Recent statistics have pointed to the fact that many young Nigerians, over the past few years, have been leaving the country in alarming numbers. The search for better living conditions and an enabling environment to fulfil their dreams drives the youths to seek more financially stable economies.
It is no secret that the economic condition of the country has plunged many into poverty. Although Nigeria is rich in natural resources, its economy is unable to meet the basic needs of the populace. Alarmingly, the population continues to increase at a fast rate. The disparity between the snowballing rate of poverty and the growth of the GDP shows that distribution of wealth in Nigeria is slanted.
32% of households in Nigeria have testified to their economic situation worsening over the period of a year while 64% consider themselves poor. National statistics reveal that poverty is declining, but in a slow manner. Lack remains a critical challenge for the youths. Many have dreams that need to be fulfilled. Others desire to go to school. Jobs are hard to come by and businesses need financial backing to thrive. The plight of the youths is worsened by the indifference of the government.
These factors, therefore, create the mentality that life in Nigeria is not worth living. The belief is that countries outside Nigeria and Africa, in general, have better standards of living. Although, this may be true, and migration might be the answer to the financial situation of many Nigerians, there is need for the youths to be aware that a conscious and thought-out migration plan is more important.
Choice destination countries for most migrants include Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Russia, Greece and Spain. All mentioned countries already have organized and established guidelines and laws for their citizens and immigrants. This is to ensure that everyone registered legally in the system gets the basic amenities and support from the government. In addition, it is to make certain that crime is brought to the barest minimum, ensuring the safety of everyone in the country. Their borders are open for migrants, but only via regular means. However, the bulk of Nigerians migrating into Europe do so via irregular means, with no plans as to how they would better the economy of the destination countries they plan to get into.
The mentality is to simply get in, and the rest would take care of itself. They end up being on the run from the police, struggling with decent jobs and accommodation, working twice as hard as they would in Nigeria, and finding themselves being exploited, sold into slavery by traffickers and smugglers and engaging in crime. The journey alone, via the desert and through the Mediterranean Sea, has claimed the lives of thousands and left many more in slavery and debt to traffickers.
Women are sold into prostitution while men are used for hard labor and crime. The freedom to live and work as one desires here in Nigeria is taken from them. They are then left to grapple with worse financial difficulties than they had previously had, and added hardship. Some are killed and their parts harvested for organ trade.
This is the reality of illegal Nigerian migrants on transit to Europe and even for those living there. Very few of them make it into comfortable living conditions. Very few significantly turn their situation around enough to lift others back home out of poverty. Little wonder you hear scores of stories of family members disappearing abroad and never being heard of again. You hear of many traveling and abandoning their families back here.
What then is the solution to this? How can young people be encouraged to look within themselves and their immediate environment to lift themselves out of their current struggles and to create an oasis in the middle of the desert?
The answer lies within the youths themselves. A change in government policies would go a long way, but while we wait for that, it is imperative for the youths to seek enabling environments and programs within Nigeria that can push them forward.
Certain non-governmental organizations have risen to the occasion to better the economic condition of young Nigerians via empowerment initiatives. Notable amongst them is Dare 2 Dream. Founded by Kinabuti, it engages the youth and women through empowerment and economic development, using various initiatives such as the “Dare2Dream” initiative. It is a youth empowerment platform set to channel young creative talents with opportunities that can help them achieve their dreams and design their lives the way they want.
Suleiman Danladi Lukman from Kwara State is a beneficiary of one of Dare 2 Dream’s programs in conjunction with OIP Computer Institute in Lagos. Unable to further his education due to financial constraints, he picked a form that helped him register for basic training in ICT. Subsequently, he attended a class that spanned over the course of four months, which had him falling in love with computers. He now tutors others with the same knowledge he had learned.
His motivation is seeking a life that is better than what his parents had. He is now the breadwinner of his family, and hopes to do much more for them in the near future. Suleiman believes that Nigeria brings the best in all of us. “Even those who are fleeing away, the best in them is hidden. They will go abroad and have to adjust to the way of life there, killing their talents and dreams, just so that they can survive.”
He believes the hardship in Nigeria doesn’t have to kill you. It can rather drive you into pursuing hard after your dreams. He advises youths to start planning for the future and not seek for quick cash that won’t last long.
Suleiman emulates what Dare 2 Dream has done. He plans to pay it forward by empowering young people with knowledge on information technology.
Yusuf Lukmon Olawale has similar dreams, and is already living them. Dare 2 Dream had given him the boost he needed to kick off his career in ICT. Because of the free training he gained, he passed his final exams from Yaba College of Technology with an upper credit, and today he is a junior instructor in OIP.
Yusuf is certain that the Nigerian situation has pushed him to be dogged. He believes he has the die-hard Nigerian spirit, and every Nigerian has it as well.
“When you open a particular book, each page gives a different story. I don’t see the Nigerian problem affecting my own success. My plan of the future is how to have my own company and not work for anyone.”
Counseling Nigerian youths, he tells them never to let any challenge weigh them down.
“Keep moving, be focused and be prayerful. Things would get better.”
Millions of Nigerian youths remain skeptical about the improvement of the state of things in the country. However, one must divorce oneself from wallowing in a perceived reality and accept reality, and work hard at accomplishing what one desires to have. The journey through the Sahara desert and Mediterranean has not produced great minds. Instead, it has robbed a beautiful nation of dreams, youth, brains, labor, creativity and innovation. It has made many parents childless and left young people traumatized and haunted by nightmares.
Like Yusuf and Suleiman who made green the grass on their own side, every youth must seek to build their dreams with their own hands.
Chyllian, a returnee from Libya, who now works in helping Nigerian youths pursue their ambitions here in Nigeria, has this to say:
“Travel for the right reasons. A lot of us travel because of finance. That’s not a good reason to travel. But how about building our country? It’s our responsibility. We don’t have to start running off because there is hardship. We have to look at what we can do to proffer solution to what we are passing through. If all the brainy and intelligent people in Nigeria should leave, who would build the country?”
Why Amosun Rejected My Resignation – Ojuko
The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has rejected the resignation of appointment by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Jide Ojuko, saying the Commissioner remain part of his cabinet till the end of his administration.
Ojuko, who made the disclosure at a press briefing in his office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, he said, the issues surrounding his earlier resignation were already being looked into, adding that contents of the letter were construed and misinterpreted.
“That letter was a love letter between two lovers. I love my Governor and my Governor loves me. In view of this development, I am now back at my desk and wish to place on record that the issues surrounding my earlier resignation are being looked into”, Ojuko stated.
He stated further that issues of Ota/Awori traditional council was quite different to what prompted him resigned earlier, noting that his resignation has nothing to do with that of traditional council.
While fielding questions from Journalists, he said those Ota/Awori traditional council were reacting to some anomalies being meted out to them by Egbas by installing an Egba man as their one of their monarch or Baale in their domain.
“You see, it is imperative to react accordingly that’s what the Ota/Awori traditional council did, but my own case is quite different because it has to do with politics, now that you can see that it was two different things entirely”, Ojuko said
He appreciated the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun for his quick intervention and Ota/Awori traditional council for their understanding, praying for peaceful resolution of the matter.
Lagos Lawmaker Ogunyemi Bags Distinguished Alumnus Award From AOCOED
Gbajabiamila Is On Course To Become Speaker ….Tunji-Ojo
Chairman of the First Timers Forum in the soon to be inaugurated 9th House of Representatives, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo has described the report of adoption of Hon. Umaru Bago by 156 Reps elect as untrue and a mere wishful thinking. Tunji-Ojo said he could confidently assert that absolute loyalty of all the 203 ‘first timers’ in the House to the speakership ambition of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is never in doubt.
Tunji-Ojo said that all the 203 elected ‘first timers’ in the House of Representatives would not only strive for the emergence of Gbajabiamila, but would also insist on an open ballot for the election of presiding officers of the 9th National Assembly in June.
Tunji-Ojo added, “We are seriously agitating for open ballot. Our people should also be able to know our position on any national issue. It is ideal for the beauty of democracy and for the preservation of the hallowed chamber, the open ballot should be given a place of priority in our process.”
Tunji-Ojo also described the claim of the Bago’s camp as refreshing comedy that could only be dignified with hearty laughter. He said, “As the Chairman of First Timers Forum, I can confidently assure that all our 203 members are with Hon. Gbajabiamila. We have our records, strategy and obtained loyal commitment from members. With all these, I am overly confident that Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is very much on course to become the Speaker of the 9th House”.
It will be recalled that 156 Representatives elect were reported to have declared support for the member representing Chanchanga Federal Constituency of Niger State, Honourable Umaru Mohammed Bago to become Speaker of the 9th House. The meeting where the endorsement took place was said to have been held at a location in Gwarimpa, Abuja early on Saturday, May 18.
Meanwhile, the report of rising support for Hon. Bago has been dismissed by the camp of Hon. Gbajabiamila who is the preferred candidate of the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC). Moreso, the Gbajabiamila’s camp had said that nothing concrete was realistically on ground in the opposition camp to stop the member representing Surulere Federal Constituency of Lagos State from becoming the Speaker of the 9th House.
“Politics of who becomes the next Speaker of the House is favourably titling towards the direction of the House Leader, Hon. Gbajabiamila. Although, we are not leaving anything to chance and we will continue to reach out to those that are yet to join our camp. Be as it may, this for us, is a task that must be achieved”, said Tunji-Ojo.
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