31 March 2014

The Ides of March 2014 and Goodluck Jonathan’s Deathly Body Language of Indifference

I didn't vote for Goodluck Jonathan in 2011. I didn't see anything ‘there’ for which to vote. I wasn't fooled by his impassioned speech of “I was not born rich” (which by the way, he pronounced the ‘ch factor’ way). I wasn’t prepared either to go with the argument, that he should earn my vote because, like me, he is a Christian from Southern Nigeria. Although the music for his expensive 2011 TV adverts was excellent, l knew leaders are not elected on the strength of their TV plugs.

I suppose people vote to elect leaders for various reasons.  Mine is very simple; you win my vote by being a visionary. It was evident Goodluck Jonathan couldn’t articulate one, and that to me meant he was not qualified. Interestingly, I was not hopelessly disheartened after he won the election. I retracted to the Nigerian pseudo-religious type that no one could be king without the knowledge of the Almighty. As a result of this, I began to hope that he would succeed, I hoped he would pull up a surprise and put people like me to shame.

So here we are in March 2014, I am still hoping, but unable to rid from my mind the stare-you-in-the-eyes fact that Feb/March 2014 witnessed Boko Haram’s fiercest and probably most vicious attack on Nigeria’s young, women and vulnerable. It was this period that the dreaded terrorist group slaughtered 59 students in their school in Yobe and killed hundreds in the markets. In most decent societies, the President would lead the country in mourning the dead, especially because the killings happened close on the heels of each other. Not so in Goodluck Jonathan’s Nigeria. A few days after the massacres, our President proceeded with a lavish gala to celebrate the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation. He invited ‘the great and the good’ perhaps, one should say ‘the ugly and the bad’. They dined on the graves of the students killed in Yobe and those of the mothers and children beheaded in the villages surrounding Maiduguri.

March was also the month that the President honoured every dictator who had ruled Nigeria including the despotic Abacha who reigned with terror between 1993 and 1998.  It was at the same event that Babangida, who institutionalised corruption in Nigeria, had the effrontery to suggest that young people of today should emulate people like him.

March was the month that 16 young Nigerians died when hundreds of thousands of Nigerian youths, like lambs being led into slaughter, were inhumanely invited to stadiums across the country, ostensibly, to sit for a qualifying examination into the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS). We now know better. 710,000 applicants were processed for a derisory 5000 places. At 1000 naira per head, the people who oversaw the exercise made 710 million naira. Add to that 3000 naira per head that participants were made to pay to buy white shorts and vest that they had to wear at the event (heavens know why), that’s another 2.3 billion naira that lined their pockets. This was the real reason Abba Boro, the Minister for Internal Affairs would risk the lives of many vulnerable, unemployed Nigerians. Worse still, and typical of this presidency and many Nigerian leaders, the heartless Minister came on television and announced that the young men and women died because they were impatient. What a cheek? Goodluck Jonathan of course is ‘monitoring’ the situation. His best reaction was to announce automatic employment for victims’ family. Less than two weeks later, he’d gone to Rome to visit the Pope. We all know that Italy had had its fair share of economic and political turbulence in recent years. We also know that after the fiddling of Nero, Italian leaders knew better to stay in Rome to fix things. However, in Nigeria, Nero Jonathan goes to Rome to see the Pope whilst the country burns.

March 2014 was the month of three different fuel scarcity periods, each lasting almost one week. Fuel scarcity means long queues, long traffic, and long-suffering masses.

March was the month that Fayose - disgraced from office in 2006 for ruining Ekiti State and still facing corruption charges was selected as the governorship candidate in the upcoming election for the same state by the President’s party. PDP wants to win the state at all costs; all the better even if it takes an alleged fraudster and known thug to do this for them.

March 2014 was the month Diezani Allison Maduekwe’s 10 billion Naira jet scandal broke. Apparently the Minister of Petroleum, one of the closest allies of the President had been spending €500,000 monthly to maintain an aircraft for her personal use. 

It was the month 23 people were thankfully freed from kidnappers in Soka community along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Human skulls and body parts were discovered in and around the premises, evidence, they say, of ritual killings and dealings in body parts.  One inmate, an old lady, had been held since 2008. The disused building had witnessed gory details of others who met a worse fate than those freed.

I am saddened not only by the situation of things in Nigeria, but more so by the indifference, sheer incompetence, and impudence of the president.  The questions that come to mind are:

  1. 1.     Would President Jonathan have proceeded on his lavish gala if his daughters were amongst the Yobe students massacred by Boko Haram?
  2. 2.     Would he have prevaricated if his son was amongst the 16 massacred by the greed of the Interior Minister to make 710 million Naira from vulnerable, young unemployed Nigerians?
  3. 3.     Would the President have honoured Abacha if like the Rewanes, the Yar-Aduas, the Abiolas, the Onagoruwas, the Ibrus and many more, Abacha had killed or maimed his family members?

Last December, the Speaker of the House of Representative, a member of the President’s party said quite rightly, that President Jonathan‘s body language appears to encourage corruption. With these deadly ides of March 2014 in Nigeria, my observation is that the President’s body language to the needless deaths and sufferings of Nigerians is that of indifference. This to me is heartlessness. PostcardfromLagos

28 February 2014

Gala - Powering the Masses - A case for adopting it as a Financial Index

It’s essentially sausage or beef roll, but in Nigeria, it is known as ‘Gala.’ Manufactured by UACN, this piece of beef encased in pastry is one of the drivers of the mass populace. I have known Gala for as long as I have known myself. As a little boy, I used to appreciate family members who brought this delicacy from Lagos or Ibadan during their visits. My siblings and me would share one roll amongst us, the taste never forgotten for days afterwards.

Nowadays Gala has other competing sausage or beef rolls in in the market, they are however still collectively referred to as Gala, a testimony to the power of the Gala brand.

I haven’t eaten one in a very long time, certainly not within the past 25 years, but of its utility, there is no doubt. You only need to drive or be driven on Lagos roads to appreciate the role this small roll plays in powering the Nigeria populace and in effect driving the economy.

Many people swear by Gala in their commute to and from work. At 50 Naira a shot, it is an inexpensive and quick way of filling the tummy ‘with something’. Aided and abetted by the Lagos traffic, street sellers of Gala earn a living from commuters for whom Gala is a sure way of keeping body and soul together until they arrive at their respective destinations. I have no statistics on the number of Galas sold daily, but it is not impossible that consumption would be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions.

Why is Gala so popular, first, it is cheap and affordable, secondly, it is said to be filling, and most importantly it benefits from the tremendous goodwill that its manufacturer, UAC of Nigeria, enjoys amongst Nigerians.

If ever Nigeria’s Finance Ministry decides to adopt a product as an alternate currency or as a financial index, say to measure GDP parity, the humble Gala will surely get my vote.

In any case, given that a packet of gala is 50 Naira, it means that going by the 2011 figure of $273 billion, Nigeria’s GDP is worth 8 trillion Galas. Not bad for a newly minted MINT economy. PostcardfromLagos

31 January 2014

Bye-bye BRICs, Hello MINT Countries, Open Season for Open Letters, and The Trauma of Darkness.

Open Season for Open Letters
It’s the season of open letters in Nigeria. Triggered by former president Olusegun Obasanjo who, late last year, wrote an open letter to current president Goodluck Jonathan, it appears everyone have suddenly discovered their letter-writing gift. President Obasanjo’s letter was speedily followed by an unflattering response from his daughter, Iyabo who used to be a senator. Not to be outdone, Goodluck Jonathan responded to Obasanjo, you guessed it, through an open letter.

Whilst Nigerians were digesting this letter-writing exercise, Edwin Clark, the current president’s kinsman brought in an ethnic dimension by lambasting Obasanjo via an open letter for daring to write to Goodluck Jonathan. It is not impossible that there may be other actors in this open letter saga that have escaped my radar.

Of course, this being Nigeria, we are not exactly sure if all the letters were genuine. Ibrahim Babangida who ruled Nigeria between 1985 and 1993 came out a few days ago to denounce an open letter to the current president purportedly written by him. There is also a cloud over whether Iyabo Obasanjo was the author of the letter to her father.

Although this whole affair is a diversion from the different woes we are facing at the moment, the exercise provide a comical, if not stress-relieving drama to the theatre that is Nigeria. Keep them coming please!

The Trauma of Darkness
It’s dark at night in Lagos these days. Much more than it used to be. No one really knows why, but the speculation is that the thermal station that serves Lagos is operating at half its capacity. This means electricity is rationed. If we are lucky we get two to four hours in a day, and none at all in many instances.

What makes this different is the extended period of the problem and the fact that everyone everywhere in the city seems to be affected making it the subject of discussion on people’s lips.

The consequence is that more than ever before, the sound of generators rends the air day and night. And when their owners are tired of burning cash just to catch a good night rest, the darkness returns, albeit with an eerie silence not dissimilar to what you will experience in a scary movie.
What’s more; at this time of the year, it’s getting hotter too. So it’s a triple whammy trauma for most people at night – no electricity so no respite from the heat, mosquitoes have a field day feasting on those who sleep uncovered. And all of these happening in the dark.

Given the daily trauma of the average Nigerian, I wonder how the President manages to sleep at night with his conscience intact.

Bye-bye BRICs, Hello MINT Countries
Forget the G8, the G20, or BRIC(S) countries, here comes the new kids on the block – the MINT countries comprising of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey.

These countries are tipped to become the next economic powerhouses with Nigeria predicted to rank 13th in world GDP by 2050. Analysts believe that the growing population of these countries, the plentiful supply of labour and their strategic geographical location will drive their economies faster than many other countries.

What is not in doubt about Nigeria is the resilience of the people. The fact that there is any growth at all in Nigeria is incredible given our perilous power situation. Analysis reveals that 170 million people in Nigeria share about the same amount of power that is used by 1.5 million people in the UK. What this means is the potential for growth is limitless if we can improve power generation.

I am happy about this type of news but I am also pragmatic enough to accept it for what it is - a prediction. I desperately wish it happens. I believe it can happen. However, I know enough that we have very little economic activities in Nigeria compared to the other MINT countries.

I also know enough that we are a consumer nation whose citizens order plastic from China, hair from Peru and fabric from Turkey. In the last three weeks alone, two close friends have been to Turkey on fabric related tours.

So can it happen? Yes it can. But we will need more than economics to drive our economy forward. PostcardfromLagos

30 November 2013

E ku Owo L'omi - To Call a Spade a Spade or Not To? - Language, Flowery Words, Yarns, and Stories

My adventures in Nigeria is filled with all manners of stories and intrigues. Some of these relate to my Yoruba tribe which in itself could pass for a nation on its own. I have rediscovered many of its rich approach to the use of words. In this short article I wrote many months ago, I shared some thoughts around this.

Many things in Yoruba language are unashamedly expressed literally without mincing words. This can often be embarrassing to both the listener and even the 'sayer'. For example, visiting the lavatory to do No 2 is literally expressed by the act in Yoruba. This can be cringing, crude and cruel to anyone who had the misfortune of asking where are you heading or where have you been. What the English language tries to hide in alternative, almost flowery words, the Yoruba language brings to the table raw and undiluted.

On the other extreme, Yoruba people can also be very frustrating in their habit of never calling a spade by its name particularly in their attempt to save face and maintain peoples dignity. To this end, speakers of the language often employ anecdotes, proverbs, flowery illustration and non-verbal but equally powerful communication tools to bring out a point.

For example, if you despise an advice, you will be told:
'a dog on its way to getting lost will not heed the master's whistle'

If two or more people commit the same faux pas, you will hear:
'no partridge is taller than the other except the one that perches on a ridge.' In other words, none of you is better than the other

Sometimes you are expected to deduce the meaning of the proverb immediately. Occasionally, the proverb is intended to be completely shrouded in mystery in order to deliberately leave the listener clueless. It is also possible that the ‘sayer’ wants the listener to draw an inference from what was said, not unlike in a chemical test in the laboratory.  Sometimes, the 'sayer' only wants the listener to have a partial understanding because a full grasp gives everything away and may result in the listener not fully appreciating the value of what he has received. The Yoruba expression for this last approach is 'abo oro la nso fun omoluwabi, to ba de inu e, a di odindi.' In other words, 'a word is enough for the wise.'

In some cases, an expression of greeting is formed by the actions that an event triggers. For example,  at the birth of a new born baby, the Yoruba greeting is not a mere congratulations as it is in English. We say 'e ku owo l'omi' - which literally translates as 'congratulations for dipping your hands in water.' This will be odd if the context is not fully understood. 

A new baby means a higher level of laundry i.e. washing nappies and baby clothes. It also means twice-daily bath for the baby. Both of these mean that the parents have a higher level of interaction with water, hence the greeting.

It must be understood that this greeting originated before the age of washing machines or disposable nappies. In any event, some people don't have washing machines. Some parents also elect to use clothe nappies like we largely did for our children.

I decided to write this article following the birth of our children and coming face to face with a barrage of ‘e ku owo l'omi.’

So there you go. Yoruba people are brimming with paradoxes. On one hand, they fully express things that one should be coy about. On the other hand, they bank and hide words that should be readily spent, oftentimes in the name of saving peoples' faces or because they just want to do so. They also use situational actions to suggest a greeting. Little wonder the saying:

'owe leshin oro, oro leshin owe, b'oro ba sonu, owe la fi nwa.'


'proverbs are the vehicle for expressions; expressions are the vehicle for proverbs. When words fail you, a proverb will come to the rescue.'PostcardfromLagos'

01 October 2013

THE MISEDUCATION OF NIGERIA - the loss of content and the dumbing down of everything sacred

Every generation clings to a nostalgia of the past, refusing to let go of the umbilical chord that connects to the ‘good old days’. This is fair enough for each generation. Not so for the generation after them, many of who are repulsed by the constant glancing back and who may believe that advancement in technology, the Internet, the iPad, and 4G connections more than compensate for the loss of family values and a slower pace of living. In countries like China and India, this trade-off may be acceptable, however for Nigeria; it's a double whammy of losses. Our greatest problem is not just the loss of the good old days, but also the cataclysmic surrender of the future.

Although, it is generally believed that corruption is the major slayer of everything good in Nigeria; the time bomb is the mis-education of our people, the celebration of mediocrity and the resulting casualness of our youth. These unchecked bugs have surreptitiously but steadily stripped our nation and its people of everything decent, everything cultured and everything of value. Be it in our music, art, communication skills, church, politics, print media, literature, broadcasting, and banking, it’s like Nigeria has been stripped of every valuable asset by an evil business predator leaving us only with cheap dross. Sadly we appear not to appreciate the seriousness of this matter.

Poor Communication Skills
Someone once said, “the average Nigerian, when he’s NOT told, will not ask questions.” I also believe, that an average Nigeria, when he’s told, will not ask questions either. One of the major areas that expose our mis-education is the rarity of good communication skills. Many of our graduates find it extremely difficult to articulate their thoughts and be expressive. Worse still, they are blissfully unaware. In trying to appear posh, some of our young people miss the plot entirely, pronouncing 'time' as 'thyme', and ‘yes’ as ‘yels’; they jumble up their sentences and make no sense most of the time. Employers are understandably frustrated about having to painstakingly explain everything to a graduate employee just for him to grasp their bearing. Graduates on their part cannot understand why employers are being 'unnecessarily difficult.'  Rather than doing  something to baulk this trend, our professors, educationists and politicians fall over themselves to be the most popular user of 'big' English words that bear no correspondence with reality.

Instead of cutting edge programmes on our television stations, what we have are presenters attempting to speak in fake foreign accents. These novices parading themselves as 'pros' confine generations of Nigerians to communication backwardness with words like ‘WED-NES-DAY’ for ‘wednes/day’; ‘next tomorrow’; for ‘day after tomorrow’; and ‘de-ve-lope’ for ‘de-ve-lop.’  

Apart from the apparent pronunciation issues, our main national TV news lead with stories of the sitting president, vice president and senate president, in that order most nights irrespective of what is happening around the world. Silly me, what do I expect from a media house that has used the same theme song for over three decades. Rather than a self-introspection of its calamitous state, this same media house takes the mickey out of us all by gleefully referring to itself as the biggest in Africa. Obviously we are not fooled. In fact, when Nigerians see NTA, it is Shakespeare’s Sonnet 138 all over again: “When my love swears that she is made of truth / I do believe her, though I know she lies”.

Dumb and Dumber
We are engaged in a systematic dumbing down of everything sacred and everything good including our television shows. Out are ‘Cock Crows at Dawn,’ ‘Village Headmaster’, ‘Mirror in the Sun’, ‘The Masquerade’, ‘Baba Sala’, all of which were well-thought out dramas that illuminated minds and educated millions. In, are trash Nollywood movies, endless reality shows and round-the-clock hip-hop music. We seem to have occupied our miserable lives with reality shows and European football.

Our journalism is poor and the newspapers offer no learning articles or features to young people growing up. Our media do not do investigative journalism, and they have no seasoned writers either. A glance through a typical daily will show that they are mostly glorified advertisement pages littered with messages of congratulations to a charlatan who has just bought a doctorate degree from a bogus American university or a looter who has just been given his 20th chieftaincy title by an equally shameless traditional king.

Talking about traditional rulers, they once were the custodians of everything sacred and noble. Now their belly is their god. Bribed with the latest cars, they lose their voice of reason and respect. Through their inaction and greed, some of them connive with Governors and politicians to bleed their people dry.

We have massacred and plundered everything and we now have a nation stripped of its culture and sheared of its history. Whilst it may be true that dumbing down is a global phenomenon, particularly amongst young people in this computer age, the tragedy for Nigeria is that unlike many other countries we have nothing to fall back on. We do not have a huge manufacturing base like China or a local Silicon Valley like India. We have no great palaces, stately homes, parks or works of art that can provoke nostalgia like in European countries.  All these countries can afford to dumb down to some extent as they have counterbalancing infrastructure in people, the art, or technology. Nigeria just cannot afford to do the same.

Charlatans as heroes
In Nigeria, we lose our few heroes and replace them with charlatans. Rather than visionary leaders with real strategies for development, we have built a manufacturing line of motivational speakers who are long on words but short in content. And we celebrate them. We diminish the best of our traditions; we create what should be a passing fancy and make them tradition. We have a twisted code of honour, flattering and edifying political rogues and economic thieves at the expense of honest hardworking people.

We treat unmarried ladies badly; we believe that hard-working menial job workers, road sweepers, bus drivers, bricklayers, carpenters, and every blue-collar worker are sub-human.

We are slaves to what we should master and overbearing with things that are trivial; slaves to protocol; titles, and academic qualification, yet we shout in public, pick our nostrils and cannot make our health system work.

Fads over Values
In my view, the problem with our country is hardly the corruption of stealing money; it is the corruption of what is right, decent and good. It is the elevation of fads over values, instant-ness over process; reality shows over reality. Obviously this was long in coming, I should have noticed. Sometime in 2008, I was traveling outside Lagos. At the top of the hour, I wanted to find out what was happening around the world. I switched the radio on and searched for a station where I could listen to the news.  After going through a dozen stations and being confronted with one form of rap music or the other, I realised we were in a deep mess. No news bulletin, no current affairs programme, nothing to challenge the brain. I found out this was the norm, not a one off. Little wonder very few of our graduates and young people are anywhere near an acceptable level of intellectual capacity.

The new fad is to deny our children the privilege of speaking their mother tongue even when born and raised in Nigeria. In the process they still do not speak good English and they lose out of the balance and well roundedness offered by the rich anecdotes, stories, sayings, and folklores of their mother language.

Another fad is the standard for all pastors to talk the same way, carry themselves the same way, walk as if they are doing the ground a favour and teach funny doctrines such as 'prophet offerings' to unsuspecting, gullible and clearly lazy congregants. In the same churches, we have substituted dancing for praise, attending endless programmes for service and blind obedience to the pastor for following Jesus.

The Crumbling of People
It isn't just the crumbling of infrastructure therefore that is one of our greatest challenges; it is also the crumbling of people, of business expertise, of political savvy-ness, of seasoned civil servants, of culture, of manners, of excellence. This is evident in the inability to do anything well, and the safe ignorance of this. For example, it is believed that there is no known indigenous Nigerian company that has been going for 100 years. In the same vein, we have no definitive evidence of our history too, no known book or books that can be picked up to give an in-depth literature of the Nigerian journey. There is almost an artistic vulgarity to our un-repented walk-away from everything that tasks the brain. Our people do not want books and culture; they really don’t want to learn. What we eat and breathe is money and not knowing what to do with it.  

In comparison to other countries, the disparity is clear. Travelling on the tube in London, a good percentage of commuters carry a book. If you frequently use the same route, you will get to notice that the same commuter with the big book three days ago now has his head buried in a different big book. These are hardly professors but ordinary individuals challenging their brains daily. In Nigeria, we fill our times with entertainment, not education; gossip magazines, not books.

Somehow, we have accepted that saying ‘you are welcome’ is the way to welcome people, and putting a straw in a 1-litre carton of juice at a party is fine.  So it's not just in our communication that we have been mis-educated, it's also in our attitude and behaviour. We assume that we can keep other people's ‘change’, we place unrealistic demands on people and we make them enemies when they don't deliver. We think academic qualification equals education. We have no serious understanding of the notion of exposure.

We appear to have graduated from urbane people conscious of the value of a good name into an area-boy dance culture. Our core geology has been washed away, replaced by layers of sedimentary hogwash. Instead of the value of a good name, we celebrate criminals masquerading as politicians. The visionary efforts of true heroes past who pioneered TV, free education, rubber and cocoa plantations and industrial estates have been replaced by empty-barreled Governors whose only legacy are a dozen bus stops in four years of governance.

The Knowledge Disrespect
Our average university student cannot complete the basic Yoruba proverb, Omo ti o ba fe je asamu...He probably thinks Socrates is a Brazilian football international and that the Cold War was an actual battle fought with tanks and guns. He may not be able to name the first executive President of Nigeria and has no clue about NATO, the Warsaw Pact or Newton's First Law of Motion.

University education has been so badly decimated that our graduates require a master’s degree from foreign universities to be taken seriously by any employer. We no longer have public libraries, we can't easily walk into a cinema, we have no galleries for art, no science or cultural or historical museums. We no longer have Civics lessons that teach about king Jaja of Opobo, Oba Overami of Benin, and Nnamdi Azikiwe’s birth in Zungeru in 1904. The mis-education of Nigeria is no longer a time bomb; it has become a ticking time bomb.

We used to be the country of Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God, of Wole Soyinka, of quality magazines like Atoka and Aworerin; of good Yoruba books like Kadara, and Aja lo leru; of the Pacesetters series, and of many authors in the African Writers Series. Only a quarter of a century ago, book reading was the right of passage into teenage-hood, to now find anyone in Nigeria who reads a book or weekly magazine by habit is as rare as the Haley’s Comet.

Music and the Art
Our musicians used to make sense with their songs. Bongos Ikwue sang of meaningful paradox in order to make a point:

Show me a virgin in a maternity ward
Show me sunrise that comes from the west
Show me a river that never flows
Show me a woman who will never fall in love

Sonny Okosun was a freedom fighter through his many songs such as Fire in Soweto, and Papa's Land. With music, he was able to capture the suffering of South Africans, Namibians and Zimbabweans in the 70s and 80s. Through his music, he single handedly created in me the awareness of justice and probably sowed in me the desire to use politics to effect change. All these before I was 10. Nowadays however, everyone - young people, old people, male and female, corporate bigwigs and responsible housewives, politicians and lecturers, pastors and Imams, area boys and church congregation are all into the Yahooze dance or alanta. My firm belief is that a nation is in trouble when its housewives, politicians and criminals share the same values and dance to the same tune.

Mortgaging the Future
I once had a conversation with a young man who needed money to purchase an application form for his GCSE. He routinely mentioned that he would take the examination at a ‘special centre’ where invigilators will assist them to cheat for a fee. When I challenged him about this, he looked at me as if I was the strange one. Our mis-education is complete when you are considered strange for questioning a fraudulent behaviour.

I’m often worried about how the future will pan out with the crop of people being raised in the country at the moment. I’m worried not only for the future of the country but also for the people as I foresee a form of intellectual servitude to expatriates if things don’t change. It could be argued that this is already happening as more and more companies are recruiting Nigerians abroad to key corporate and public positions, a phenomenon that puts homegrown graduates in the long grass.

The Future
I have deliberately analysed things the way I see them. Despite the unwholesome picture, I am optimistic about the future. Firstly, because it is the most pragmatic thing to do. If I’m not, I shall be giving in to the people who have systematically raped our country. A better attitude is to continue working, in my own little way, to address the problem. I am committed to this. In any event, it is because of this optimism that I am motivated to do what I do.

Secondly, I am optimistic because I know the solution to our problem is easy. We need education, education, and education. Good education liberates people and changes mindsets. Attempting to arrest the problem after university or with youth empowerment programmes is too late; what we need is a comprehensive educational strategy that ensures every child has a good grounding in life. This policy will also include a complete strategy to train skilled artisans in plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, tailoring, building, motor mechanic etc.

We also need visionary leaders to make this happen. Although it appears we lack this at the moment, it isn’t because we don't have them in our midst; they are just not in leadership yet. They will soon. 

Gbenga Badejo is the publisher of PostcardfromLagos.com. He is also a Principal Partner at ParkRoyal & Lagos Finishing School