Aside from the genes we inherited from our parents as humans, one major factor that determines our personality and prosperity is the environment we are nurtured.
Those raised in a prosperous environment have the tendency to propagate this prosperity to generations unborn, all things being equal. Ostensibly, Nigeria was a prosperous nation with enabling environments that guaranteed peace, safety and progress immediately after our independence, notwithstanding the unwholesome political cloud in those periods. But as it stands currently, Nigeria is not faring well in terms of enabling environment indices pertinent to prosperity and progress, given the endemic corruption, palpable insecurity, absence of due process and blatant disregard for rules of law in our land
Most often, politicians promise heaven and earth during political campaigns, only to get to power to face the reality of managing people’s expectations. Nebulous promises of job creation are always the carrots political elites wave at the faces of the downtrodden masses and youth population to wriggle their way to corridors of power, without a clear pathway to match their sweer promises with corresponding actions.
With most of our higher institutions of learning across the country turning out graduates on yearly basis, combined with youths passing out from different vocations from informal sectors, job creation promises by our politicians seems appealing and salutary. But most unfortunately, the government generally has limited capacity and resources in meeting this lofty aspiration, and most often than not when such jobs are created, it is always political patronage on party lines to reward individuals and groups, with no desired widespread impact on youth empowerment and employment.
And most importantly, employment created in this regard is not often sustainable to guarantee a decent living for the beneficiaries, who are often grossly underpaid, with poor welfare packages and nebulous career development pathways.
To this end, it is instructive to counsel ‘Mr President in the waiting’ and all other elected political leaders to strive hard to turn our environment into a safe, secure and supportive ecosystem. This is the big formula for equitable and sustainable opportunity for the army of our young population that is currently disenchanted and frustrated with the Nigerian system and political elites.
Our leaders must strive to create an environment in which law and order thrive, and everybody’s rights matter. This is the time to build our nation in an environment where justice, equity and economic inclusions reign supreme. As much as possible, Mr President must appoint men with impeccable characters and track records across ethnic, religious and political divides, with the mandate of creating a new ecosystem called Nigeria with safety, security and support in mind.
Our environment must be restructured to support youth initiatives and innovations, without any bigotry, chauvinism and jingoism. Sustainable energy is critical in this regard to support private businesses, artisans and myriads of start-up businesses. Unfettered access to the internet to drive technological innovation is another area that can boost the employment potential of our army of youths, and to this end, laws and policies by our leaders must not strangulate and stiffen this critical artery of development. The need to strive to keep our higher institutions of learning open, vibrant and viable through the promotion of scholarship tailored towards nations building is also pertinent to this end. Educating the mind and engaging the time of our young population productively will make them useful to themselves and to their nation.
Finally, to keep our environment secure, our next political pilots must do justice to the menace of street boys and street girls who are fast growing into men and women. We either put a strategic plan in place to take them off our streets and out of drugs into a productive venture and humane habitation or make them ready tools for disruptive violent crimes bedevilling our land. Keeping them busy and productive will keep them far from the pervading hold of drug abuse and its devastating effects. This is the golden opportunity for us to harness the enormous talents and potential of these young minds in order to reverse the trajectory of ‘Japa Syndrome’.
Again, as Nigerians welcome ‘Mr president in waiting’ on board, I earnestly appeal to you to take the issue of environmental safety, security and support seriously to gain the trust of our disenchanted army of youths and reverse the lost confidence in our nation, Nigeria. In summary, we must make our environment work for the common good of all Nigerians in a peaceful and just manner.