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Is Buhari’s comment on youths right?

Is Buhari’s comment on youths right?

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Well, I believe most of our people are hypocritical about things like this. I don’t think he meant the youths are lazy in the sense which people have interpreted it. I think what he wanted to say which didn’t come out well was that most of our youths have higher aspirations than their work can lead them to. That is what I think he actually meant. I am not speaking for him but I believe it is unlikely that anybody can make such a generalisation by saying Nigerian youths are lazy. Of course, there are many hardworking youths. In fact, most of them are hardworking, but many of our youths would rather make millions without doing the commensurate work. Many of our youths fail to see that hard work is the surest path to wealth. That is the truth. It is not that they don’t work at all but they want to work for five minutes and earn the money of 100 minutes. That is the problem and that is my understanding of what the President was trying to say. I agree that the forum where he made the statement was not appropriate and this is something the President always does which I think is unfortunate. You don’t wash your dirty linen in public and that is one problem I have with many Nigerians. They go out there and bad-mouth our country, which is wrong. But I think the President is just too blunt to a fault. People would prefer him to be politically correct even when they know that what he is saying is right. People don’t believe that he should be the one making such statements. It is not as if most people don’t agree with what he says, but people believe he shouldn’t be the one making such statements and he shouldn’t be saying such things in the wrong place. I don’t know him personally but I am sure he couldn’t have said Nigerian youths are lazy the way people are interpreting it. •Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye (Dean of Arts, University of Lagos)

The comment is incorrect. Many Nigerians, including youths, have excelled in different careers while many others desire to work. When you see Nigerians excel all over the world and within Nigeria itself, you will conclude without doubt that Nigerians are not lazy. We have, exuberant youths, as well as dynamic and focused youths in this country. But their energies are not well directed. In fact their resources have not been harvested to the full and that is why we are where we are today. I have interacted with and assessed many Nigerian youths. They have incredible creativity and drive to succeed. I observed many of them at Agbamu in Kwara State where I went for the funeral ceremony of a retired civil servant, Mr. Julius Olawepo, who is the father of a former governorship candidate in Kwara State, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo. The youths displayed appreciable creativity in their dance and art work and were quite hospitable. Nigerian youths have many talents. What we lack and which we have been shying away from is good leadership. That is so deficient that it defines every other thing and that is why we are in this mess and we will continue to go deeper in the mess unless we change the leadership of this country and hand it over to leaders who appreciate the value of the youths and essence of development and the ingredients of development, particularly the drivers of development and we have them in large numbers. •Prof. Tunde Adeniran (Ex-Minister of Education)

In analysing Mr. President’s speech in a nutshell, I will say I was as disappointed as millions of youths in this country. International circles are places of shuttle diplomacy. Presidents around the world often present fantastic pictures of their countries to attract investment. Even if the President must say the truth without embellishment, then it must be informed truth. Nigerian youths are not lazy.

Nigerian youths are not all illiterates. Those who are must be due to government’s clueless educational policies which Mr. President should have fixed instead of the global insults Nigerians get from him frequently.

Again, whether the youths are lazy or not, I do not see and have not seen anywhere in the world where youths are more industrious than in Nigeria. The truth is that any President that we hope to elect in the future must fulfil several criteria, among which must include a wide knowledge of Nigeria. Mr. President should go into the creeks and see where the fishes are coming from in the Niger Delta and he will appreciate the youths. Let him enter into the farms in the northern, western and eastern Nigeria, and see youths at work. While in his posh Aso Rock Villa, let him disguise and enter the streets and see youths of this country in several trades, vocations , occupations and callings, and even he will be ashamed that he made such a statement. Nigerian youths worked hard day and night to actualise that ambition. •Spurgeon Ataene (A legal practitioner)

Nigerian youths are wonderful and ready to explore the world. The major problem is that the rate of engagement of Nigerian youths is very low in other areas of life except entertainment and you can judge by the participation in the concluded Big Brother Naija that over 170 million votes were recorded. Statistics also showed that N300bn was used on betting in 2017.

This is a huge sum of money and most of it came from youths. If such money is put into manufacturing, you can imagine the amount of jobs that could be created. I think what the President meant is that youths should not just sit down and wait for the government to provide everything they need. I think it was a call for youths to be proactive and productive because the youths constitute a large portion of our population.

I will strongly urge the Nigerian youths to be persistent in the cause of getting Nigeria back on track and ensuring that those that looted our country are not allowed to manipulate them in thinking that the President Muhammad Buhari government does not care about them.

He cares and he will redirect and position Nigeria among the comity of nations. So let us be focused. •Muftau Salau (Politician/entrepreneur)

The comment of President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigerian youths is not right. President Buhari has been spoiling Nigeria’s image outside. Nigerian youths are not lazy; they do not have the opportunity to work. They are busy looking for jobs. There is no infrastructure; there is no electricity for them to work with. It is very bad for the President to go out and give us a bad name. He has already done that and said we are extremely corrupt and he is presiding over us. He should stop de-marketing Nigeria. If he does not want to lead us, he should get out of the place. During our seventh synod entitled, ‘Avoid Temptations and be Delivered from Evil,’ we discussed, among other germane issues, the importance of and great contributions made by Nigerian youths to national development. By my position, I have direct interactions with youths and I can assure you that many of them are hardworking.

They have visions and are ingenious and creative. If you consider the revolution in information technology and telecommunications, you will agree that Nigerian youths have amazing and vibrant energies. The youths only need an enabling environment that can spur such energies to greater productivity. Politicians should rather encourage Nigerian youths.  •Rt. Revd. Akintunde Popoola (Anglican Communion) Bishop of Offa Diocese, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion

The vituperation and unguarded comments of President Muhammadu  Buhari is nothing but a monumental insult and a slap in the face of Nigerian youths. It is sad that the same man who once ruled this country when he was a youth would say such a derogatory statement against the same youths who took active part in bringing him  back to power. Nigerian youths are known globally as enterprising, hardworking and productive.

It is worrisome and highly regrettable that the same President who has failed to provide employment to the unemployed youths would have the audacity to make such a condemnable comment targeted towards bringing the youths of this great country to public odium and ridicule.

The president has shown to the whole world that he has nothing to offer the youths any longer.

The statement of the President is condemnable and he was not even diplomatic about it. It is a great insult to the Nigerian youths.

So many Nigerians youths have achieved remarkable feats and so many are also trying their best under the atmosphere that is not conducive. We cannot say that all Nigerian youths are very good and industrious but it is wrong to generalise and do so in the presence of the whole world.

What type of a father would go to the market square and run down his children?

I, on behalf of the Igbimo Oduduwa Youth Consultative Forum, being the umbrella body of the Yoruba youths, hereby call on President Buhari to retract this comment and tender an unreserved apology to Nigerian youths whom he had desecrated and degraded before the whole world. •Mr. Olayinka Sokoya (Publicity Secretary, Igbimo Oduduwa Youth Consultative Forum)

  • Compiled by: Femi Makinde, Eniola Akinkuotu and Samson Folarin

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