I have always admired and respected an average Nigerian youth for his or her “Naija Spirit”. The ‘Naija spirit’ is the very essence of being a “true” Nigerian, only unique to people from this part of the world.
I once saw a Facebook meme that said that “being a Nigerian” should be added as a work experience in a CV. As humorous as it sounds being a Nigerian, especially in this time, is ‘hard’. With the current economic hardship that most Nigerians are facing, nothing creams survival like the resolve of an average Nigerian youth to find away out of his or her challenging situation.
Not too long ago, the President once said that Nigerian youths are lazy, entitled, and prefer doing nothing. This statement however, appeared to deride the efforts of the ever so vibrant youths of Nigeria.
Unlike their counterparts in developed countries, Nigerian youths are one of the most resilient people on the face of the planet. An average Nigerian youth is what I would like to describe as a person who slogs. Slogging according to the Collins English dictionary means to work doggedly and persistently. And this perfectly describes the place were Nigerian youths belong. A typical Nigerian youth is a hustler, a born negotiator. He or she can and always will negotiate his or her way out of any situation.
Rather than give up, a typical Nigerian youth ignores any risk, and takes advantage of unpropitious circumstances, turning challenges to opportunities. Far too many young people in Nigeria are unemployed and are living below poverty line. But despite the problems and drawbacks faced by the vast majority of youths in Nigeria, they remain resolute in the pursuit of their dreams and aspirations. Little wonder they have been able to carve a niche for themselves in different fields and endeavours.
Contrary to what the President would have the entire world believe, the Nigerian government is in fact the ‘lazy bunch’. A government too lazy to provide an enabling environment for its teeming youths to thrive. A government too lazy to invest in the minds and potential of its youths. A government too lazy to realise that creating large numbers of decent jobs for young people is critical for achieving the overall development objectives of the country.
A government too lazy to provide its young citizens with opportunities that would help turn their energy and creativity towards solving today’s challenges, and tomorrow’s problems. A government that has hindered it’s youths from full social and political engagement.
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Everyday, countless young Nigerians risk their lives in the hope of finding economic opportunities,at home and even away from home. You only need to take a look at that bus conductor who shouts for hours without being deterred, calling upon passengers, or that woman with a baby strapped to her back pricing baskets of tomatoes in the scorching sun in the market to appreciate just how hard Nigerians work day in day out. It’s who we are,we have value for hard work, this is our world. So, welcome to slognation.
Ajuma Drisu is a freelance writer and content creator. In her free time, she enjoys listening to good music, reading , and working with youths. You can connect with Ajuma Drisu on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Ajuma.Drisu or on Twitter @belladrell.