What happened in Kano on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, on a popular Hausa programme at a local radio station, Freedom Radio, where hundreds of youths reportedly went in search of a young lady who had offered to give to any man who agrees to marry her a 2013 model of Anaconda car and a house leaves much to be desired. According to the report, the 22-year-old lady, who is into business at the famous essential commodities market in Kano, Singer Market, said that she was deceived and disappointed by a young man after investing enormously on him. We learnt that the youths trooped in their hundreds to the Freedom Radio station to be chosen by the young lady the following day having made the offer on Tuesday night. Following the large crowd of young ‘suitors’, and the attendant inevitable effect of such mass of youths, the station had to request for police intervention.
Before now, this kind of dumbfounding scenario was only consigned to the imagination, and perhaps fictional works. Regrettably, and incredibly, it is now found in the sphere of reality in the country! This situation underscores a salient issue: endemic poverty in the land. What provoked the youths in Kano in such amazing orgy could not be affection for the young lady, far from it, but that they see in her a veritable avenue to make ends meet. After all, it reduces the puffs of the young men who had accepted the reversed role in marriage contract as known in our clime. This development is an indictment on governments at all levels in the country. This is because it mirrors the state of the economy and the need for governments to contrive new ways that can bring sustained all-inclusive economic growth that will subordinate poverty in its entirety.
Understandably, successive governments have rolled out poverty alleviation programmes. Lamentably, they have not been adequate to address the rising malaise. It is important that governments at all levels tackle this condition by the provision of sufficient welfare programmes, creation of jobs and wealth, provision of affordable healthcare, delivery of affordable houses to bridge the 17 million units housing deficit, ample investment in public schools, provision of good governance, coordination of corruption fight and also contrive some other ingenious ways that could make for better living conditions for the citizenry.
This newspaper condemns the conditions that must have goaded these youths, who should ordinarily have their pride intact to have trooped to become emergency ‘suitors’ to a lady they knew nothing about, especially one that advertised herself with impunity! At least it is un-African for a lady to propose to a man.
Nigeria is blessed with abundant human and natural resources. It is ranked the sixth largest exporter of petroleum products in the world. With about 170 million people, it is said to have one of the world’s highest economic growth rates, averaging 7.4 percent, according to the Nigeria economic report released in July 2014. Regrettably, poverty level is inordinately high and politically embarrassing, especially when one considers the enormous human and mineral resources Nigeria is endowed with. Worst still, it is said that some 70 percent of Nigerians live on less than $1.25 a day. Of late, the World Bank in its report identified Nigeria as one of the least successful countries not addressing poverty alleviation in its entirety since the introduction of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) fifteen years ago. The report stated that almost three fifth of the worlds extreme poor are concentrated in just five countries of Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India and Nigeria. This is appalling considering the country’s wealth.
In order to reverse this anomaly, governments at all levels must come up with wealth creation strategies. It is imperative that they create special centres definitely delegated with tasks of assisting youths develop skills, knowledge and new venture management competencies in starting and owning their own businesses that will create wealth for them. This strategy should go beyond former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN!) programme which is designed for entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 45 years and also intended to create thousands of jobs by helping winners to strengthen and expand existing businesses as well as turn innovative ideas into solid businesses. YouWIN is a business plan competition. Governments must empower the youths after they have been trained and acquired skills to start small businesses. We also urge them to instil in students at the tertiary institutions an entrepreneurial mind-set through curriculum review and values re-orientation. This newspaper is sure with this strategy fresh graduates will create job opportunities for themselves instead of seeking jobs after graduation.
The governments should get involved in holistic and sustained microcredit scheme where they assist the poor access credit facilities for start-ups and create wealth in the community. Basic infrastructures such as good roads, potable water, and electricity, amongst others, should be provided by governments. Their availability could among others improve the quality of lives in the rural and urban areas and help reduce costs of production and go a long way to curb rural urban migration.
The fight against corruption must be definitive. Corruption is an incapacitating influence in the fight against poverty and its reduction in the country. The Federal Government must demonstrate in more concrete terms the political will to eliminate corruption beyond rhetoric. It is regrettable that funds that are supposed to be used on social requirements and infrastructure which in turn will provide development in all facets of the country’s life circulate within the few privileged ones and in some cases taken abroad for private investments.
Again government operators must manage the economy for the benefit of the citizenry. Public office holders must see themselves as serving the country, and by extension, the citizenry. Public office must not be seen as a quick avenue to make wealth at the expense of the masses.