President Muhammadu Buhari speaking at the Commonwealth Business Forum Tuesday in Westminster, London, declared that a�?Nigerian youths do nothing, yet desire to have everything given to them freely by the governmenta�?. He said the youth who constitute over 60 per cent of the Nigeria has a population a�?sit and do nothing, yet get free accommodation, healthcare, and free educationa�?.
This statement has triggered plethora of reactions. We respectfully also beg to differ with our dear President. The Nigerian youths from our findings, are among the most patriotic and most-hard working young people on earth.
Although statistical indices show clearly that Nigerian youths rank among the most deprived globally (deprived mainly by the hegemonic and gerontocracy leadership), several of them have defied the concrete walls and successfully set up thriving businesses.
For instance, the euphoria being enjoyed today by the Nollywood movie series today, were pioneered by totally and completely depraved Nigerian youths, almost being frustrated by the hegemonic leaders that denied them virtually everything, except their life. Determined to shrug off the frustration, the likes of Kenneth Okonkwo, Kanayo O Kanayo, Bob-Manuel Udokwu, Francis Agu, Rita Nzelu, Nnenna Nwabueze, Ngozi Nwosu, Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, set on a voyage that delivered a�?Living in Bondagea��, and thus took the Nigerian movie industry to international stardom and kept it there.
When we consider that government policies, especially those formulated under President Muhammadu Buhari, it becomes obvious that the youths are pushed to despondency and frustration. This is in a country which long before Buhari became president, Nigerian youths such as Senator Jim Nwobodo, then governor of the old Anambra State; Alhaji Abubakar Rimi (Kano), as well as the indefatigable late Senator Chuba Okadigbo and Chief John Nnia Nwodo, who were Special Advisers to President Shehu Shagari, bestrode the political space and proved a point. We have had the youthful former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, now Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal and his deputy Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
It must be emphasized that the socio-political problems encountered in the country today cannot be labeled on the idiocy of the Nigerian youth. If anything, blames should be squarely laid on unpatriotic elderly men and women, who bestrode the nationa��s leadership saddle like Tsetsefly stridently sucking the countrya��s bone marrow through unbridled corruption and other vices. These elders who seized leadership like the Biblical Nebuchadnezzar, had for decades suppressed their children and grand-children through steady miss-governance.
Perhaps it is appropriate to remind the President that the Niger Delta agitations were not caused by the youths, but by oldies who own oil blocks and the collaborators, especially the International Oil Prospecting Companies, who have consistently refused to spare a thought on the hazardous environmental impact of their activities in the region. That the Boko Haram sect earned sobriquet as one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the Sub-Saharan Africa, was the handiwork of the elderly that emitted the nauseating fart and looked the other way, ditto for the rampaging killer herdsmen, who are being sponsored by the elderly, the owners of the cattle they tend.
Making a list of Nigerian youths who made indelible mark globally and are still moving the country forward would not be a bad idea at this moment. They include Mr. Dike Chukwumerije, writer, author, and performance poet; Philip Emmanuel Emeagwali, the computer whiz kid, who placed Nigeria on the global ICT map; Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amobi Okoye, Hakeem Olajuwon, Adebayo Ogunlesi (former President Donald Trumpa��s Adviser), Agbani Darego (first Black African to win Miss World), Arunma Oteh (current Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (literary icon) and Hakeem Kae- Kazim (Kintokinte).
The Presidency should not forget the innumerable young Nigerian musical icons like Azubuike Chibuzo Nelson (Phyno), Don Jazzy, Olamide, Davido, Anidugbe Daniel (Kiss Daniel), Reekado Banks, Augustine Miles Kelechi (Tekno), Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie (Patoranking), and others.
We also have the 31 year-old Debola Williams, media personality and co-founder of RED (owner of Red Media Africa, YNaija.com). He played a major role in the re-branding of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 general election and the election of President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana. Ogunlana Olumide and Chukwuwezam Obanor, both 24, founders of PrepClass a�� a Nigerian academic solutions provider; 27 year-old Bankole Cardoso, founder of EasyTaxi, a taxi mobile App; Olakunle Abiodun Churchill; Olatorera Oniru, 28, the founder of Dressmeoutlet.com; Abiola Olaniran (Gamsole), 27, founder and CEO of Gamsole a�� a Nigerian gaming company; Kumbi Oyelese, designer with immense talent and Ladi Delano (Bakrie Delano Africa), the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bakrie Delano Africa (BDA) a�� a $1 billion joint venture with the $15 billion (market cap) Bakrie Group of Indonesia.
Ita��s important to remember Bassey Eyo, founder of PayPorte Global Systems; Audu Maikori (Chocolate City), lawyer and founder/CEO of Chocolate City Entertainment, alongside Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori. The highest paid blogger in Nigeria, Linda Ikeji, who at 36, became a successful entertainment blogger; the 27 year-old Ola Orekunrin, medical doctor and founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria Limited, the first ever air ambulance service provider in West Africaa��s health care history; Jason Njoku, the CEO/Founder of iROKO Partners, who raised $8 million in venture capital from Tiger Global Management; Uche Eze, now Uche Pedro, of Bellanaija.com; the 41 year-old Sim Shagaya, founder and C.E.O of Konga.com, who was named in Forbesa�� list of a�?10 Most Powerful Men In Africa.a�?
Mr. President should not forget the 31 year-old Ubi Franklin of rooftop restaurant, a�?The Tilt Terracea�?; Ngozi Opara, founder of Heat Free Hair, the first manufacturer of Virgin Hair, exclusively created to blend with African American textured, kinky, and curly hair.
These Nigerian youths are neither contractors nor public institution suppliers. They are not grass cutters, neither have they diverted public fund. There are no traces of nepotism around them, neither have they exhibited sit-tight tendencies. They are young Nigerians who defied the odds placed against them by their government, to set up world-class flourishing business empires. They should not be denigrated. They need support and commendation.