Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a U.S. poet, once said, “Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time. Let us, then, be up and doing, with a heart for any fate; still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labour and to wait.” Truly we have laboured and wondered helplessly without success, all because the present day Nigeria has rebranded itself and set on edge the Nigerian youths. This alienation is well captured in the speech of the American President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy when he declared thus “We stand today on the edge of a new frontier.”
The situation of the Nigerian youths grows worse on daily basis, especially on unemployment and like its twin evil in the country- Corruption. The youths are seen as well read, trained and educated, but not qualified and unsuitable to hold any vital administrative and political appointment in the country. The stress very time there is vacancy is “not less than 15 years cognitive experience
Is it not the national habit of denying the unemployed Nigerian youths opportunities of getting jobs that they are over qualified, to find such criteria as:
•Candidates must have a good Bachelor’s (and at least of 2nd Class Upper), Master’s or Doctorate degree; preferably in Arts, Social Science, Humanities, etc., plus 9, 10, 12, 16, 20 years post qualification cognate (field or working) experience in so, so, and so field, office, company, school, institution, etc.
•The candidate must have served as (so, so, so and so) for at least 4 years in a reputable (office, company, school, etc).
•Candidates should have entrepreneurial drive and sufficient administrative experience.
•Must be registered with a relevant professional body.
•Must not have attained 35 years by (2 months ahead of advertisement month),
•Must have published at least three (3) conference/seminar papers, two (2) journal articles, etc.
How can a youth who finished university education and has roomed the streets in search of inexistent jobs, have 16 years cognate (field or working) experience and has not till then attained 35 years or serve in a reputable office, company, institution, etc., for at least 4 years, and decide to live the job?
The stress in age and working experience disqualifies virtually 90% of the youths, even in the appointive and elective political arenas. Our parents and elders always tell us of the good old days of job surplus and valuing of youths in administrations, which has entered the realm of ferry tales in the country. The old good day for me, ended immediately after the 1999-2003 political administration in Nigeria. Then, the old good days reached its menopause and thus ceased to be reproductive on youths regard.
•Matthew Tawo Mbu of Cross River State was just 23 years when he was elected as Member representing Ogoja in the Eastern House of Assembly and House of Representative in 1952, and was 24 years when he was appointedFederal Minister of Labour in1953, 25 years when he was the Ag. Minister of Transport in 1954 and Ag. Minister of Commence and Industry, 26 years when he was the Ag. Minister of Works in 1955, 26 years when he was the First High Commissioner for Nigeria in UK in 1955, 31 years when he was the Minister of State (Naval Affairs) in the Prime Minister’s Office in 1960, 32 years when he was the Minister of Defence (Navy) in 1961, 37 years when he was the Minister of Transport and Aviation in 1966.
As a youth even in his prime age, Matthew Mbu did absolutely marvellous and did not disappointment the nation. If it where today, who would dream giving him such high-class diplomatic positions in the country? Have our elders and the nation not abandoned the youths, and thus have the nation constantly plunged into socio-economic and politic crisis?
Muhammad Adamu Aliero of Kebbi State, graduated in 1980 at the age of 24 and entered the Nigeria Customs same year. How many fresh graduates could be allowed such today in Nigeria and without going for the youths service corps? He was 41 years in 1998 and became Senator under the platform of the defunct UNCP, which was annulled and 42 years in 1999 when he won election as Governor. Can a youth of his age be allowed such elective political position-mandate in Kebbi State of today?
*Chief Bola Richard Akinjide was 25 years when he became minister of education under the Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa in 1960, is this dream not utter lunacy for the Nigerian youth of this epoch? Which youth of 25 years can be given ordinary Commissioner in his/her State today?
•Senator Tamunoemi Sokari David-West was 28 years when he had his PhD and 39 years when he became Professor of virology, is this possible in today’s Nigerian varsities and with the unceasing academic staff union strikes?
•Tunde Idiagon was 30 years when he was appointed Military Administrator of Borno State in 1978, can this happen in the Nigerian military or would the youth not be told that “grumbling is allowed”, “wait for your turn,” etc.
•Philip Asiodu was just 30years when he became the Federal Permanent Secretary of Civil Service in 1964. Can this happen in the Nigerian civil service today, where he has not grown teeth to have political godfathers and have 30 years cognate working field experience?
•James Ajibola Idowu Ige (SAN) was 31 when he stirred the centre of the Action Group crisis in 1963-1966, pitting Chief Obafemi Awolowo against his deputy, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola and 35 years when he was a Commissioner for Agriculture in the defunct Western Region of Nigeria in 1967.
•Which political party since after 2003 apart from State and National Youth Leadership positions of political parties has ever allowed a youth to be in the innermost caucus and BoT of the party today?
•General Yakubu Gowon was 32 years old when he became the Nigerian head of State in 1967. Even though we have declared as national abomination, Junta rules, but can a youth of his age today attain rank of a Lt Col in the Nigerian Army or be allowed to command even a platoon?
•Architect Ibrahim Bunu of Borno State, was only 32 years when he was appointed Minister of State, Housing and Environment In 1982. Which democratic administration in Nigeria today can dream this, and not be crucified by critics in the nation that there are millions of better qualified and suited experienced bureaucrats and diplomats that would do magic in the position and thus transform Nigeria in to Paradise with their gossamer wings of dragonfly?
•Alhaji Isa Ibrahim Bio of Kwara State was 33yrs when he became Kwara State commissioner for Health (1990-1992) and 42 yrs as House of Rep member in 1999. In all the post-2003 political parties’ primaries in the multi-parties in Nigeria, which political party has given ticket of House of Rep to a youth of his age?
•Pro Jubril Aminu was 33 years when he had his PhD in medicine in 1972 and 36 years when he became the national secretary of NUC in 1975, 40 yrs when he became Prof of Medicine in 1979 and 41years when he was the Vice Chancellor of the University Maiduguri in 1980. Which University in Nigeria today, will allow a toddler of his age and cognate working experience to be the Vice Chancellor?
•Chief Martin Agbaso of Imo State was 33 years when he won the NRC senatorial primaries of Owerri zone in 1992 and 39yrs as Senator under DPN in 1998. Can the zone today allow a youth of such age, even ordinary ticket for delegate elections into such elective position or being the senatorial candidate of a party?
•Shagari was 35 years when he held the position of minister of Economic Development in 1960, and 37 years when he was the minister of Internal Affairs in 1962 and 40 years when he was the minister of Works and Survey in 1965. Can this ever happen again in the country where technocrats and high-class bureaucrats have assumed agelessness and perpetual efficiency in leadership than the youths?
•Baba Gana Kingibe was 36 when he was appointed Nigerian ambassador to Greece in 1981. If it were today, has Kingibe obtained the necessary 25 years cognate field experience in diplomatic administration before having this position? Is economic and political condition of Nigeria today under advanced technocrats and diplomats with 30 years working experience better than the Nigeria of 1981 when Baba Gana Kingibe was ambassador?
•Alhaji Umaru Abdul Mutallab of Kastina State was 36 years when he became minister of Economic Development under the military government of Murtala Mohammed.
•Frank Nweke Jr. was 36 years when he was appointed the Chief of Staff to the Enugu State Government and 38 years when he became the Minister of Youth, and Minister of Information in 2003.
•Ibrahim Saminu Turaki of Jigawa was 36yrs when he became Gov in 1999. Can this ever in the State today, even if he has godfathers?
•Hon Damishi Tonson Sango of Plateau State was 37yrs when he won election as LGA chairman in 1987. Today and after the 1999-2003 political dispensation, how many Nigerian youths of his age have been given party tickets to contest for such positions?
•Mallam Adamu Bello of Adamawa State was 37 years when he became the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Habib Bank in 1988. Which bank today would allow for such, has he acquired the necessary number of years for cognate and working experience?
•Prof Jerry Gana was only 38 years when he became senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1983 and just 40 years when he became a Professor in 1985. Toady, who can give a youth of his age such delicate leadership position and how many youths in the academic domain can attain such without the carry climb being ruined by internal politics of the institution? The Nigerian senate today is it better of than it was then in 1983?
•Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo of Kwara state was 38 yrs when he was elected a senator in1979 and 42yrs when he was elected Gov of Kwara in 1983. Can this be possible in today’s Kwara State?
•Chief Orji Uzor Kalu was 39 years when he became governor of Abia State. Can this ever happen in the State again today?
•General Buba Marwa was 39 when he was appointed governor of Borno State in 1992, and held the today riotous Borno State in good order.
•Raymond Amanze Njoku of Abia State was 39 yrs when he was appointed cabinet minister: Commerce & Industry, Transport & Aviation in 1954. Today, can this ever happen? Certainly no, and thus belongs to one of those good old days that our parents tell us of and refuse that we have and account for ours to those following us.
•Jaja Anucha Wachuku of Abia State was 41 yrs when he became the 1stSpeaker of the National House of Assembly in 1959. Today, which party would even give its senatorial ticket to a youth of his age not to talk of making his the Speaker of the House of Reps?
•Adamu Ciroma of Yobe State was 41 when he became the CBN Governor in 1975 and Mallam Aliyu Mai-Bornu was just 44yrs when he became the Gov of CBN in 1963. Can youths of his age today have the cognate working experience to be employed in to such vital position in Nigeria?
•Dr Goodluck Jonathan was 43 years when he was elected the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State in 1999. Today, can any political party in Bayelsa State give a youth of his age such gubernatorial mandate?
•Chief Obafemi Awolowo was 45 years old when he was the Premier of Western Nigeria. And Prince Akweke Nwafor Orizu was 45 years when he became the 2nd Nigerian Senate President in 1960. Can these ever happen again in Nigeria?
•Senator Arthur Nzeribe was 45 years in 1983 when he won the Orlu Senatorial seat. Who in this zone or any other in Imo State would allow a toddler of such age bear the senatorial ticket and flag of any party?
•Adamu Ciroma was 45 years when he became Minister under Shagari in 1979. And Attorney Mukhtar Shagari, was 45 years when he was appointed Nigerian Minister of Water Resources in a June 2001. Can these ever happen again?
•Ufot Ekaette was 47 years when he was appointed Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industries in January 1986. Today, and at his age, has he dreamed of being ordinary HOD in such office as those there swear unending affidavit of agelessness and being born anew?
Let us thus think, reorient and vouch for the future of the Nigerian youths, without whom there would be no Nigeria in the future!