By Yusuf Babatunde
According to the data of the World Bank on development indicators, Nigeria’s workforce is about 700,000, a country of over 200 million people. This means we have a lot of jobless and uninformed youths population. When you sit and think of it, being a data boy is a very easy choice, the earnings may not be much and may irritate audience who see them constitute nuisance and circulate misinformation across social media.
If there is anything Governor AA has successfully borrowed from Ibrahim Babangida’s style of politics, it is giving people a sense of belonging and making them feel like the most important on earth during the moment they are together with him. This, Governor AA has successfully done with the exploitable population of youths in the State. What is even more painful is that he created an atmosphere that this category of people have attained the peak of their potentials. Hence, they close eyes to learning and seeking opportunities.
When you engage them, they tell you that they are fulfilled and not driven by gains and ambitions; in contrary to what Nelson Mandela believes – that regret follows when we don’t attain the heights we should have attained by limiting ourselves. I’ve read brilliant works on Nation building from Kwara, statehood and philosophical expressions indicating that some sizeable number of people have a kind of future they envision for themselves and the State. These category of people are unfortunately very few in Kwara. Since assumption of office, job creation has not been the focus of this government and the youth population are unworried, by the time Governor AA will leave government if he accidentally wins his second term, and the perception by some that Saraki will die a natural political death after 2023, and by 2027. Are these youths equally bearing in mind that a whole of us will be close to, or be above 30 years by then. Years that could have been better invested into something else.
Do these people ever realise that writings can form part of a Résumé, the numerous publications they’ve had can constitute part of a CV. However, how many of them can sieve through their writings and attach it as part of a CV to seek job or appointment. One of my friends from Kwara that HE, Dr. Bukola Saraki facilitated his appointment just 1 month ago was able to get better placement in his workplace; simply because he can write and the numerous publications in his CV wasn’t even about singing praises of Saraki, but nation building, national growth and development, policy implementation among others.
It is my humble advice to these population of teeming youths, whom Governor AA has not facilitated a single appointment of a Federal Ministry, Parastatal or Agency for; to have a rethink. Bukola Saraki may have even lost counts on people he has facilitated appointments for. It is even admirable that even though not as much as when he was in office, he still struggles to get one or two facilitated for his State. How many place, or who can Governor AA put a call through to Abuja to assist Kwarans with appointments despite being with Federal Government and the ruling party? Even Professor Gambari, who is Buhari’s Chief of Staff has facilitated some appointments, while Oloriegbe was able to get few via his capacity as Chairman, Health Committee in the Senate. Go to other Northern States and see how Governors are using their office to ensure they push people up for national employments.
With all sense of honesty and God bearing me as witness, statistics show today that most Kwarans whose appointments were facilitated by Saraki or Professor Oba Abubakar (even though Bukola Saraki facilitated Prof. Abu’s appointment as Chairman of Federal Character) will become Directors across different Agencies in Nigeria in due time. That is what true leadership means, that is what it means to envision something for your people.
Our population of youths are better fit to use our energy in Kwara’s Civil Service and Federal Civil Service than arming us with mobile data and a stipend ahead of positioning Kwara and ensuring the State is not missing in efforts to strengthen Nigeria. Don’t make us “data boys bandits”, our Governor should make us “employable and useful boys” by using his office, not letting them admire him for carrying his own bag or wearing squeezed clothes around. What’s so special about that?
The “data boys” comment in the Governor’s interview means the place of the youths working with him has been cemented, they can be nothing more or less, their job and sole existence is built on laundering/promoting his image. Bolaji Abdullahi has records of policies and implementation, but these same set of data boys are asking him how much he has spent or how many people has he assisted in the past, but want people to clap for the Governor’s limited and not very impacting policies in addressing deficits in our social structures. How many of them, known and unknown has AA assisted with jobs in the State or Federal?
A wise population of youth seek opportunity, as their elevation and young age is an asset, a youth wasted can’t be gotten back. There is need for them to critically evaluate what impact the Governor has made in their life beyond the 30k stipend, or policies that create an environment to thrive on gifts and potentials (Not APCpreneur).
Those of us who can go into private sectors should seek opportunity there, those who can build businesses should commence immediately and dedicate our lives to building something and those who are aspiring to serve their country and state should seek opportunity and enrolment that will ensure everyone has a meaningful life.
It extended to some of us in opposition parties, we must envision something about our lives, service isn’t bad, but we must seek a stage and avenue that grows our talents and promotes our skills, not cement our fate as errand boys and social media activists for eternity.
When our mates who went out to seek opportunity or have already dedicated their lives to building something return to the scene and become successful in respective areas, where are we going to be? Mallam Saliu Mustapha (though not very bright) should teach us all a lesson, that being a major actor and impact maker in politics isn’t by being data boy or fake boy to politicians, not even Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq .
*Babatunde writes from Ilorin.