Joblessness of many young Nigerians is a sign of the failure of the Buhari’s government and the capitalist system
We call on young people to begin to show their anger through mass struggle for education, jobs and a better future
The Youth Wing of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns comments made by President Muhammadu Buhari on 18th of April 2018 at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London, that "About the economy, we have a very young population. Our population is estimated conservatively to be 180 million... More than 60 percent of that population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare and education for free”.
We regard these comments as untrue and degrading. For us in the SPN, that Nigeria’s youth, who once outside of these shores become industrious and resourceful, have to “sit and do nothing” is a sign of the failure of the Buhari’s government and the capitalist system. We do recall that three years ago, the Buhari/Osinbajo government mounted the saddles of governance with a promise to end youth unemployment. President Buhari’s denigrating comment is clearly an admission of the colossal failure that the N-power project (a casual/slave labour scheme) has turned out to be just like SURE-P and other tokenist measures of past capitalist regimes.
Many have been angered by the president’s comment. We in the youth wing of the SPN share in this anger but we ask that this outrage should not be restricted to the social media. Otherwise it becomes an impotent reaction to an attempt to present young people as lazy and entitled whereas it is president Buhari and the capitalist ruling elite that is lazy, corrupt and that sits on our oil wealth for the maintenance of their fabulous lifestyle. The appropriate response is to convert this outrage into mass struggle. We need mass protests and demonstrations nationwide to show to the capitalist ruling elite that young people cannot be taken for granted but also to begin to fight for well-funded and accessible public education, decent and living wage jobs, monthly unemployment allowance and a planned economy to create at jobs.
In addition, we regard this comment as another lie in the trend of deceit and state propaganda that the Buhari APC government has built itself on. For an administration whose economic policies are characterized by hike in fuel price, increase in electricity tariff and Naira devaluation, which led to high inflation, rising unemployment, job losses, and collapse of businesses for its population, it is impossible to explain how the failure of the Buhari government to give economic security to the masses is the fault of the Nigerian young population. For an administration that increased Nigeria's debt stock by N9.122 trillion between 2015 and 2017 alone and cares less about what these debts mean for Nigeria's future, one would want to ask where the President got the moral authority to condemn the youths.
For an administration whose mass employment schemes have either failed to take off or in some cases too little to make any impact; for a government that has commercialized education out of the reach of the poor; for a government that has forced many young people to migrate to other countries for greener pastures due to numerous anti-poor policies that condemn the vast majority to poverty; it is necessary to lay the blame for all the woes of the Nigerian people at the feet of the ruling APC government and their bourgeois counterparts in the PDP, APGA, etc who have destroyed the country at different times and at different levels.
As far as we are concerned, it is the capitalist system that is the primary cause of all of the socio-economic fault lines of the Nigerian society, including the hydra-headed corruption and crimes. On a final note, the basic needs of the people like befitting housing units, free and quality healthcare and education are the tasks of any government, as it is even stipulated in the country's constitution. But the capitalist arrangement of private privileges and profits over public welfare will not allow that constitutional task to be achieved.
As an alternative, the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) campaigns for a workers and poor people’s government which is run on basis of the needs of the masses and youths and based on the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy under public democratic control and management. It is only by doing this that Nigeria can secure a stable and comfortable future for its young population.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto
National Youth Leader