Friday, 9 September 2016

UNEMPLOYMENT/­UNEMPOWERMENT...ROOT CAUSES OF YOUTH RESTIVENESS AND SOCIAL VICES IN BENUE...A CHALLENGE BEFORE GOV. ORTOM!

By Joseph Smart Akpoja.
Cultism, kidnapping, Thuggery and drug abuse are forms or categories of Youth restiveness and social vices.



In Nigeria today, over Sixty Percent (60%) of the population are Youths; it is also true that the highest percentage of eligible Voters in Nigeria are the Youths; meaning that the determining force of the electorates are the Youths! But sadly, this numerical strength is yet to be converted into the nation's Labour Force for productivities, rather, the opposite is the case, resulting to unemployment as well as un- empowerment!

An idle Man is said to be the Devil's workshop and in plurality, Devil's Workshops or Domicile...better put as Devil's "strongholds"! It is no doubt that due to the latter, most Nigerian Youths practices one form of social vices or the other! My assumption may be true and correct, taking a reflection of the cult activities ravaging my State...Benue, where most Youths partaking or participating in the ugly and devilish acts are idle, unemployed and un-empowered. conversely, some of them are graduates, undergraduates, school certs holders and street Urchins. Nonetheless, some are secondary school Students, and this is the most dangerous and ridiculous aspect that raised the true suspicion that the Devil has gotten so many advocates and Disciples in the State!

Most worrisome is the fact that the population of youths is growing geometrically and unproductively, a genuine reason why the former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasonjo said of recent, that "Africa is sitting on a 'Time Bomb' due to the geometric growth of Youth population, not proportional to economic provisions". OBJ looked at the larger picture that when related to a State like Benue, he is nonetheless correct! Adversely, not in conformity with the words of Pope John Paul the 2nd which says that "the future is now, not tomorrow", beating the ideology or imaginations of some that says "the Youths are the Leaders of tomorrow".

In Benue, and Nigeria at large, due to the negligence and inattention to the Youths, one would even classify a Man of Fifty Years (50yrs) old as a Youth because he must have seen or experienced nothing that should make him believe or reckon with youthful age, hence like Mohammed Ali the great Boxer in history would put it that "A Man who views the world the same at Fifty (50yrs old) as he did at Twenty (20yrs old) has wasted Thirty (30yrs) of his life"!

Pathetic and very disturbing is the way African Leaders pretends to be planning for the Youths, whereas in the real sense, we haven't seen any lucrative measure to this effect. Instead, we could see vividly how they continue to recycle themselves in politics, governmental, civil, social and economical systems, resulting to the consumption of the "now" and "future" of the Youths! No thanks to these greedy and selfish Leaders at all; no thanks to the bereaved and myopic youths who instead of pursuing and demanding their civic rights as eligible citizens responsively and respecting same, in a patriotic manner, they rather prefer to be Thugs, Cultists, Gangsters who at their detriment, wished to be used by these Leaders that have consumed their (Youths) destinies!

We witnessed these ugly scenarios during and after electioneering campaign where Youths are used in fighting, killing and maiming one another as ransom for their old-aged political god-fathers and financiers just because of either party differences or political ideologies.

Away from my digressive analysis, let me quickly remind the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom and his deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu, that there are solutions to this menace... better ways of curbing youth restiveness. While many would opt for Police intervention and consequently imprisoning these Youths, which is ok, but secondary solutions to me, I would rather simplify that EMPLOYMENT and EMPOWERMENT via industrialisation and transparent palliative schemes, could be better ways out of Youth restiveness and social vices!

Now that the Federal Government (FG), introduces the Youths Empowerment Scheme (YES Program), it is expected that our State disbursed this fund as it comes appropriately, transparently and effectively to her Youths that have completed the program, while the State itself embarks on quick plans that would revitalize/­rehabilitates the State's non-functional Industries. Yes it's a big challenge now in this era of dwindling allocation from the Federal Government due to global fall in oil price (one reason why we should discourage over- dependent on the oil sector, and why we should have diversified when we had it rosy in our economy). Nevertheless, it is for this singular reason that God gave our amiable Governor double experimental portfolios as Minister of State for Trade and Industry and a supervisory Minister of Aviation in the immediate past administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. In this light, one could conclude logically and mathematically that the combination of Dr. Samuel Ortom and Engr. Benson Abounu who too was the Director General, Nigeria Television Authority - NTA, a renowned international Technocrat who chaired and managed many conglomerates and industrial institutions, could rebuild Benue Industries, build new industries, construct, renovates and rehabilitate the existing but non-functional ones.

Yes, Benue do have Industries like the Gboko/Aliade and Otukpo Rice Mills, the Taraku Mills, the Otukpo Burn-Bricks, the Allied Agro Mill, the Benue Breweries, the Benue Cement Company (though percentage of shares already sold to Dangote Cement) and other ideal Industries like Paint Industry which little fund could augment. The lists of Industries mentioned above needs renovation and reconstruction which when put in proper and functional state, would have the capacity to rehabilitate Benue Youths from Cultism and other forms of restiveness. Only Political willingness could make this happen!

The Govr. should know that the Onus is on him now since the previous administrations in Benue State gave no serious attention to these dilapidated Industries. Spending overhead funds, subvention funds on courtesy calls, ordinary visits, associations, solidarity groups, would never amount to good governance that history and posterity should reckon with! Human development is more reckoned with by history than expenses made on human courtesy calls. Humans Development is in itself an investment that reproduces long term dividends across political, tribal/ethnical, economical, social, family and religious lines.

On these notes, Dr. Samuel Ortom and Engr. Benson Abounu, I remind you of the very words of the late Catholic Nun, Mother Theresa who said "I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much." So God was never mistaken to have given you both the Onus of Benue State!

Joseph Akpoja Smart is a Public Affairs Analyst, a Politician and a Social Commentator. He is from Ekeh Ward in, Okpokwu Local Govt. Area of Benue State.

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