ASUU strike: The hustling Nigerian youth don’t need

I have stopped viewing WhatsApp statuses and the reason isn’t farfetched. I have grown extremely tired of seeing most of the best brains I have ever met become sudden entrepreneurs, hustling and selling stuff just to survive through digital media which encompasses whatsapp statuses, facebook, etc. I find this usually amusing and odd because I know these guys deserve better. Don’t we all? But the incessant ASUU strike, unemployment, insecurity wouldn’t let an average Nigerian youth shine and attain his or her full potential. It’s saddening that a female Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) student was kidnapped at her work place few days ago, a hustle she probably wouldn’t need if her school was on session. According to trusted media reports, she took the job to keep herself busy and productive due to her academic journey being put on hold by the combination of the unyielding government of Nigeria and uncompromising nature of ASUU.

It is widely known that a huge percentage of Nigeria youth are hardworking, productive, due to the disgraceful lack of jobs and a high unemployment rate of over 33 per cent in the country, most of our best brains are either leaving the country in search of greener pastures abroad, and those of us who couldn’t afford to leave are selling data, airtime, clothing accessories, cakes, etc, online in order to earn a living. I personally know a first class graduate who sells clothing accessories, boxers, pants and so on. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not bad to sell any of these things, but had Nigeria been smarter with some of its best brains, my friend would have been in some fancy industries working her magic and making the country better in her own way. She knows this and I do too, but in the words of Falz, the popular Nigerian musician, “This is Nigeria, look how we living now”.

There are countless graduates out there that have turned their social media accounts into marketplaces for varieties of stuff just to survive the harsh realities of the country: astronomical increase in the price of foodstuffs, gas, water, electricity, clothing accessories, coupled with the disgraceful fall of naira and its diminishing purchasing power, yet there are millions graduates roaming the streets around with no jobs and money. How does the government want these kind of people to survive? I strongly commend the efforts of Nigeria’s sudden and overnight entrepreneurs for their hustling and entrepreneurial spirit, even though as a Nigerian youth, I presently don’t have any entrepreneurial vibes in me. Maybe I’m not just cut that way: some of us want to be in an office space with our crisp white shirt, sleek ties and sparkling black shoes to deliberate and provide practicable solutions to the country’s woes and bring reliefs to the citizens. After all, “No be all of us go be entrepreneurs” but I seriously commend those that are trying because I know it’s not easy out there.

Every day provides an opportunity to be harassed by the unrefined Nigerian police, kidnapping is now a lucrative business for bandits in the country and most of the victims are the youth who are jobless and if by luck you get a job, you are paid inconsequential money at the end of the month that can’t even sustain you to the next pay. On top of that, you get harassed and intimidated by the police. How bad can it get for us the youth? My admiration goes to all Nigerian youth that are trying hard to earn a living legitimately, the resourcefulness to be inventing and selling one thing or the other for survival in a country that has been rigged against you is commendable. This is what brings me to this observation cum question. Not all of us will become entrepreneurs and those that temporarily did, like my friend who is a first class graduate at the University of Ilorin’s Department of Library and Information science, aren’t they better off somewhere else? Of course they are. Recently, she got a scholarship for her masters program at a renowned university in Germany, and she’ll likely settle down there with her family while using her expertise to solve contemporary problems for the German society. That is another sorry case of brain drain our dear Nigeria is presently experiencing due to bad governance.

According to a Bloomberg report in 2021, Nigeria‘s unemployment rate has risen to 33 per cent, the second highest on the global list. The consequences of that is more than half of our labour force are either unemployed or underemployed, coupled with the incessant high prices of foodstuffs, hike in fuel prices, insecurity, extra judicial killings, extortion of the youth by law enforcement officers and many other social ills bedeviling the country that I’m not interested to write about for the sake of my sanity. Despite all these gloomy clouds, Nigerian youth are creating sustainable paths for themselves in tech, digital media, data science, arts and visual designs, entertainment, sport etc, Few days ago, Asisat Oshoala, a Nigerian football player, was recently crowned the best female footballer in Africa for a record fifth time. She is a Nigeria youth making her country proud: the same accolades goes to Tobi Amusan, the newest 100m hurdles world record holder. What would many not have become if we actually had a country that works for all, a country where the system is in your favor and not against you? Well, we wouldn’t give up on our dreams and hopefully things become better for Nigerian youth.

We don’t want to hustle for the whole of our lives while we also fight the rigged system, bad governance and ASUU strike.

  • Olamilekan writes in from Ogbomoso, Oyo State.

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