Jonathan, the one thousand naira notes and unemployment.
At a certain point and a certain time in the political history of this country, there was a president or rather a presidential aspirant. He came to us (Nigerians) seeking for our votes and pity. He said to us: “I had no shoes while growing up”. Many of us quickly rallied around him. He is our own. We thought. He has been through hardship and poverty so he must know what deprivation means. We pursued.
However, as events continue to unfold, our beloved president Jonathan became far from us and things began to fall apart and the falcon could no longer hear the falconer. (Apologies to Chinua Achebe). We are all living testimonies to how our loving president broke our hearts and lest anyone forgets, unemployment is one of the things his administration has not done much about. Please, just ignore the pseudo statistics our sister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is dishing out to the public concerning the number of jobs the government has created. We all know how Ngozi speaks in grandiloquent Hyperboles. After all, she schooled in Harvard. Didn't she? This was someone who told us previously that our economy is as solid as “bacco super sack” and was the best in Africa some couple of months back. Now she is telling us to prepare to face hard times. Come to think of it, when has life been easy for a typical Nigerian?
But I am not about to tell you about the Minister of finance and her tales without a tail. We are here to talk about the president who was loved by his people but could not reciprocate. A case in point was the immigration job brouhaha. The immigration had called for employment. Trust Nigerians, everyone dreams to work with the government and so there was an avalanche of applications. What do you expect in a country of massive unemployment? Even, the one thousand naira for the purchase of scratch card to log on to the website and apply, did not scare people. It was a good bargain after all; spend a thousand Naira to get a government job. It seems a bit easy.
But the minister of interior and the controller general of immigration did not make it easy for the candidates. Instead of the screening to be done in batches, they were all assembled in different states however, on the same day. We are all too familiar with this story and I don't want to sound like a broken record. The whole exercise as we remember was cancelled and till today, nobody wants to talk about the money used for the purchase of scratch cards.
Has the money gone into thin air? It is bad that the government can't provide job for the citizens but it is heinous that a government will collect money from the citizens in order to give jobs. That is absurd. Yet, mr president has not deemed it fit meddle in this crucial matter by sacking the duo of the minister of interior Abba Moro and the controller general of immigration David Paradang and refunding the money back. Like every usual situation in the country, we all cry and shout for a while and move on with life.
It was the renowned writer Chinua Achebe who stated in his book: the trouble with Nigeria. He expressed that: “the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigeria problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which is the hallmarks of true leadership.”
Many of us taught that we had found a different leader that is different from the above definition of a leader by Chinua Achebe. We taught Jonathan will wipe our tears. We believed he will turn our educational system around. We assumed that he will listen to the poor and provide jobs. Instead he turned a deaf ear while Abba Morro and his gang stole a thousand naira from jobless youths.
It will be recalled that two pretty ladies in our president's cabinet. Okay, one has been relegated or promoted to the background now. The ladies were in the news for the wrong reasons. One being that it was alleged that she acquire a jet of N10billion (ten billion naira)I know you know whom am talking about? I do not wish to mention names. But in case you don't know. Alison Madueke is her name. The other is Stella Oduah .we all know that story too well. In a country where the people squander in squalor, this is not supposed to be so. This is disheartening because in the mist of all this, the president was quiet. It took quite a lot before Stella Oduah was asked to leave and many doubt if Madueke will ever be sacked.
As we know, evil flourishes when good people do nothing. It is then pertinent that the president comes out and begins to plan a course for the jobless in the society. There will always be Boko Haram and societal upheavals when there is an army of jobless people around. Even now that we have elections on our hands again, our politicians been who they are will want to use idle minds to execute their nefarious acts. The recent Ibadan crisis is a case in point. The minister of finance has told us on the need to brace up for hard time but before we start, let the president revisit the issue of the N1000 and pay those who applied for the jobs and did not get it back. As our people say, you can't beat up a child and still withhold his tears. So also, you can't take the jobs away from them and still keep their money. It is insane.
The president must come out openly and head this fight of corruption in our country. You cannot tell us to economize while our politicians cruise on private jets and have their breakfasts and lunch and dinner in five star hotels. What affects the eyes should also affect the nose as well. Until drastic measures are taken to curb unemployment in the country, the fight against insurgency will always be in a state of phantasmagoria and it seems that the president that once has no shoes, have amassed a lot of shoes that he has forgotten the pains to walk on barefoot.
Adigwe Chekwubechukwu wrote via [email protected]