President Buhari like many past Nigerian heads of state are living proof of why slavery flourished along the coast of West Africa a few centuries ago. While the Europeans, Americans and others sought their youth to build the edifices that have come to symbolise civilisation and world power, many African kings never had any use for their proliferating population of youths. Today is no different. Diaspora is the dreamland of the Nigerian youth. Under Buhari’s administration, the incentive for the Nigerian youth to go overseas for a better life has never been greater because lack of opportunities that stare them in the face. If leaders have no respect or value for their youth, who will?
It is the height of laziness for a national leader to have no constructive use for a youth. It is why people deal with negative racism daily as a rule, slavery. When African leaders start to have good use for their youth, Africans may just become more than honorary human beings to other races.
President Obasanjo in his first civilian administration famously threatened that Nigerians who did not like his rule should go overseas and find better. The same man is now struggling hard to convince a very sceptical world that the rising failure of government to cater for the exploding youthful African population will not seek a better life in diaspora, but only if they take his “own” advice. Obasanjo had eight years of power to show a good example of his current proposal, he could not do so on his best day. It is a curse on Nigeria that while presidents are in power the are no better than “village tyrants” or “ineffectual figure heads” but once they leave office they miraculously become enlightened The youth however remain a structural casualty of Nigeria leaders; downtrodden, despised and dispensable. Maybe they are also fungible.
There are American and Europeans with lots of cash who like to prove that Africans are naturally prone to be slaves for biblical and scientific reasons. I present such people and President Buhari with a challenge. The Nigerian government should announce a program [funded by the Americans and Europeans in question] in which Nigerians between the ages 18 and 25 will apply for relocation visas to any three nations of their choice. The only condition is that when they arrive their destinations they will work hard unpaid for 36 calender months after which they will be granted permanent residents visas as long as they fully law-abiding. That would-be tantamount to indentured labour or outright slavery.
At least a million Nigerian youths would voluntarily apply in the 30 days. This would be an indication of the youth yelling “ Hallelujah! Anywhere is better than here!” and evidence of the apparent hopelessness of their fortunes and futures in Nigeria. However, the willingness of the youth to work unpaid for 36 months in return for residency would also be decisive evidence that the Nigerian youth are not in any way lazy but ruinously deprived. Some leaders have even said forget school and go back to the farms.
P.S. The relocation program was just a thought experiment. Our zine in no way supports, encourages or defends slavery.