My dear Nigerian Youths,
I am very angry and that is why I am addressing you. You are the source of my anger and I want to vent my spleen- maybe not at you directly- but at the arrogance of your ignorance. Of all nations of the world, you are to be most pitied. Do you still wonder what you have done?
You don’t have an Ivy League education but with the little below-standard education you got, all you could do with it is to write a petition against someone with the benefit of an Ivy League education. You can’t even run your personal economy as you’re almost always and perpetually broke yet you arrogate to yourself superior knowledge about the nation’s economy.
You sit in front of a computer and rant all day through social media but with every click, you make money- not for yourself- but for Mark Zuckerberg. With every megabyte of data you spend complaining and maligning, you make stupendous bucks for Etisalat, Glo and Airtel.
Over the next two years, the number of Nigerian millionaires will jump by 47% but most likely you will not be among because you are too busy whining and complaining. And yet about 60% of Nigeria’s 170m population are below 35 years. Oh, what a waste!
By the way, Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he started facebook. Africa’s youngest billionaire, Ashish Thakkar, is 31. He escaped from the Rwandan genocide and relocated to Uganda where he started an IT business. Collin Thornton, who made his millions by fixing bad computers and setting up Dial-a-Nerd, is 35. Adam Horowitz, an 18-year-old entrepreneur, started 30 websites in 3 years before he became successful.
The only thing you have ever started is an online petition. Have you heard of Jason Njoku? He’s 33 and the founder of Iroko TV. He received $8m investment into his company just a few years ago. What he does? Sharing the same Nollywood films that you spend hours to watch online. He didn’t just hang around waiting for Buhari to make something happen or blaming Jonathan for not making anything happen.
Kamal Budhabhatti was deported from Kenya but while on the flight, he thought of the opportunities in Kenya. He found his way back after 6 months and today his company is valued at $30m. He’s 36. Have you heard of Chinedu Echeruo? Apple just paid $1b for his app. He’s a Nigerian like you and all he did was attempt to fix a problem.
But for you, the only thing you attempt to fix are your nails- and your hairdo! Chinedu moved to New York in 1995 and found it difficult to navigate the city with ease so he developed HopStop to fix the problem. Stop listing all the problems- we know them already but what are you doing about them?
Awolowo was 37, Akintola was 36, Ahmadu Bello was 36, Tafawa Balewa was 34, Okotie-Eboh was 27 and Enahoro was 27 at the time of independence of Nigeria. In 1966, the first coup was led by Kaduna Nzeogwu (29) and stopped by Murtala Mohammed (28), TY Danjuma (28), IBB (25), Sanni Abacha (23) and Shehu Yaradua (23). It brought in Yakubu Gowon as Head of State at 32 and Obasanjo at 29. You are in your 40s and you still sag your trousers.
Of course you know Linda Ikeji. You’ve spent hundreds of hours on her blog laughing and commenting while she smiles her way to the bank. She’s just built a house for her father in the village- just by you clicking on her gossip and sharing. Your day is not complete without a stop by at her blog. She was as broke as you are but she turned a hobby into a business. Are you that void of understanding?
You think the politicians have any regard for you? That is why I referred to the arrogance of your ignorance at the beginning of this diatribe. You have a false estimation of yourself. You have an over bloated ego. You are only as good as an election ticket- pure and simple.
You are only good to used and discarded like a used ballot paper. Who keeps a used ballot paper anyway? That is why they only remember you every four years. You are like a menstrual pad that is only useful during the menstrual period. Are you hurt? Okay, let me help you. Have you heard of Prof Olusola Adeyeye before?
He is a Senator of the Federal Republic at the moment. But before he became a senator, he was popular on facebook. Even more popular than so many latter day facebookivists. I was one of his many followers. He put up posts after posts and pander to populist thinking. Then he was elected and one of the first things he did was to deactivate his facebook account. Yes, you read me right. Deactivate. How many times do you still see El-Rufai’s tweets? No longer regular? That is how it will dwindle until he disappears totally. I’m not limiting it to the aforementioned alone and this is not about any party. They are all the same.
Yet you falsely believe your future is in the hands of one politician. You will grow grey hair with that belief. And by the time you wise up, you’re on your way to the grave- not with a life expectancy of less than 60 years in this clime. Can you see you have wasted your time? And possibly your life? See, people have been complaining since independence. And they will still complain in 4 years. Will you be among them?
I agree with my friend who said Nigerian youth need mental detoxification. And maybe I should add that you need a brain transplant. Let me give you another example. I’ve watched you try to pull some people down when you don’t like their face- or their comments. You report them to facebook. And they get pulled down. Momentarily. Just momentarily.
Do you know why? Facebook knows those people draw traffic. Their posts get huge numbers of comments. And with every comment and click, someone is making money. Will you allow your best customers to leave? That is why though facebook pulled down Adeyinka Grandson’s page, he was given a facebook fan page in return. Yes, a fan page. You need to get a job and you need to get a life. There is life away from facebook or social media.
If you’re not making money from social media and you sleep on it, you’re merely existing- you’re not living. I have seen some of you take selfies and pose in all manner of ways as you paste your photos on social media. Are you a photographer or are you selling something that we don’t know? You’re unemployed because you’re unemployable. You don’t have skills. Sorry, the major skill you have is that of pointing out the problems and debating about them. That’s a no brainer! You can’t even diagnose the problems properly.
You think Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala is your problem? You are a self-inflicted problem. You are afflicted with yourself and by yourself. If you’re looking for the reason why you are the way you are- look no further than your mirror. Instead of occupying Nigeria, you should occupy your brain. The only witch chasing you from your village is you. It’s time to stop bewitching yourself.
Stop whining about lack of electricity or fuel. Do something about it. Every adversity has a seed of opportunity embedded in it. Create something. Invent something. Start something. Read up a book. Write a book. Take advantage of the present situation. Nigeria is a huge market. Nigeria is a virgin market. Waiting for you. Unleash yourself. Release your passion. Follow your potential. Invent your way to prosperity. Stop waiting for government- government only needs you when they need your taxes. Don’t depend on welfare. People who depend on welfare don’t fare well.
You think you lack capital? No, the problem is not lack of capital but lack of ideas. Just today, two men stepped into my wife’s office selling the new portraits of Buhari and Osinbajo. That’s someone grabbing an opportunity and seizing the moment. I have a friend who started out by offering after-school lessons to kids on her street- now she has a school.
I know a lady who was indigent and self-sponsored on campus. Each night, she soaked beans and made ‘moin-moin’ in the morning for sale on campus. I bought out of the moin moin as well as some other students and that was how she paid her way through University. Not prostitution. Have you heard of Ayodeji Megbope? She started her business with the last N1,000 she had on her by making moin moin. She is d CEO of No Leftovers…
I have shared the story of ‘Akara Ayo’ and invited him to talk to us before. He left his banking job to start a business frying Akara (bean cake) in Ibadan. And added some innovation to it.
Start a snail farm. You can start it with less than N100,000. I started it with nothing- I just picked up snails in my compound and raised them. In a couple of months, I had raised close to a thousand. You have a car and you are complaining you don’t have a job? Convert it for car hire. Take it to the airports and see how people will hire it for the day. Liase with good hotels and place it at their disposal. I met a young man in Calabar who charges N1,500 per hour for the use of his car. There is something in your hand that can give you the future you want. The best moment to start is now.
For God’s sake, just do something!
by Bayo Adeyinka