Open Letter To General Muhammadu Buhari By Whyte Habeeb Ibidapo
Dear President – Elect,
I remain Habeeb Whyte and I am still obliged with the responsibility that life placed on me to suggest a path deserving a collective action from Nigerian youths towards the faith of our father’s land and at this present time that we have just decided part of our future. You would agree with me that your success and that of All Progressive Congress in the last election can be said without mincing words to be the success of Nigerian youths. As key players in the youth movement, some of us were involved in the struggle before the formation of APC as a party and even made our inputs to the thought process. I said this just in order to buttress my claim that we knew what we bargained for and have our expectations as youths from you.
Meanwhile, the primary motivation for the involvement of the youths who served in the electioneering struggle for you was not for monetary gains. Those who wanted money did not stay long before dropping into other parties where cash flew. It therefore becomes significant for me to lend my voice to our expectations from you. It’s true that expectations are very high from the masses in general, I do not share in the ‘miraculous change’ expectation. I share in the expectations of the youths. Our expectations are premised upon the major reasons why we insisted on GMB. They are;
- The bastardization of youths and children. The past 16 years of democracy saw the promotion of notoriety in youths through money inducements for eliciting their criminality. The only way to ‘make it’ in Nigeria becomes how much you can destroy lives, property, social peace and even how much you can destroy yourself. We saw governments that promotes promiscuity, waywardness and ungodly acts while ‘de-valuing’ character, probity, righteousness and honesty. Our nation became home to all forms of crimes and terror. The youths decided we did not want to inherit such a nation. When our colleagues who earn wealth and political power by destroying the society are much more powerful than those of us who wish to rebuild it, it’s a done-deal that only time stands between our nation and its annihilation. The leadership of all students and youth groups have been hijacked by these powerful youths.
- Nigerian youths suffer the most from the mismanagement of our nation’s resources. While some remain jobless and some underemployed, most were compelled to seek ways and means including rewarding crimes, compromising youth leadership values to foot bills of their education and training. The cost of education across all level skyrocketed even in a situation of un-helpable growing unemployment. Every four out of 10 Nigerian children are out of school while 3 among those in schools do not have requisite study materials. Youths decided to depart from this because we cannot grow under these circumstances in a globalized world and be expected to compete with our colleagues from other nations. We did not want to inherit a nation that cannot stimulate pride in her own children.
- There was already a stern confusion about what needed to be done to right the wrongs in the system. Most people are already trapped in the ’employment creation’ syndrome so much that they are hopelessly expecting nothing other than job from a ‘good’ government. Any employment adverts receives thousands of application not necessarily because so much people need the job but because so much are confused about their actual needs. Ours is not a nation without jobs but one with as much people without jobs as jobs without people. The white collar job orientation is a result of an economy entirely dependent on marketing and a national leadership that lacks the character and knowledge-base to formulate policies that will promote the productive and manufacturing sectors. Youths decided to depart from this because we did not want to inherit a nation that is consuming itself from within. A nation whose collapse is predictable as a result of measurable indicators of failure.
- Nigeria was already in flame as a result of possible religious or ethnic war. The fuel of distrust and disunity among ethnic groups and between Muslims and Christians was fanned to the peak point of conflagration with youths at the center-circle. Youths were used as evangelists or pseudo-ideologies of the religious and ethnic militias preaching die-hard hatred and these youths are the ones who are going to fight the war when it breaks out. Youths are the ones who are going to be out of schools and out of jobs during the war and they are still the ones their aged ones and children within families are going to look up to for safety and upkeep in the war situation. We therefore decided to rebuke this curse on us by taking responsibility to ensure the change we desired.
You would bear witness sir that the result of the presidential elections showed that the youths paid the utmost to bring about the change. The social media and real world media campaigns were flocked by youths. Meanwhile, our expectations are implied readily in the reasons why we desired and ventured for change as summarised above but I wish to draw your attention to few areas where it is important we have unity of thoughts so that we won’t begin to destroy our hard earned victory as soon the impending transformations begin.
- We expect GMB to cut down the cost of governance significantly. So, reforms in government structure and political appointments are expected.
- Plugging of all loopholes in the national financial management are expected as part of the anti-corruption effort. We expect thorough cleansing of the whole governance system that will secure the treasury from looting of any form.
- We expect the recovery of loot from past leaders and deployment of such funds into the education sector as proposed by your Excellency.
- We expect a gradual rebuilding of our infrastructures and social amenities in all sectors including health, education, transportation, energy, sports, etc.
- On youth empowerment however, we expect formulation and implementation of policies that will apply the potentials of youths positively. While the long term objectives are paramount, there is the need for projects that will bring smiles on the faces of youths within 100 days of inauguration. Towards this, I suggest the following Sir;
- Establishment of STUDENTS’ ADVANTAGE CENTRE. Since we cannot go back to the days of free feeding, accommodation, laundry, etc on our campuses very soon, this initiative will cushion the effects of hardship on campuses by providing commodities to students at discount rates. The centre will only leverage government security to access these commodities at manufacturer’s prices with even Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) discounts and make available to students at significantly reduced costs. The (SAC) will also publish text books under CUSTOM PUBLISHING PROGRAMME. This will improve standard and reduce cost to students apart from the uniformity.
- Information Communication Technology is a key area where youths have found interests and committed great passion. It is the same everywhere in the world. Technology’s excitement makes it driven by passion but wise countries like Singapore only applied digital entrepreneurship strategies to enterprise the passion of their youths and thereby turn it into a significant source of revenue. Nigeria accounts for over 10million global internet presence. This implies we can make over N100 trillion revenue annually if half of these youths make just N50, 000 each monthly. The business opportunities on the internet matter but what matters most is that rate at which our youths patronise information products manufactured by youths of foreign countries on the internet with the passion of UP – BLUES, BARCA FOR LIFE, etc. We only need a creative approach to explorations with the passion of our youths. Today, sport betting is a multi-billion dollar industry with huge market share in Nigeria whereas over 80% of the wealth goes out this country even though over 80% of the market is here. We must circumvent the industry and internalise 80% of the wealth in line with Pareto’s Theory. Our youths desire strongly a leadership that will create at home most of the things we passionately ‘die’ for from foreign lands. We want to see our brands competing in international markets with brands innovated by our colleagues in India, Singapore, Brazil, Korea, China, etc. We want GMB to mobilise our tremendous energy for nation building. Good thinking does it all and as a matter of fact, we would be willing to help.
I will say emphatically that the huge fund claimed to be committed to technological advancement and similar empowerment schemes including MSME’s are more than what is required to turn things around and make these to happen within months of your inauguration. The problem why we spend so much to achieve nothing is corruption. Corruption in this broad sense includes the appointment of some ‘big’ Engineers who cannot click a mouse as MDs of such projects. Ideas that should cook and serve for instant result on desks here at home will have to be cooked elsewhere with built-in out-datedness that will compel us as a country to go back perpetually.
These two key areas will empower millions of youths within the first 100 days of your administration and begin to turn-in huge revenue within 6-months. I can assure you Sir that the ICT industry alone with the size of our youth population and their passion for internet will create millions of jobs within 6months and drive in huge foreign exchange. I live you with a mind full of hope that you would not disappoint us.
(WHYTE HABEEB IBIDAPO is a Lawyer, United Nations Award winner, Africa International Arbitration Award winner and Coca cola/ The Nation Campuslife Award Winner.