil use them in his workshop.