“Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.”—Frederic Bastiat.
The poisonous remark of President Muhammadu Buhari that sought to put swathe of Nigerian young ones in the freeloading army is deserving of the most stringent condemnation by every soul with a meat within the skull. Unfortunately, such a blatant assault on the youths—who are victims of mediocre leadership served to them by conscienceless rulers—is a reflection of the views tucked within the cancerous breasts of politicians who ride on our boisterous energies to positions of power and influence.
Mr Buhari, indicative of his glaring failings and incapacitation as a civilian ruler has since assumption of office found it bewildering, nay insulting situating himself amidst the basic responsibilities that come with modern-day, representative governance which millions of Nigerian youths use as yardstick to holding him to account—as they did his equally mediocre predecessors.
Realising that such massive energies of the youth may no longer be available to be deplored to further his ruinous stay in office beyond 2019, the president wore his usual garb of ‘frankness’, calling them out as unschooled freeloaders whose existence is tied to a perpetual reliance on nature’s benevolence to feed, clothe and heal them.
Such a damning narrative confirms the widely held view of the president being a misfit whose conception of civics portends great danger to the wellbeing of the common man. His acute dumbness within his country which he does well to make up for with perennial gaffes at international fora questions his standing as the chief branding officer of the nation. His remarks in faraway Britain portrays him as a diseducated literate who although projects the demeanour of ordinariness, harbours great resentments for fellow nationals whose sole sin is their guts to lay claim to an inalienable right to share this space with him and his fellow born-to-rule characters.
For a man who has been on the payroll of the government for over five decades, it is nothing short of hypocrisy to hear him speak so lowly of others whose cries revolve around the equitable distribution of the endowments nature put beneath their soil, a fraction of which other nations have deployed to replicate the biblical paradise for themselves to the same extent Nigeria has struggled to tap those rarities—not for public good but private gains.
Upon seeing Buhari on his misspeaking adventure, Nigerians wondered what his motivations for ruling the country were beyond the free money—the same oil money he so condescendingly condemned the masses for which—he presently enjoys to feed himself and family, clothe, and treat his undisclosed ailment. The youths in Kogi query why their land harbours so much resources yet, houses the most destitute. The lass in Lagos decries the contradictions the state revels in as the most flourishing and at the same time, the most agonising place to live in. Are these exercises synonymous to dolce far niente?
Unlike President Buhari and other members of the political class who cannot survive a second outside of government’s dole out, the Nigerian youths as a collective unit at no time spurned schooling to embrace mooching. Instead, they’ve adorned scholarship and hard work to create a path of flourish for themselves to the dismay of persons like the president whose life has been magnified as a complete failure upon situating it within the tortuous strivings of the Nigerian millennial.
Buhari’s words are consequences of a confused mind. They stand as indictments to the fabled tales of rigour and truthfulness charlatans ascribe to him. Rolling in confusion, Buhari confused the clamour of nationals for fairness with freeloading, denying them their constitutional rights to healthcare and good living even as they fulfil their part as the fluid that lubricates the nation’s wheel.
Buhari had the audacity to insult us because he knows he would probably get away with it. When he said we did not go to school, he was inadvertently deriding the nation’s education system which he has intentional left for dead only to query why it produces barely educated wards. For a man who belong to the generation that met the nation as paradise only to make a hell of it, one cannot help but ask what else he wants from the young ones whose struggles for better living have been met with persisted setbacks planted before them by an elite so bent on exiting the world with the nation’s exchequer in their insatiable pockets.
The hypocrite is the most visible species on earth. This is so because each time he opens his mouth, he ejects voices that are indicative of an ungrateful soul. There are over three million Nigerians, a bulk of them youths studying across colleges, polytechnics and universities on regular, part-time and distance learning programmes. Upon tallying the cart pushers, traders, artisans, teachers, doctors, etcetera, we would arrive at a figure that renders any act of laziness often ascribed to the youths as statistically insignificant.
All of these did not deter the president from regaling in fallacious orgy to ascribe damning remarks upon us. The president is the typical enemy with a fixed mindset, the more you impress him, the more bile fills his tummy.
President Buhari’s words should once again spur the youths to engage in a reflecting exercise aimed at disentangling his person from the mythical one they fell in love with in the build-up to the 2015 elections. Such an exercise would mirror to them the reality of their president as an overrated, chameleonic element with a perverse sense of judgment who was clad in sanctimonious apparel to further the entrenchment of the same order the masses could not wait to make away with.
With Buhari, the tradition of the political elite to heap blames on the youths who are nothing but victims of oppression and exploitation is alive and kicking. Rewarding him with a second term with the hope that his stone-aged thought processes would in any way have any positive on their wellbeing is an exercise that is tantamount to what Brother Kwame Ture described as “walking down a dream street.”
President Buhari’s unfortunate statement is a pointer to the urgent need for young minds to see themselves as orphans in their fatherland. They must come to terms with the fact that in a space where they hold the majority, a barely lettered minority is being brandished as the face of the nation. Nigerians should not treat Buhari’s ill-mannerism as an isolated incident. On the contrary, they should place it within the proper framework as a bitter voice that echoes the consensus of the ruling elite, one that affords them the escape route to seeing themselves as being deserving of praise for ruining a country of 180 million sleepwalkers.
Buhari is a verbal terrorist. Each time he opens his mouth, he sends missiles up in the air to assassinate our character. His words are poisonous to the youths as his actions, sacrilegious to our collective coexistence. Already, the nation roils in utter disbelief that such a Palaeolithic relic leads in an age of borderless maps.
We’ve got to #TakeItBack.
Modiu can be reached on [email protected]