In a virtual conversation between two persons, it has been said that when one person says/replies a thread in the conversation with “K” (or it’s supposed variants such as “Lol”, “brb” or a 🙂 smiley), there is nothing else to talk about… at least from one side of the conversation.
But when the majority section (ironically) in the upper chamber of the National Assembly gave a resounding “K” (which rhymes well with ‘nay’) in reply to a bill proposing a monthly stipend of Five Thousand Naira be paid to the unemployed youth that abound, it only started a conversation, not end it.
Then again, should the (non)payment of Five Thousand Naira stipend even be an issue to debate over at all? In a country where the President already stated there is not enough money to pay our Ministers? What hope is there then, for an estimated 25 million out of 30-35 million who fall in the category of youth under review (ages 22 to say, 35) and would have been eligible to receive the stipend?
Going right into the math and using minimum figures, paying 25 million unemployed youth of Nigeria Five Thousand Naira monthly would amount to the humble sum of N125,000,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Twenty-five Billion Naira). That’s a good dream to hope on for a lot of our States who rely largely on allocation received from the Federal Government.
So, N125b per month amounts to a righteous sum of N1,500,000,000,000.00 (One Trillion, yes, One Trillion, Five Hundred Billion Naira), which manages to trump the extreme fine slam dunked on telecoms giants MTN Nigeria by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) recently. And for a highly profitable entity such as MTN to be shivering over such a fine (N1.04Tr) and seeking to settle it in installments… one may begin to quantify just how much of an Everest the task of realising #Our5k dream really is.
Economically, Nigeria at the moment cannot even afford to pay such a stipend. Our main source of income, Diezani’s former fortress, the NNPC posted losses in the N120b region over just two months. Then the FG only recently paid oil marketers their ‘stipend’ of about N415b. Add payment of salaries and allowances to the angels and saints at the National Assembly, our Ministers must keep their (general and personal) ministries going, President Buhari and his Vice’s necessary trips aren’t covered by frequent flyer miles, ex-militants of the Niger Delta have their stipend to receive… one can go on and on with the grim picture like Chelsea’s form in the English Premier League.
Then we get to gathering a central bio-metric largely remaining a pipe dream, as people are still signing up for their national identity card (mine remains pending, so must make do with the temporary, which is almost useless but before I digress) and even the Bank Verification Number exercise, despite the Central Bank of Nigeria giving us a three-month grace period to sign up, remains on the balance between success and failure (more so when you factor diaspora Nigerians).
And, as heartless as it may seem, it will be better if Our5k is channeled to improving the power sector or boosting agriculture… something that can actually set about providing more and better employment opportunities for the unemployed youth. Better to teach a child how to fish than to spoon-feed such child every time, because the day will come when you will not fend for the child.
Ironically, it was APC senators that shouted the proposal down. Hopefully, efforts will be made to ensure the reason why the 5k conversation even came up is worked on. Otherwise, one will not have to witness young people going passionate about a Biafra cause or seeing the logic in strapping self with a bomb and sending self and many unsuspecting others scattered into the other side.
Rather, we should have young people coming together to start and maintain a truly progressive political party (or tech startup, or some project that is actually developmental), really convince fellow young people and get others outside our age range to give them the mandate to run affairs of the nation. But if we are to be groaning for a quick fix at level with ‘stomach infrastructure’, then it’s time we must look elsewhere to source for five months BIS subscription or the money for a hand job.