Sat. Aug 6th, 2022
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko

By Emmanuel Onwubiko 

When the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 commically made reference to some Nigerian Youths he categorized as lazy youths, he probably did not know that some of his younger cabinet level appointees are the very perfect embodiment, representations and depictions of this description of Nigerian Youths as LAZY. Additionally,  even the old appointees have substantially failed to prove that they are capable problem solvers using do it yourself mechanism. 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday ( April 19,2018) criticised the attitude of some Nigerian youth, saying they were only hustling to get on the gravy train.

“More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free,” Mr Buhari was quoted as saying by The Cable during a panel appearance with world leaders at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London.

The president’s comment adds to an earlier one he made criticising Nigerian youth.

During a February 2016 interview with UK Telegraph, Mr Buhari said some Nigerians in the UK, mostly youth, are disposed to criminality and should not be granted asylum there. He was fiercely criticised for the comment, with many saying it failed to convey the reality of Nigerian youth’s exploits.

However, a positive one on the Nigerian youths debunked this line of argument by President Muhammadu Buhari when an analysis by Rice University in the U.S. showed that Nigerian youth are the most educated of all migrants in the country. The institution credited the finding to a culture of relentless drive for education amongst Nigerians.

This Writer thinks President Muhammadu Buhari exaggerated this statement because most of the youths that I know are innovative problems solvers and are not lazy by any stretch of imagination except if the analyst is a mischief maker. But come to think of it. President Muhammadu Buhari may have said so going by the reality that most of the youngsters he empowered politically including some of his cousins he made Presidential advisers are actually lazy youths. 

That is not all. A closer examination of how some of his younger ministers have opted for already made solutions in their day to day affairs as public office holders without any deep thinking and due regards to the sense of innovation, introspection and solution politics , shows that the Nigerian President may have appointed into his cabinet a bunch of lazy youths. 

The President since he came on board and also when he took a second and final official oath of allegiance to the constitution of Nigeria, has made only very few appointments in favor of the very young Nigerians such as the person he sent to the ministry of finance, Budget and National planning, youths and sports, ministers of state for education and environment are all considered to be in their youthful ages. 

However, there are mixed messages coming from these strategic beats that President gave to the youngsters. 

Education sector has witnessed decline in development and the situation of facilities in public Universities are deteriorating with many of the public hostels becoming unfit for human habitation but yet the Education ministry has two ministers with the minister of state who is still within the age bracket of a youth. The Environment ministry is virtually moribund with little activities going on regarding the need to enlighten Nigerians on the impacts of climate change. Climate change is about the most debated issue around the World but in Nigeria there is almost no national remediation efforts going on to counter the consequences and effects of Climate change. The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is headed by a youngster but not a lot is seen in the area of transparency and accountability in the deployment of public resources to solve disasters of all kinds. In Sports, Nigeria came last at the just ended Tokyo Olympics and the National football team lost a match to the central African Republic and indeed no sports development efforts are ongoing to engage the millions of talented youngsters to embrace professional sports. Nigerian youths are a bundle of sporting talents but the Federal Ministry of youths and sports headed by a youth is finding it difficult to engage the youths in constructive sport development engagements. 

Perhaps, the ministry that has so far manifested a dangerous inclination for easy solution to national problems is the ministry of finance, Budget and national planning. To her, the best way out of cash crunch is not home made but to go all over the World borrowing all kinds of loans which have made Nigeria a heavily indebted nation.  

We will speak more about how the young minister of Budget, Finance and national planning through words, actions and inaction, has shown a lack of the deliberate effort to pursue innovative ideas as a way of resolving the economic doldrums affecting Nigeria. 

But we will look at how academic experts define innovation and the evolution of ideas to solve everyday problems 

Wikipedia said these: “Do it yourself” (“DIY”) is the method of building, modifying, or repairing things by oneself without the direct aid of professionals or certified experts. Academic research has described DIY as behaviors where “individuals use raw and semi-raw materials and parts to produce, transform, or reconstruct material possessions, including those drawn from the natural environment (e.g., landscaping)”.[1] DIY behavior can be triggered by various motivations previously categorized as marketplace motivations (economic benefits, lack of product availability, lack of product quality, need for customization), and identity enhancement (craftsmanship, empowerment, community seeking, uniqueness).

The term “do-it-yourself” has been associated with consumers since at least 1912 primarily in the domain of home improvement and maintenance activities.[3] The phrase “do it yourself” had come into common usage (in standard English) by the 1950s,[4] in reference to the emergence of a trend of people undertaking home improvement and various other small craft and construction projects as both a creative-recreational and cost-saving activity.

Subsequently, the term DIY has taken on a broader meaning that covers a wide range of skill sets. DIY has been described as a “self-made-culture”; one of designing, creating, customizing and repairing items or things without any special training. DIY has grown to become a social concept with people sharing ideas, designs, techniques, methods and finished projects with one another either online or in person.

DIY can be seen as a cultural reaction in modern technological society to increasing academic specialization and economic specialization which brings people into contact with only a tiny focus area within the larger context, positioning DIY as a venue for holistic engagement. DIY ethic is the ethic of self-sufficiency through completing tasks without the aid of a paid expert. The DIY ethic promotes the idea that anyone is capable of performing a variety of tasks rather than relying on paid specialists.

People, says the psychological expert, face problems every day—usually, multiple problems throughout the day. Sometimes these problems are straightforward: To double a recipe for pizza dough, for example, all that is required is that each ingredient in the recipe be doubled. Sometimes, however, the problems we encounter are more complex. For example, say you have a work deadline, and you must mail a printed copy of a report to your supervisor by the end of the business day. The report is time-sensitive and must be sent overnight. You finished the report last night, but your printer will not work today. What should you do? First, you need to identify the problem and then apply a strategy for solving the problem.

When you are presented with a problem—whether it is a complex mathematical problem or a broken printer, how do you solve it? Before finding a solution to the problem, the problem must first be clearly identified. After that, one of many problem solving strategies can be applied, hopefully resulting in a solution, according to Psychologists who know. 

A problem-solving strategy is a plan of action used to find a solution. Different strategies have different action plans associated with them, the expert argues. For example, a well-known strategy is trial and error. The old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” describes trial and error. In terms of your broken printer, you could try checking the ink levels, and if that doesn’t work, you could check to make sure the paper tray isn’t jammed. Or maybe the printer isn’t actually connected to your laptop. When using trial and error, you would continue to try different solutions until you solved your problem. Although trial and error is not typically one of the most time-efficient strategies, it is a commonly used one. These were from a scholarly write up on psychology.

This tendency for easy way out of problems are not limited to Federal appointees. While begging southern governors to be their brother’s keeper and let the federal government keep collecting value-added tax, claiming Gombe residents could face acute hunger, Governor Inuwa Yahaya has been on a borrowing spree designed primarily to allegedly  help him accumulate personal wealth, documents obtained by Peoples Gazette show.

Since assuming office on May 29, 2019, Mr Yahaya has sought and received approvals to borrow N44.3 billion, according to state documents obtained by The Gazette. The governor also collected N11 billion that his predecessor Ibrahim Dankwambo applied for but which he was unable to receive before his tenure expired. The governor also has a new plan to borrow an additional N35 billion.

Checks by The Gazette revealed allegedly that the governor did not spend the loans on the projects he cited for their necessity. Instead, he cornered billions for himself, leaving a spectre of crushing debts on a state already beset by a dearth of health and education infrastructure and ranks high in poverty indices.

In documents reviewed by The Gazette, the governor was in October 2019 granted approval for loans of N10 billion and N2 billion respectively for the “provision of Infrastructural projects in the state and payment of counterpart fund requirements for accessing Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) donor funded projects.”

But Mr Yahaya did not settle the counterpart funding after the loan was approved by the House of Assembly but used the fund to execute projects within his own official residence and offices that were contracted to individuals in his pool of fronts. The conduits have consistently helped the governor syphone state funds to jurisdictions outside the state, officials said. I think this tells you how lazy politicians are around here. But the worst of them all is the finance Minister. Two things have made her the worst public office holder- Debts accumulation and the decision to buy foreign made generators rather than pursuing home made solution to our power energy poverty including the use of SOLAR ENERGY and conversion of WASTE TO ENERGY POWER which Countries like England, Japan, China have their home made solution and strategies to achieve.  

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has revealed why the Federal Government will continue to borrow money from other countries.

The Minister, during an interview with newsmen in Abuja revealed the government was borrowing to invest in infrastructure in the country.

According to her, the Federal Government’s borrowing is sensible and responsible.

“I have said it several times that the problem we have in Nigeria is that of revenue.

“We are borrowing sensibly and this is because we want to invest in infrastructures like power, water, roads and rails which are investments that are required to enhance business productivity in the country today.

“These businesses will grow, they will not only pay taxes, they will also employ people.

“If we don’t do this, we will regress even from where we are today. Borrowing is a necessary investment and we are doing it responsibly,” she said. These claims have no empirical supports. Let us see what President said he will do to turn around our energy poverty. 

President Muhammadu Buhari  said as the President of Nigeria he would work on an ambitious Energy Plan towards reducing the energy shortcomings by year 2030. 

Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman in a statement, said Buhari spoke in line with Nigeria’s role as a Global Theme Champion for the Energy Transition, theme of the High-Level Dialogue on Energy on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The president said: “Nigeria’s commitment to a just transition is reflected in our ambitious Energy Compact, which includes the Government’s flagship project to electrify five million households and twenty million people using decentralized solar energy solutions.

“This is a major first step towards closing our energy access deficit by 2030.

“Nigeria’s commitment is also reflected in the development of our Energy Transition Plan, which was developed with support of the UK COP26 Energy Transition Council.”

The Nigerian leader called for support from developed countries to unlock the financing needed to accelerate a just energy transition for all.

“The focus of our discussions on transition must now evolve how we help countries develop detailed energy transition plans and commitments to mobilize enough financing to empower countries to implement those plans,” he said.

According to him, the scale of financing required for Nigeria to achieve net-zero, amounts to over US$ 400 billion across the Nigerian economy in excess of business-as-usual spending over the next 30 years.

“This breaks down to US$ 155 billion net spend on generation capacity, US$ 135 billion on transmission and distribution infrastructure, US$ 75 billion on buildings, US$ 21 billion on industry and US$ 12 billion on transport.”

The president, however, said that gas would continue to have a big role to play before it is phased out, explaining that solid fuel cooking is still wreaking havoc in Africa. This promise has been breached because Nigeria has gone down further and worst in the area of power energy poverty. Now the minister of Finance has budgeted humongous sum to purchase foreign made generators. 

Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government will in 2022 spend an estimated N104bn on purchasing generators, fuelling and servicing them.

The N104bn which will be spent on generators due to the country’s unstable power supply exceeds the Internally Generated Revenue of about 24 states of the federation.

The details are contained in the 2022 budget proposal which has yet to be approved by the National Assembly.

Economic Confidential, however, reports that the figure may be higher as about 15 agencies including the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission, National Information Technology Agency, National Pension Commission, Nigeria Customs Service, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Examination Council, Central Bank of Nigeria and others did not indicate their generator budgets. The next story is perhaps what makes this minister as belonging tothe generator generation. 

The story says Finance ministry wants N82bn for generators.

A review of the budget shows that the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning headed by Zainab Ahmed, takes the lion’s share of 80 per cent for generators as the ministry set aside N82.03bn.

The item under the heading, ‘Purchase of Fixed Assets- General’ reads, “Purchase of power generating set 82,030,000,000.”

As of press time, the Spokesman for the Finance Ministry, Yunusa Abdullahi, had yet to respond to an inquiry on why the budget for generators for the ministry is very high.

Meanwhile, a further analysis of the budget showed that among the agencies, the Federal Inland Revenue Service has the highest budget for generators.

The agency earmarked N250m for maintenance, N1bn for fuelling the generators and N550m for purchasing new ones, given a total of N1.8bn.

The Nigerian Army has the second highest budget for generators having earmarked N971.7m for generator fuel alone. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has the third highest budget for generators at N946m.

The Department of Petroleum Resources set aside N118.7m for maintenance, N666.8m for generator fuel and N120m for the purchase of generators in its offices in Sokoto, Kano, Makurdi, Yenagoa, Ilorin and Umuahia, bringing it to a total of N905.5m.

The agency with the 5th largest generator budget is the Nigerian Ports Authority which set aside N798.2m for the maintenance and purchase of generators.

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission budgeted N470m for the maintenance of a generator plant and N262.11m for the procurement of a generator, given a total sum of N732.1m.

The Federal Road Safety Corps set aside N529.3m for maintenance, fuel and purchase of generators.

The Nigeria Police formations and commands across the country are expected to spend N211.5m on maintenance and N309.8m on fuel for the generators, a total of N521.3m

Similarly, the Nigerian Communications Commission will spend N500m running generators next year having earmarked N190m for maintenance, N150m for the purchase of new generators and N160m for the purchase of fuel for generators.

The Bank of Agriculture set aside N420.5m for the purchase of a generator while the Standards Organisation of Nigeria intends to spend N412m on new generators and the maintenance of existing ones.

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria will spend N400m on generators.

The National Inland Waterways Authority earmarked N379.93m for the rehabilitation of a generator plant and N50m for the procurement of a generator while the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority budgeted the sum of N240.57m to maintain its generator plant and N124m to acquire a new generator.

Other agencies with large generator budgets include: the Nigerian Defence Academy (N373m), the Nigerian Navy (N344m), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (N342.2m); and the Accident and Investigation Bureau (N323m).

The Nigeria Immigration Service earmarked N296.91m for generator expenses out of which N86.9m would be spent on fuel while N144.8m and N65.09m would go to the purchase and maintenance of generators respectively.

The Nigerian Meteorological will spend N285m on purchase, maintenance and fuelling of generators in 2022.

The Nigeria Export-Import Bank will spend N217.67m for the maintenance, purchase and fuelling of generators in 2022 while the Nigeria Correctional Service earmarked N134.9m for generator fuel cost, N43.6m for maintenance, a total of N178.5m.

The Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation earmarked N157.8m for the maintenance, fuelling and purchase of generators in 2022 while the National Youth Service Corps set aside N100.2m for the same expenses. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission will spend N127.6m as well.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and the Nigerian Postal Service will spend N100m and N103.1m respectively on generators.

The Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies comprising 88 federal teaching hospitals, medical centres and agencies will spend N3.1bn on generators next year. The health agency with the largest generator budget is the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research which will spend N230m on purchasing generators, N5m on fuel and N1m on maintenance.

The Ministry of Education which oversees 197 federal secondary and tertiary institutions, departments and agencies earmarked a combined N2.8bn for generators. The agency under the ministry with the highest generator budget is the Federal Polytechnic Ekowe which earmarked N237m for the purchase of generators, N18.9m for maintenance and N8.2m for fuel, a total of N264.1m.

Earlier just after been sworn in, the Nigerian government’s ambitions for improving electricity supplies are “not remotely realistic”, a report by experts advising the presidency says, an early blow to one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s most important reform promises.

Chronic power shortages are one of the biggest constraints on investment and growth in Africa’s largest economy. Fixing the problem was one of the key battlegrounds during campaigning ahead of a presidential election Buhari won in March.

Buhari, 72, and his opponent Goodluck Jonathan both promised to massively increase power supplies, building on a relatively successful $2.5 billion partial privatisation in 2013.

Buhari’s All Progressives Congress pledged in its manifesto to increase supplies from 3,600 megawatts (MW) currently to 20,000 MW within four years and 50,000 MW within ten years, which would meet the demands of Nigeria’s 170 million people.

However, reaching 20,000 MW by 2020 is “not even remotely realistic” and “setting unrealistic targets dilutes discipline”, according to a 54-page report entitled “The Energy Blueprint” obtained by Reuters.

My conclusion is that Nigeria needs Problem solvers who believe in innovation,  ideas and do it yourself attitudes as ministers to get out of the economic mess that the poor policy framing and implementation in the last 6 years have pushed us into. This GENERATOR GENERATION OF MINISTERS lack the technological innovation,  HUMAN capacity and talents to take Nigeria to the Promised land. 

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO IS THE HEAD OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs @www.huriwanigeria.com, www.thenigerianinsidermews.com. 

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