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Tony Ogunlowo

The Lazy Youths Of Nigeria

the lazy youths of nigeria

By Tony Ogunlowo

President Buhari, in all his wisdom, recently described the youths of Nigeria as lazy, unproductive, expecting everything in their lives to be free without putting in any effort since they were born into an oil-rich nation.

In a sense I agree with him, but……

The Oxford dictionary describes ‘lazy’ as unwilling to work or use energy: the synonyms include idle, work-shy, loafing, slothful and many others.

If there is a will to work but no work to do, people will become lazy.

There are more than a thousand institutions of higher learning in Nigeria, in the form of universities, polytechnics and colleges, churning out thousands and thousands of graduates every year. And that’s not counting those who drop-out, only finishing secondary school and apprenticeships: not everybody has the intellectual capability to go to school to become a university or college graduate. Such people will be manual unskilled workers – drivers, traders, builders etc – for life. Are there any provisions to keep them in employment for life?

Nigeria has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world – currently standing at 62% . That is to say that 62% of the younger population are not going to work everyday – and may never ever. To make matters worse you have all these youths graduating with no jobs available for them, swelling the ranks of the unemployed every year. This has been going on for years and the number of unemployed youths is compounding.

Not only is this a sizzling time bomb waiting to off its creating a generation of people who will never work and will eventually become unemployable: skills learnt studying for four or five years in university will soon be forgotten over time.

Not everybody’s dad is rich enough to set them up with a business or has the right connections to ‘long-leg’ them into a job. As a result, with nothing to do, a vast majority will become lazy unless of course they turn their hands to crime, cultism, kidnapping, prostitution and God knows what else. Don’t forget these youths are fast growing up in a nation where you don’t have to work yourself to the bone to become mega-rich overnight. They can see politicians who have barely been in office for a year jetting around in private jets and building fantastic mansions – all with looted funds. They can see kidnappers and armed robbers living life to the full without them being arrested. To them this is fast becoming the normal way to live and progress in life – their elders are making money overnight and why shouldn’t they? Even if there are jobs to go to who wants to work for a few measly thousands of naira a month when you can do ‘business’ and hit the big time?

Growing up in a recession-prone country where the word ‘hope’ is no longer on anybody’s lips, where people can only dream of where they are going to get next week’s ‘chop-money’ from – that’s if they’ll even live till next week – can over tax anybody’s brain, not to talk of growing youngsters trying to make their way in life.

When hope fades, despondency steps in and without a doubt people will become lazy, even getting up in the morning will become an arduous task.

There’s a lot of work that needs to be done: it’s not just a question of providing jobs but a much bigger question of how you are going to change the mind-set of a generation( predominantly 15 to 35 year olds) who believe they can, all, become rich and famous, overnight, with minimum effort. They don’t know what it means to work hard for a living: not their fault since they’ve had to grow up as a lost and abandoned generation.

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  1. Metu Nyetu

    May 4, 2018 at 9:15 AM

    THE MISTAKE WE HAVE kept making ever since this unappreciative statement by PMB is to believe that he was referring to the generality of the Nigerian youths. He never was. Rather, it was the youths from the oil rich south that claimed his jaundiced focus. He would never refer to his kinsmen who herd cattle with havoc in their trails as lazy. The southern youth is the object of his scorn and resentment.

    BUT LET me go as though I believe that he meant the whole of Nigerian Youths. We are in a country where the political class has ensured the crippling of the whole system, and jets away to other countries for medication; send their children Europe and America for education in other that they come back to be superior to the mass of Nigerian youths who were not that fortunate. In a place where there are no good road networks and stable electricity to encourage that youth who determines to survive on his own, and the government keeps frustrating the efforts of those who are trying, the Nigerian youth should have no other option than to throw up their hands in resignation, and leave everything to chance and circumstances. But no! The Nigerian youths keeps struggling in defiance to all these discouraging factors. Go to Aba, Alaba, Onitsha; visit all the markets and motor parks we have across the country, and you would see even graduates who have hidden away their certificates to embrace the reality of what it means to be a Nigerian: Suffering!! WE WORK HARD! Very HARD in this country.

    IF ANY NIGERIAN SHOULD be described as lazy, they are the political class that do virtually nothing, yet their bank accounts keep swelling per minute. This is what frustrates the Nigerian youth, and pushes many into crime. But a far greater part of the Nigerian youth still manages to eschew those heavy crimes; keep their hands upright and make do with the little they could earn. And so, I say that it is a great disrespect to, and disregard for these youths that PMB should ever open his mouth full of ignorance, to say things that his slanted view only permitted him to see. This is going to take some time for the shock to calm.

    • DB

      May 5, 2018 at 5:54 PM

      You are so on point my brother

  2. Ogbe martina

    May 4, 2018 at 10:20 AM

    Well spoken my brother, well spoken

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