#Emmlaw On Buhari’s call for the President’s Resignation by Reno Omokri

Reno Omokri is Special Assistant to President Jonathan on New Media. 

Reading the interview Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) gave to Daily Trust which was published on Wednesday the 22nd of May 2013, I am compelled to raise historical issues that put the former military Head of State’s words in perspective. 
Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) blamed President Jonathan for the insurgency occasioned by the militant sect, Jamā’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jihād, commonly referred to as Boko Haram and asked President Jonathan to resign saying “Jonathan should vacate and give way to competent hand to govern the country”.
Buhari further said “When the Niger Delta militants started their activities in the South-South, they were invited by the late President Umaru Yar’adua.
An aircraft was sent to them and their leaders met with the late President in Aso Rock and discussed issues. They were given money and a training scheme was introduced for their members. But when the Boko Haram emerged in the north members of the sect were killed”.
Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) may wish to note that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan never supported militancy and criminality in the Niger-Delta at any time in his political career. Furthermore, the administration of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua used a combination of carrot and stick to end the militancy in the Niger-Delta.
Stick was used in the form of heavy military intervention by way of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) which routed the militants by way of ground attacks and aerial assault with the use of Nigerian Air Force Jets and helicopters.  After this initial pacification, the carrot was introduced whereby the administration offered an olive branch for those wishing to embrace dialogue. Those who accepted the offer to dialogue came out of the creeks and dialogue took place leading to the conditional amnesty (militants were made to surrender their weapons and renounce violence before they could benefit from the amnesty).
Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) may or may not be aware that these same steps were taken by the current administration with regards to the insurgency occasioned by Jamā’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jihād or Boko Haram. 
This administration in fulfillment of its constitutional responsibility to maintain law and order and enforce the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowered Nigeria’s security forces to check the insurgency. As a democrat and listening leader, President Jonathan’s ears were opened to the cries of the people in the affected areas and after meeting with different informed groups agreed to employ the dialogue option and called for the leaders of the Jamā’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jihād or Boko Haram to show themselves. 
In furtherance of his desire to peacefully resolve the insurgency, President Jonathan inaugurated the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North on Wednesday the 24th of April 2013 at the Presidential Villa Abuja under the leadership of a cabinet minister, Tanimu Turaki, Minister of Special Duties. 
A week after the President’s initiative, Jamā’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jihād or Boko Haram rejected the amnesty proposal yet the President kept faith with the Committee and met with them as recently as a week ago and in furtherance of that meeting he issued orders for the release of certain classes of detainees held in connection with the insurgency.
With the detailed historical TimeLines provided above, it is my considered opinion that Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s (rtd) statement castigating President Goodluck Jonathan for not treating the Jamā’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jihād or Boko Haram as others were treated are not factual and are borne out of insufficient study of historical facts. 
Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) also accused the President of using undue force on the Jamā’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jihād or Boko Haram saying “In Bama and Baga towns, military personnel were reported to have been engaged in extortion and sometimes raping of women. And because a soldier was killed in Baga the whole town was sacked by military. This is not the best way military should have acted when they were sent to restore law and order in a town. How can a responsible government allow its people to be killed in this way”.
Let me say that I appreciate Buhari’s concern for the victims of the Boko Haram attacks on Bama and Baga. However, Buhari should be reminded that the President ordered an investigation into the incidence at Bama. The investigations are being carried out by qualified persons and Buhari ought to wait for the results of those investigations before apportioning blame. Members of the Nigerian armed forces are sacrificially laying their lives down to protect Nigerians and they deserve more loyalty from us all, particularly from one who was once their Commander-in-Chief.
But going back to history,  Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) is reminded that this is not the first time that terrorists have unleashed mayhem on Nigerians. 
Buhari is reminded that in February and March of 1984, the Maitatsine sect unleashed violence in Yola under the leadership of Musa Makaniki. A conservative estimate is that 1000 people died during those riots and half of the residence of Yola in present day Adamawa state were rendered homeless. The military was unleashed on the sect by the military administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari. Similar charges as the ones made today by Buhari were made against the soldiers sent by his government to quell the Maitatsine riots of 1984. They were accused of undue force, destruction of property, raping women and killing civilians. Many human rights groups and activists including J. Peter Pham, the Director of the Michael Ansari Center at the prestigious Atlantic Council  whom I have personally met and who is alive today have documented what took place during those riots. In putting down the Maitatsine insurgency, the military incurred collateral damages. Yet Nigerians understood with Buhari. Did anyone call for his resignation as military Head of State because of the incidence?
Also, it is a historical fact that Maitatsine riots again flared up more than a year after this in April of 1985, while Buhari was still Head of State, this time in Gombe in present day Gombe state. Hundreds of people were killed and the military again was called in. There were collateral damage and Musa Makaniki, the arrowhead of Maitatsine escaped to the Cameroon and was not caught until 2004 when Obasanjo had ascended to power. To the best of my knowledge, nobody called on Buhari to resign even though he could not apprehend the leader of the sect.
Is it too much to ask that Buhari show the same level of understanding that Nigerians showed to him in 1984-1985 to the President?
Some issues should be beyond politics. Anytime an elder statesman calls into question the abilities of our armed forces it goes a long way to weakening their morale and resolve which is precisely what should not be weakened when we face an insurgency such as the present one.
Finally, I would like to advise Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) not to see security as just a job for the government. It is a job for everybody. In other nations when terrorists strike politicians close ranks and unite against the terrorists. Our case in Nigeria should not be different. And indeed, I have cause to thank Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the House of Representatives from Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s (rtd) party the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) who saw wisdom in the President’s Declaration of a State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and voted in support of the declaration yesterday. This is precisely the type of multi partisan collaboration that will see Nigeria achieve her developmental goals.  

#Emmlaw Let The Light In, Leave The Dark Out – Nubi

I saw this online & i loved & blogged it. Here is the Link


Just stumbled upon this photograph and it gave me this meaning:

“In any relationship, someone tries to bring things to light and wants openness, while the other would rather stay in the dark, just to stay away from any form of vulnerability that external factors may bring. In any ways, a good measure of both is needed to have a functioning relationship – be open to each other but don’t give a sh*t about what others think or say.”

In other words, shine the light on yourselves and keep others in the dark.


#Emmlaw As the New Year Dawns – A New Year’s Perfect Prayer for 2013

God as this new year dawns,

May we take time to see the newness you are giving birth to.

May we not be blinded by the darkness that consumes our world.

Or consumed by the fear that paralyzes our actions.

May we remember,

That out of winter’s darkness you bring forth light,

That out of winter’s death you give birth to new life.

May we remember,

That which has been dormant will spring to life,

That which has been pruned will sprout new strength.

May we remember,

You are the light by which we see,

You are the fountain that gives us life.

God as this new year emerges,

May we give birth to that which honour you,

May we bring to life that which allows your goodness to shine,

May we give fresh expression to your eternal world,

And in the depths of our hearts may we cry,

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.



#Emmlaw Dele Momodu: My condolence, Mr. Presisent – A Must Read

Sir, when such occurrences happen, with the current rapidity, I believe it is time to look inwards. We must take a comprehensive glimpse at our home and check where the roof is leaking, because these are no normal times. Your Excellency, when I wrote my last letter to you about three weeks ago, little did I realise I was going to write another so soon.* But events of the past two weeks have happened so rapidly, and in such dramatic fashion, that it left me with no choice than to come back to you, anon, Sir. I believe the first thing to do is to once again commiserate with you on the death of fellow Nigerians in that fatal helicopter crash. It is always sad, sombre and sobering when we witness such tragedy of monumental proportions in our clime. The loss of any soul, no matter the religious persuasion or ethnic background is always an occasion for* collective mourning and abstemious reflections. On a personal note, I was absolutely shattered even if I did not have a close relationship with any of the unfortunate victims. I was a great fan of Lt. General Owoye Azazi, in particular, after the brilliant speech he gave at his controversial outing in Delta State, where he lampooned and lambasted Nigeria’s reckless ruling party as being responsible for the spate of violent crimes in the country. Since then and until he paid the ultimate price and became a reluctant statistic of the failings of our nation, life had never been a bed of roses for him.** He instantly became a pariah and was treated like a recalcitrant baby in the family. One did not have to be a soothsayer to know he had touched the tiger by the tail and it is not in the nature of such beasts to condone and forgive acts of impudence. It was only a matter of time before he was eventually booted out of the corridor of power even if, as now seems apparent, he remained in the periphery somewhere. It is tragic how the end came so suddenly and quickly. I never met Patrick Yakowa, the late Governor of Kaduna State.* His rise to power and influence was beginning to mirror your own.* Indeed he had become Governor of Kaduna State as a benevolent beneficiary of the good fortune for which you have become widely acclaimed because you chose his boss, Namadi Sambo, then Governor of Kaduna State as your Vice-President.* His miraculous ascent to power was therefore similar to yours. He was Commissioner, Deputy Governor and then, Governor; without personally contesting election.* Indeed some were also beginning to tout him as a potential Presidential candidate, a possible bridge being a Northern Christian.* As they say, man proposes but God disposes.* Glowing tributes have been paid to his memory and I assume he was deserving of them all. However, it is usual at times like this for Nigerians, particularly our leaders to forget the aides and pilots who died with them.* It is my hope that you will give pride of place in your grief to Dauda Tsoho, Commander Muritala Mohammed Daba, Lt. Adeyemi Sowole and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal.* In particular, the latter three officers should attract commendation and glowing tributes from you for they are the ones who truly died in the service of their nation.* They were sad victims of a terrible system that made it possible for big men to use and abuse government facilities and personnel for non-official duties and totally private engagements. I hope that you will find the time to pay condolence visits to the families of those four gentlemen and encourage your darling wife and members of your Government to do the same as they have no doubt done with respect to the two more distinguished gentlemen who lost their lives.* These officers and aides are not lesser mortals merely because they did not attain the higher offices of those compatriots that died with them. They must be treated as fallen heroes in obeying the last order. I know how deeply these untimely deaths must have hit you on a day one of your closest aides, my dear friend and brother, Oronto Douglas, was burying his dad, and barely a week after you buried your own dear beloved brother in the same Bayelsa State. This strange and calamitous string of tragedies is highly regrettable. However, you may feel, Sir, they portend ominous signs of darker days ahead and it is time for you to think of even commencing fasting and prayers. You may need to solicit the spiritual intervention of a syncretic combination of Pastors, Imams and Marabouts from far and near, and I’m not joking. Even as I write this, there are nationwide reports of unprecedented disasters, fires burning here and there, sporadic explosions, road accidents and air disasters involving senior government officials, medical complications with Ministers and Governors disappearing and reappearing. Only recently, we were on our bended knees praying for the safe return of your dear wife, our beloved First Lady and Mother of the nation, from a rumoured treatment in Germany. No one has deemed it fit to tell us the true story! Sir, when such occurrences happen, with the current rapidity, I believe it is time to look inwards. We must take a comprehensive glimpse at our home and check where the roof is leaking, because these are no normal times. They are spiritual warnings that,* perhaps, if we had done the right things at the right times, we could have avoided some of these ugly catastrophes. If you ever read my articles in the last few years, you would have recognised my constant distress and disappointment at the total collapse of our ethics and our infrastructure. I had lamented regularly, like the Biblical Jeremiah, about the road from Port Harcourt to Yenagoa. I had wondered why that important road has remained unrepaired, even if only to make merely motorable, despite your influence and humongous power. You are the only Nigerian I know who has been permanently in power since 1998, or thereabout, as board member, Deputy Governor, Governor, Acting Governor, Governor, Vice President, Acting President and President.* One would have expected that given your unique occupation of these offices, the road to Yenagoa would have transfigured into a super highway, befitting an oil-rich community. Alas neither the road nor indeed the State remotely qualifies for any kind of superlative description.* Your state remains one of the most squalid in the whole of Nigeria. It remains as terrible as it was before their son attained the highest level of power. I dare say it is not something you can be proud of. For the amount of money being pumped into the Niger Delta project, the land should be paved with gold by now. The United Arab Emirates is a veritable example of what responsible, visionary and determined leadership can do and achieve with prudent management of resources. The amount you spent on your presidential campaign last year was about what it took Dubai to build The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. If it has been impossible for you to resolve, or fix that disgraceful Port Harcourt- Yenogoa road, indeed, I wonder who would do it and by what magic or miracle. This should have been your priority since charity begins from home. Sir, I insist, you cannot say Nigeria has not had the money and requisite resources to build a modern nation we all can be proud of. The problem I can see is the lack of will on your part to challenge fate and change how government business is run in Abuja and Nigeria in general. The politics of patronage we practise here has been our albatross. The resources we should deploy for our common good are often shared by a few aides and acolytes. There is no reason we can’t work on our infrastructural decay. We’ve lost too many lives to our criminal carelessness. The solution is not as difficult as we make it look in Nigeria. We have too much money from all available and symptomatic evidence. No poor nation would ever spend money the way we do. We are wasting resources that would have turned many African nations into paradise. One way to save some money is to reduce the Presidential fleet and global travels. The other is to arrest our irrational awards of over-inflated contracts. We can know the true cost and worth of projects by simply checking online. Nothing is secret these days. What’s worse and sickening is the fact that we are even borrowing money to fund frivolous, substandard, obsolete and abandoned projects. None of our current roads would meet international standards for approval. Why can’t we just tighten our belts and do what reasonable people do, reduce the excesses that have wasted many generations and more to come? The roads from our airports tell the stories of who we are. We have spent years and good money trying to expand the road between Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport and the gate of Abuja city. Our shame as a nation is further confirmed and compounded by our flagship Murtala Mohammed International Airport that has been in permanent state of disrepair and rehabilitation. Despite the billions of Naira being made and spent on it, the place presents a foretaste of hell on earth. Once upon a time, we had trains that criss-crossed our cities and made it easy to move people and goods in different directions. Why has our rail system collapsed and all we can do is to make an open mockery of our country by running on prehistoric engines?* We continuously hear that things will soon get back on track, but when? How come we’ve stopped developing our villages and only visit for funerals and similar dire tragedies like consoling victims of natural disasters and man-made calamities such as deaths from pipeline infernos?* Why is it that there are no longer weddings and similar celebrations in our villages which attract the cream of society? Why can’t we see that mass unemployment is always an impetus for misbehaviour and mass disenfranchisement?* Why can’t we see that corruption begets societal rot and abuse of office always ends in tears? There are several things you can do to imbue confidence in the system. You will do this by shaking off the lethargy for which you are now becoming notorious, reshape your cabinet, abandon the frill, thrills and paraphernalia of office which only serve as a distraction to you and members of your government and roll up your sleeves. Shutting down cities and villages during your visits is never a good way to endear yourself to the people. The fear of terrorism and terrorists is no excuse to further disturb those struggling to eke a living in a particularly difficult terrain. Your security must be retrained in how to give maximum cover with minimum disruption to lives and properties. You will lead by example starting from your household. You should tell Madam that she has to reduce her retinue of hangers-on and refrain from inconveniencing the citizens when she travels through our roads.* Of course this message will be easier to pass on to everyone in your Government if you do the same.* You are not any safer simply because of the number of sycophants and battalions of security who accompany you.* Deploying the military might and arsenal at your disposal does not translate to safety from avenging recruits.* Your best forms of security, as I have always said, are your people.* When they love you, nobody can touch you.* When they tire of you no army can save you.* Those singing your praises now will be the first to jump ship.* That is the Nigerian way. Next you must fight the cankerworm of corruption and you can only do this if you do not mind whose ox is gored.* There must be no sacred cows.* Again your leadership must be by example.* Do not hide behind any constitutional loophole and refuse to publicly declare your asset. Be true to yourself, your nation and more importantly your God by revealing your true worth. Ask for the nation’s forgiveness and return anything which is more than you could reasonable have acquired whilst in Government.* Your people are a forgiving people if they discern genuine remorse and sense the sincerity of purpose that you would have shown.* You will be amazed by the rush to follow suit from members of your government and public servants.* They will know that times have changed and the old order has collapsed.* Your people will ardently support you as you really pursue your transformation agenda.* You will surely have truly metamorphosed into the God anointed leader that the manner you have been thrust into the leadership of our great country suggests. I continue to pray for you and our dear Country.* God bless us all.* God bless Nigeria.

By Dele Momodu

The trouble with Chinua Achebe


IF there is nothing to say, there are some people who would say, one should shut up. But, for writers, when there is nothing to say, is when they are at their best in saying nothing new.

A harvest of the reviews and responses to Chinua Achebe’s There was a country across the globe makes more interesting reading than the book itself. The responses can be divided into three categories.

There are those from writers of Igbo origin, Achebe’s nationality, which cannot even pretend to be anything but praise singers of their idol.

There are those from writers of Yoruba origin, the nationality of Achebe’s bête noir, Obafemi Awolowo. Achebe blames all the woes of the Igbo in Nigeria on Obafemi Awolowo. The third group of responses comes from outsiders simply interested in the health of Achebe’s writing.

Achebe’s book makes the point that Awolowo prevented Nnamdi Azikiwe from becoming the Premier of the Western Region in 1951 by encouraging some members of Azikiwe’s party to cross over to Awolowo’s party.

My very personal response to this piece of misreading of history is that it was a good thing, in fact a great thing, that Azikiwe did not become the Premier of Western Region.

This is mainly because Azikiwe could never have done for the Western Region what Awolowo did for the region.

The second point that Achebe makes is that Awolowo organised the genocide of the Igbo people by insisting that hunger was a legitimate weapon of war.

As the Ndigbo in Lagos, Achebe’s own people have pointed out in their response to the controversy that their kins man’s book has generated, Awolowo explained things back in 1983 and his explanation should have closed the issue but not for Achebe.

The Yoruba responses have been simply to point out, as Ndigbo in Lagos have pointed out, that Awolowo had responded to this particular accusation and others years ago and Achebe is simply flogging a dead horse.

A reviewer in the South
African Mail and Guardian wondered if it was right for an elder to not represent the truth as it is. He praises Achebe’s pioneering novel, Things Fall Apart. Everybody does. But why would he want to publish this now, especially when most of the material is already available in his other publications?

It is possible to say that just as many of the essays of Achebe have been published in different collections with different titles, perhaps his other writings are to be repackaged in different collections under different titles.

The review that appears in the London Financial Times, written by William Wallis, FT’s Africa editor, is, for me, one of the most interesting. It is worth quoting at length from this review.

Here goes: “Achebe’s prognosis for his country is grim. ‘Corruption in Nigeria has passed the alarming and entered the fatal stage, and Nigeria will die if we continue to pretend that she is only slightly indisposed,’ he writes. Before arriving at that bleak conclusion, however, he stitches his story together joltingly, moving from the autobiographical to the historical and ending with something of a rant.

There is an eclectic range of insights and fascinating anecdotes buried here and there, but this is not a book that will add much to the understanding of the war, nor one that will go down among Achebe’s great works.”

Personally, two things bother me about this book. The first is its timing. The second has to do with the issue of mediocrity.

Why is Achebe publishing this book now, after the death of Ojukwu the leader and president of Biafra? Ojukwu is not the hero of the book as one would have expected. After all, he was the driving force and the face of Biafra. Ojukwu himself wrote nothing during his life time to state the rationale for his declaration of Biafra.

Achebe does not provide any intellectual arguments that placed Biafra over Nigeria in terms of superiority of intention, compactness of development alternative agenda and clarity of national vision for the people of Biafra, of Nigeria and of Africa. For me this is the great failure of this book.

There was a country, but other than the temporary anger about the killings in the North, there was no justification for declaring a state of Biafra that had nothing over the Nigeria that Achebe left behind to work for Biafra.

Mediocrity is one of the problems which Achebe identifies as bedevilling Nigeria. Was Biafra devoid of mediocrity? One of the sins of Nigerian intellectuals, including Achebe, is their readiness to tolerate mediocrity in the politics of their country, be the country Nigeria or Biafra.

What superior argument did Chinua Achebe provide to justify or to counter the secession of Biafra? We live with the consequences of mediocrity today and nobody wants to know!

– Vanguard

The attractions for Ghanaian universities

The Chairman, Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Dr Wale Babalakin recently disclosed that no fewer than 75,000 Nigerian students are currently studying in three Ghanaian universities incurring a total of N160billion expenditure annually.


In this report, The Nation Online reports on why Nigerian students are trooping to Ghana for university education.


With the large number of qualified students who are unable to get university admission in Nigeria, Ghanaian universities and others in neighbouring West African region have become major attractions. According to a Nigerian student studying in a Ghanaian university, “it not that Nigerians prefer Ghanaian universities… it’s just that to gain admission into Ghanaian universities is relatively easier than our universities in Nigeria. Trying to get admission in Nigeria is like gambling which is not the case in Ghana. If you are qualified and you can pay for it you will get admission”.

In acknowledgement of the increasing number of Nigerians seeking admission in Ghana, President Goodluck Jonathan during a visit to the country said “despite the number of federal, states’ and private universities in Nigeria, yet we do not have enough. So if Ghana can provide solid education for our people and other African countries they should do it.”


Regular disruption of academic calendar due to frequent strikes by both academic and non-academic staff of Nigerian Universities has necessitated students spending more years than expected for various courses. In Ghana, it is reported that there is hardly cases of strikes in Universities making it possible for students to graduate on schedule. The academic session is said to be stable and predictable.


Despite having more universities with acclaimed academicians and professionals home and in abroad, the Ghanaian educational system is still perceived to be better than that of Nigeria globally. The rising image of Ghana as a stable democracy has obviously rubbed off on the rating of its educational institutions whose certificates are said to be well respected in globally. For some Nigeria, studying in Ghana is like studying abroad and getting an international certificate which can enhance their chances in for post graduate studies and job search.

Nigerian students interviewed were divided on the question of the standard offered by Ghanaian universities compared with that of Nigeria. Some said the standard is the same while others noted the Ghanaian lecturers are more thorough in their teaching and the curriculum is more diverse.


Except for a few top range private universities in Nigeria, it is comparatively more expensive to study in Ghana. The average tuition fee for private universities in Ghana attended by majority of the Nigerian students in the country is put at about $2500, while international students pay much higher in public universities. Many parents are ready to pay the high cost as long as their children can get the admission and quality education.

I hope the Government and we Citizens help to improve the education sector in Nigeria

Youths and employment in the present downturn

The disaster we have today with youths and unemployment is that there are so many youths who can do nothing apart from writing a CV, that is even if they are the ones that wrote the CV they are carrying about. This simply means that if they do not get a job in the next three (3) years the only thing some people will still be able to do is just to write a CV!Image

The present economic dispensation will give us the impression that there is no job but in the middle of this some people will be getting serious offers of employment. The only difference will be that some people who think they have skills will be looking for jobs while those with proven skills will have companies running after them!

A member of the house committee on youths in the House of Representatives during an orientation exercise of the National Youth Service Corp in Sokoto state said there are about 150,000 thousand youths deployed annually to serve in different parts of the country. The next thing that struck me was that all of these youths would have to be gainfully employed immediately after their youth service but the problem is that not all of these people seem to know where to go to get the ideal job. Some of them have just been told there is no job and some others just feel you must be connected to get a job.

Youths have to be gainfully employed to be productive but the way to be gainfully employed is to take our minds away from the job mentality. Once people have the job mentality they will always see themselves as people who must be given jobs and people who must be spoon fed all the time. When they eventually get this job they will begin to look forward to being paid and having pay increase even when they are not improving their skills. We must recognize that nobody really want to pay you just because you have been in a place for several years. You are supposed to be paid because of the value you are adding.

The West African Examination Council (WAEC) and its Nigerian counterpart, National Examination Council (NECO) and Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examinations (UTME) record that more than one million (1,000,000) candidates write examinations annually but not up to three hundred thousand (300,000) of the one million candidates can make it to the tertiary institutions. The implication is that there at least about seven hundred thousand (700,000) youths who are looking for something to keep them busy until they can go back to school. I do not have the figures for those who have been to tertiary institutions but have not enrolled for the National Youth Service Corp but the figure certainly triples that of those who are officially registered for National Youths Service Corp who are now looking for jobs.

One of the things young people can do right now is to take interest in some specific skills and begin to equip themselves. This is the time when even graduates must be able to do something physical apart from just being able to write a CV. I think a graduate now must be able to say, ‘I am a carpenter but I have my BSc.’ This is the time when graduates must be able to say I am a BSc. Holder with a Masters’degree in another field but I am a tailor.

One other thing I must not forget to say is that some of the people who apply for jobs do not get jobs not because they are not qualified but because they do not take their appearances serious. I remember Leke Alder, a man referred to as the number one brand consultant in Nigeria, saying, ‘some people fail their job interviews just by showing up. Every employer has his ideal picture of an employee. Some slouch when they walk in and some are just not the picture of the employee that you want.’ Following that I will suggest to young people to begin to take their dressing serious and that does not mean they have to be dressed in expensive clothes. They only have to make sure that the ones they have are properly laundered! You should learn to look like someone who is wearing an expensive shirt even when you are wearing a cheap one!

I am not just going to outline issues without talking about what I feel people can do if they are really ready to make a living.

1.)    Youths must understand that it is not the certificate that will give you a job. The certificate only proves that you have been tutored.

2.)    The real essence of being educated is not to go and get a job. You were educated so that you can think and take initiatives for your life and future challenges. One of those challenges is making a living after school.

3.)    This is the time to be entrepreneurial rather than just waiting for someone to give you a job. There are basic daily needs for every human being around you. When you decide to provide those needs for people around you the you will be paid.

4.)    Let youths attend seminars not to be motivated alone and shout the name of a speaker but to be equipped. You do not have to attend seminars where all they do is talk. Let’s have more of skill acquisitions and let’s take actions after learning the skills. There are opportunities all around us.

If only we will look towards the daily needs of people around us then we will be able to take care of our own daily needs without always having to expect someone else must give us a job. I can see jobs everywhere despite the fact that people are saying there are no jobs. What will determine what you are saying sometimes is how much skills you have.

Go and get skills and not just certificates!