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Buhari under fire for saying youths want everything free

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari came under fire on Thursday for criticising youths who he said “do nothing” and want everything for “free” in the oil-rich country.

Buhari, who declared earlier in April he is seeking re-election in 2019, made the remark on Wednesday at a business conference in London.

“A lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming, you know, that Nigeria has been an oil producing country therefore they should sit and do nothing and get housing, health care, education, free,” said Buhari.


The comment touched a nerve West Africa’s largest economy, which suffers from high unemployment and lacks basic government services, including running water and electricity.

Most business and homes rely on private generators for power and buy water privately, while many Nigerians make their living in the informal sector, working as small business owners.

Nigeria’s former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, who is also running for president for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lambasted Buhari.

“I will never refer to Nigeria’s youth as people who sit and do nothing,” the 71 year old said on Facebook, adding that youth were the “backbone” of the country.

Another presidential hopeful Adamu Garba said Buhari was being “humorous with our national pride”.

The Daily Post newspaper said the 75-year-old former general was “attacking” youth while the Daily Trust accused him of calling them “lazy”.

On Thursday morning, the hashtag #LazyNigerianYouths was trending on Twitter, with young Nigerians blasting the government.

“The government never created anything for me, I feed from my hustle and yet they say we are lazy,” said one tweet.

– Buhari off message –

Despite the uproar, Buhari’s comments are unlikely to play any serious role at the presidential polls next year, political analyst Saheed Animashaun said.

“First, a huge section of youths who are going to vote are not going to be aware of that comment,” Animashaun said.

“Two, when the election time comes next year, they will have forgotten about this”

Buhari has previously veered off message when speaking off the cuff on overseas trips.

In 2016, Buhari told Britain’s Daily Telegraph that Nigerians were difficult to “accept” abroad because of their reputation for criminality, specifically human and drug trafficking.

Later that year, Buhari said that his wife Aisha “belongs to my kitchen” on a visit to Germany, after she suggested she would not support him if he sought a second term of office.

The remarks earned him a stoney glare from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“The president has not had a media chat in a while, and I’m sure it’s deliberate, he has a tendency to say something off mark, so his aides will try as much as possible to avoid free speech,” Animashaun said.

Nigeria’s combined youth unemployment and underemployment rate hovered around 50 percent in late 2017 following the country’s worst economic recession in 25 years.

The country came out of recession last year but growth outside the lucrative oil sector remains tepid, constrained by a lack of education and infrastructure.

Nigeria is home to more than 180 million people, with 63 percent of the population living below the poverty line, according to the IMF in a March 2018 report.

AFP

2 Comments

  1. "Nigerian youths are lazy & uneducated. Always wanting free oil money" ~ PMB

    ME: Sir, you are absolutely correct. One of the lazy Nigerian youths who is enjoying free oil money had an accident with the power bike he bought with free oil money not too long ago, and he was flown abroad for treatment with free oil money, then he hired a jet with free oil money from London to Abuja after his treatment.

    Sir, I completely agree with you that the Nigerian youths are lazy and uneducated and always wanting free oil money. Their role models are in Aso Rock enjoying free oil money without even solving any problem for the country. When they are ill, they fly abroad for medical vacation with free oil money.

    Why would anyone disagree with you that the Nigerian youths are uneducated? It's very obvious. That's why they don't even know their rights. They keep defending your ineptitude.

    You enjoyed free education as a young man, but today the youths are deprived of basic education. You were a governor, a petroleum commissioner and ahead of states as a youth, but today, youths are on social media defending your failures.

    Honestly, I agree with you that the Nigerian youths are lazy, that's why you ruled Nigeria as a youth and have also grabbed the job as an old man. The youths are too ignorant to even know the implication of your comments. They don't even know you and your fellow old men are doing jobs they should ordinarily be doing.

    Sir, the most interesting aspect of this your truth is that you said it in a country where their government provides basic infrastructures, almost free education, free WiFi, free health care, almost free investment loans for their youths. While, in your own country, these lazy and uneducated youths, provide their own electricity, schools, security, roads, healthcare etc.. Yet, the indolent youths use their "free oil money" to buy mobile data to defend your ineptitude.

    Sir, let me remind you that we have seen so many Nigerian youths who were almost useless in Nigeria, but when they cross over to the western world, they suddenly begin to excel in different fields of endeavor. What do you think is responsible for their positive output in the foreign land? Your guess is as good as mine, Sir- The difference is not farfetched. A responsible government plan for their youths and create enabling environment for the youths to be able to create wealth and contribute to National development. Can we say the same of your own country? Certainly Not! Instead, we have lazy, uneducated youths who would hang on telecommunication masts and electric cables to shout SAI BABA when you visit their states. I only wish they knew better.

    Sir, Finally, let me ask you, Sir, apart from the free oil money we have been paying you since your days as a youth till date, what have you been able to make out for yourself on your own? Do you have thriving businesses that are providing employment for the Nigerian youths? Have you invented anything on your own? Sir, you can now see that this free oil money is what has kept you going for over 50 years. Perhaps this laziness is not limited to the youths alone, I guess some 75-year-old incompetent presidents are also lazy and love free oil money, that's why they want to remain in power till they are 80 years old. If we take away the free oil money we have been paying you and audit your life, are you sure you will have any worth, Sir?

    I leave you to your conscience, Sir.#copied#

  2. Mathias Ajaba Reply

    Chei!
    Bro, I can't agree less that you are a good writer.
    And the good for nothing, deaf and Dumb will still want to contest

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