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Femi Pedro: Buhari and the Curious Case of the Young Generation

Femi Pedro

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Femi Pedro 2Sometime in 1988, I received a call from a good friend about an interesting investment opportunity with a few colleagues. After a series of meetings, it became very clear to me that we were about to embark on an audacious but incredibly special journey, and I was excited about the prospect of being a part of such a project. For almost 2 years, I worked alongside the likes of Akin Akintoye, Fola Adeola, Tayo Aderinokun (of blessed memory), Gbolly Osibodu, Bode Agusto and a few others on this investment project. As of 1988 when we began the journey, Fola was 34, Tayo was 33, Gbolly was 33, Bode was 33, Akin was 35 and I was 33. The objective: To own a BANK.

It was a bold objective considering our respective ages at the time, but certainly not an impossible task in our eyes. So we began to hold countless meetings at Fola’s residence in 1988, until we eventually shifted base to Tayo’s First Marina Trust office in Victoria Island. By late 1989, we were ready to put in our bank application at CBN, along with the required minimum capital. This effort was spearheaded by Fola and Tayo (the two brains behind the entire operation), and supported by about 40 persons (including myself), most of whom were in their early 30s and working for different organizations at the time. The end product? We formed arguably one of the finest financial institutions Nigeria has ever seen- Guaranty Trust Bank (known as GT Bank today). The bank was licensed on the 1st of August, 1990 and we commenced banking operations later that year. A group of young boys in their early/mid 30s OWNED a bank! We simply dreamt big, and turned this dream into reality.

I am taking the liberty to reflect on this chapter of my personal history against the backdrop of some of the criticism about the ages of some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees. The argument being brandished about is that by nominating the likes of Chief Audu Ogbeh and Alhaji Ibrahim, Usman Jubril as ministers, our President is somehow blocking the destinies of younger Nigerians by preventing them from occupying such positions. People are quick to reference Yakubu Gowon and Murtala Mohammed as being relatively young when they ascended to power, and they argue that the same opportunities that young people had in the past are no longer available today. They also argue that around the same time we were forming GT Bank in the late eighties, there were also a number successful young entrepreneurs who distinguished themselves as well – Bola Tinubu (Treasurer at Mobil Oil), Gbade Ojora (ED Mobil Oil), Jim Ovia (Zenith Bank), Erastus Akingbola (Intercontinental), Dele Momodu (Publishing), Tony Elumelu (Standard Trust), Liyel Imoke (Politics), O’tega Emerhor (Standard Alliance Insurance), Aig Imoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe (Access) and Atedo Peterside (IBTC) are some of the noteworthy youngsters who made an impact in various fields in Nigeria at the time.

Perhaps, at play is the venting of some on-going frustrations by the younger generation today, but it is important to put things into proper perspective. Since pre-independence, the Nigerian youth have played a pivotal role in nation-building and economic development. The vast majority of the founding fathers that led the struggle for our independence were relatively young. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was 37, Akintola was 36, Ahmadu Bello was 36, Balewa was 34 and Enahoro was 27 when they led the struggle for independence after the death of Sir Herbert Macaulay. Only Nnamdi Azikiwe was over 40 (he was about 42 at the time). Indeed, even the post-independence military hierarchy was fueled by the active participation of young persons in nation-building at critical periods of our nation’s history. The first coup in 1966 was led by a 29 year-old Nzeogwu and countered by the likes of T.Y. Danjuma, Shehu Musa Yar’adua and a few others, all in their 20s. The subsequent coup brought a 32 year-old Yakubu Gowon into power. Many of the military administrators who governed the states under successive military governments (including our current president, Muhammadu Buhari) were in their 30s. Similarly, the major beneficiaries of Nigerian indigenization policies in the early 70s were young private sector entrepreneurs. The likes of Subomi Balogun, Oladele Olasore, Sam Asabia blazed the trails in banking at relatively young ages, while super civil servants such as Allison Ayida, Phillips Asiodu, Ahmed Joda, Ime Ebong, Ibrahim Damcida etc held forth in public administration in their early 30s. This trend of young people playing active roles in nation building and economic activities continued well into my own generation in the 1980s and 90s, so it is not difficult to understand how we were able to muster the courage and determination to forming a bank at the time.

I have spent a lot of time mentoring, observing and interacting with young Nigerians. Today’s youth are no different from those of my generation about 30 years ago. They are faced with the same pressures, frustrations, uncertainties and life vicissitudes that we faced in our late twenties and early thirties. However, the marked difference is how young Nigerians apply themselves today. Most of us who made an impact in our early thirties came from modest means. We were not rich, and we did not have any noteworthy inheritance. Nobody did us any favours, and the older generation did not give us a pass or a nudge in the right direction. In fact, the military administrations at the time made it extremely difficult for us to participate optimally in business, governance and politics. We did not have social media, and there was no technology to aide our goals. We were simply big dreamers determined to make a difference. We were highly enlightened and career-oriented, so we were able to force our way through the door by working extremely hard. What some of the proponents of the argument against the older ministerial nominees, (and perhaps the older generation currently dominating the political and economic landscape) also fail to realize or remember is that even in my early thirties, we also had very established and older industrialists like MKO Abiola, Sam Asabia, Gamaliel Onosode etc, who all operated during our time. We respected them, but neither felt overwhelmed by their success, nor daunted by the prospects of climbing up the ladder. We simply forged ahead with our plans and damned the consequences. The point is nobody cleared the way for us back then, so young Nigerians today should not expect that anyone would clear the way for them either.

So what exactly needs to change amongst young Nigerians today? First, young Nigerians have to humble themselves. You have to be willing to learn the ropes and hone your craft. Around the age of 27, I left the relative comfort of a steady career at CBN to learn under the tutelage of Otunba Subomi Balogun, the visionary and pioneer behind FCMB. Working as Otunba Subomi Balogun’s executive assistant was an experience of a lifetime. He was (and still is) a well-organized and thorough individual. He strongly promoted excellence and perfection, and did not condone indolence, laziness or poor quality work. He was also an impeccable dresser, always elegantly attired in all-white traditional wear or perfectly tailored quality suits. I picked up these virtues and adopted his style of leadership and management in my future endeavors. I was opportune to travel with him to attend corporate and other board meetings. I gained valuable and practical experiences in corporate board management and boardroom politics, which became useful tools later in my career.

Secondly, you must know your worth. Do not settle for less, and do not allow yourselves to be used by selfish political interests. Challenge the status-quo. Challenge the establishment. The youth make up a sizeable portion of the Nigerian populace. By extension, they have the loudest voices and the biggest potential. Alan Moore, a prominent British author opined that “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people”. This is especially true with regards to young Nigerians. You are more powerful than you give yourselves credit for. Our current president was victorious in large part due to the votes cast by young Nigerians, and you must continue to remind yourselves of this fact, because 2019 is already fast approaching.

Thirdly, and crucially, young Nigerians have to eliminate distractions. Do not get carried away by the allure of good living, bling, fame and fortune. Stay on the straight-and-narrow path. Distractions are the proverbial pot-holes; they slow you down from reaching your destination and damage your wheels in the process. By all accounts, social media is obviously the biggest distraction. It is a powerful tool, but can also derail you from focusing on the bigger picture. The most discerning amongst you will know how to navigate social media without hindering your ability to make significant inroads in the economic and political fabric of Nigeria. I have been impressed with what the likes of Linda Ikeji, BellaNaija, Don Jazzy, TY Bello, Jimi Mohammed, Banke Meshida-Lawal and other young Nigerians have been able to accomplish at such a young age, and it should serve as an inspiration to other young Nigerians in various fields as well.

Finally, take advantage of opportunities, no matter how small or inconsequential they may be at the time. Expect no helping hands. And when these opportunities present themselves, grab what you can. During our cabinet meetings, my boss and mentor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu always quipped that “Power is never served a-la-carte”. This is indeed true in the context of where young Nigerians currently are, and where they need to be.

Our nation is at a critical crossroads. The age bracket between 18-35 years constitutes the majority of our working population group, and naturally, they should be the most productive and active segment of our country’s economic activity and nation-building efforts. Unfortunately, the youth of today are indolent, unemployed and generally incapacitated. Some are unable to make ends meet, and have not shown any sustained interest in holding leadership position. They abstain from holding governance positions at the local, state and national levels. Ironically and confusingly, they allow themselves to be used as street (and very recently, internet/online) thugs, miscreants and protesters to pursue the selfish agendas of older politicians.
Despite all of this, I have a lot of faith in the youth of today, but young Nigerians need to start having faith in themselves as well. You need to wake up from your slumber, and pilot the much-needed change process urgently. You must be willing to side-step all the pit-fall distractions and refocus your collective mindsets. You have to be guided by a desire to excel, and you must continue to push yourselves to grow in a tough, competitive and cut-throat environment that still exists today. Who knows? With a bit of conviction, commitment and guile, you may be able to produce a young, vibrant and dynamic Nigerian as our President much sooner than you think!
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Otunba Femi Pedro is a Banker and an Economist. He is a former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, and the former Managing Director of First Atlantic Bank (FinBank) Plc. He can be reached via the Twitter Handle: @femipedro

Otunba Femi Pedro is a Banker and an Economist. He is a former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, and the former Managing Director of First Atlantic Bank (FinBank) Plc. He can be reached via the Twitter Handle: @femipedro

59 Comments

  1. Nahum

    October 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    End of discussion!!! Instead of coming here to whine and moan, go and do something with yourself. Learn the ropes, develop your skills so that you too can be nominated.

    • Wale

      October 16, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Well if Mr. Pedro’s generation had created an enabling environment for this generation – like pulling together their wealth philanthropically, to make sure they had a good educational foundation, providing uninterrupted electricity, philanthropic healthcare etc; and not just making their own money after creating “industry” and watching on the sideline while everything disintegrated before their eyes; Maybe, Maybe! the youth of today might not have been distracted by mediocre celebrities and their insolent lifestyles.
      The truth of the matter is that Mr. Pedro’s generation is also Dangote’s generation. They had so many unfair advantages. They were the ones that benefited most from the oil boom of the Obasanjo and Shagari era plus the IBB era of major embezzlement. In fact, the so-called banks and industries they claim they created were funded by stolen funds and cocaine money(from Abacha and IBB era) and of course Oil dollars. Did they reinvest in their communities? Yes, Fola created Fate Foundation-I don’t see any other person doing anything- What has Mr. Pedro been up to?
      Please give the present generation a break – I have not seen a more enterprising, innovative and resilient group of people like these my aburos. And they are surviving against all odds. I can’t even imagine where the country as a whole would have been today if they had access to half the quality education and progressive economy Mr. Pedro’s generation enjoyed, especially when if coupled it like he alluded to, with the information age and internet technology we have now. A good benchmark-he mentioned our founding fathers Awo, Zik, the Military boys who ruled and fought for the unity of this country etc etc- guess what? they all had solid British education(here or abroad). These were times civil service worked effectively and everything functioned. And we saw the results, they were proud,disciplined and innovate men and women- the best we’ve seen so far.
      Today’s Nigerian youths would have been the most advanced in the world-and I mean this as a fact! I know my people and our un-limitless capabilities. We have sound youths, but they have been shortchanged by his generation, and then now- they are being blamed.
      Maybe it is time for Mr Pedro to contribute something tangible like Fola did-perhaps set up a foundation or get another appointment in this new administration that will empower him to make lasting change in the lives of our youths- This I say with a *wink*.

    • Leke

      October 18, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      Wale, you ‘re confused and I wonder why you still blame others for your foolishness. Thank you Mr. Pedro for the article. I’m sure this article will ginger lot of youths to be productive in their carreer. As for you Wale, continue to blame and very soon your children will blame you for your foolishness.

    • Jey

      October 19, 2015 at 9:33 am

      Thank you, Wale! GOD bless you! Thank you! I see Mr. Pedro’s points, including hard work and discipline, but you did hit the nail! Thank you!

    • Diuto

      October 16, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      Uche Eze Pedro’s father in law. Ok we have noticed you. Still doesn’t answer why the president has no youths on his ministerial team

    • Jey

      October 19, 2015 at 9:34 am

      I’m sorry! I’m doing these- and more – to dominate not to get nominated! SMH!

  2. Modupe

    October 16, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Some good points here, but a number of flawed points here too. His generation, when they built wealth, did not strive for ‘institutional changes’; by which today’s generation can strive on. They failed woefully, building empires, sucking up to the political elites and now wonder why today’s generation can not simply grab their rightful place. The 80-90s where the glory days, capital requirements for banks and banking licences were easier. Our institutions are broken, not fit for purpose,- it takes men and women of courage and conviction to build business empires and ensure govt policies serve the greater good.

    I am building food n bev factory right now. 3months to complete land searches at alausa, unable to get seed funding/ bank loans to build; yet you talk about your generation that built banks with no policies to support sme growth!

    Did your generation alert the regulators on weak FX policies, poor capital resilience of banks, money layering etc. I am a capitalist through and through but For our generation to strive whilst being straight and narrow is a tough call. The rut of our institutions, ran by your generation, still run being run by your generation is the cancer we need to kill. Death, I am afraid is the only answer.

    • Peaches77

      October 16, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Thank you!
      And how is this a response/defense for the argument on the scarcity of young people in PMB’s cabinet?? Mr Pedro, I struggle to see how all these beautiful points make a logical case.

    • Michael Ajayi

      October 16, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      You served your points and views conversely and sometime divergent. Getting N10 million or N50 million to start-up in the 90s is an herculean task. Infact daunting. Though some of the people he mentioned such as Tayo, Fola, Don Jazzy, Linda, BellaNaija made it through the wilderness.

      Modupe, irrespective of the challenge in getting funding, please do not allow your dream to die. Keep watering and nurturing. One day, very soon the light will shine through the dark tunnel for you.

    • Olu

      October 16, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      Lol. Mr Fola’s points are very valid. However I will take them with some caution. As regards Don Jazzy and Linda Ikeji, they represent the major distractions for the youths today. Times have changed and Capitalism does not work that way. If we go by what he wants, the polity will be imbalanced.

    • abb

      October 16, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      I think that is Femi’s point. Nobody is going to hand anything over to you in your quest for success. You have to fight fiercely for it. Obviously, there’s a loophool in the lending/financial system. A few men can’t fix all the loopholes. They have done their part, they have made mistakes, but the key is not to focus on their mistakes. Everyone can play a part, your own part can be starting an organization to fund SMEs who knows? Success is not a destination, it is a long journey that doesn’t end. I wish you all the best

    • Jey

      October 19, 2015 at 9:37 am

      It’s OK, Modupe! You CAN make it! Don’t worry, make sure you keep on the right track. I agree with you! WE SHALL OVERCOME, by the Grace!

  3. ElessarisEllendil

    October 16, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    “They abstain from holding governance positions at the local, state and national levels.”: Completely agree with this.

    “Unfortunately, the youth of today are indolent, unemployed and generally incapacitated.”: This though?????really??????? Last I checked, the youths of yesterday who were industrious, employed and fitter than us:

    1. Took one of Britain’s colonial gems and wrecked it in a space of 20 years, impressive???

    2. Stumbled through election and census rigging to outright genocide. Brilliant!???

    3. Destroyed democracy 3 times. Wondafu!!???

    4. Civil War. Oshe!! ???

    5. Structural Adjustment Program. Una try sha!!???

    6. Reduced production emphasis on products we had comparative advantage in(agriculture, industry) for crude oil which we don’t. Strategy!! ???

    7. Wasted Nigerian lives and fortune in Liberia, Congo, South Africa e,t,c, and in exchange got………..is that crickets I hear? ???

    8. Who can forget that one time when we had far too much money, that we didn’t know what to do with it? Generous! ???

    9. Left Nigeria with inferior infrastructure, education and healthcare despite witnessing three oil booms. Foresight!! ???

    10. Watched, China, Indonesia, Singapore, the Gulf States and India all countries we were richer than surpass us industrially, economically and scientifically. Only the youths of yesterday!!! ???

    11. Who can forget letting the dollar spiral from N1-$1 to $1=N225, how’s an indolent youth like myself to maintain my gaming habit????

    By the way, Most of us are unemployed because most of us still live in a region that does not emphasise education, Yes I’m talking about you Northern elites, do better!! And because they really aren’t jobs to be found, except those we create!

    I agreed completely with the article, more youths really should run for local and state offices, and second generation political sons already there should make more impact. But can the generation’s past stop making it seem like the present inherited Paradise and turned it to hell, you lot wrecked the country and odds are will leave us with its smoking wreck to salvage, accept responsibility!

    • molarah

      October 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      Hmmm. You have jumped into conclusions from information that cannot be found in his piece. If his post was about the political sphere, I’d agree with you, but he seems to be speaking mainly from the business view point. I also don’t see where he implied that youths of today are running the country aground, in fact he expresses hope in today’s youths. Let’s not jump at any opportunity to get antagonistic with the older generation when they express their opinions.

    • imose

      October 16, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Lolzzz!! You ehn!!

    • nene

      October 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      you have said it all. they damaged our future so where do the youths of today even start from. and the sad thing is that they have taught their children how to destroy and steal just like themselves. nigeria needs to be purged, and this country needs discipline.

    • Tosin

      October 18, 2015 at 9:50 am

      i actually abstain from holding pointless positions. i want US to lead, not ME to enter and chop and start singing GodWin up and down like a fool.
      This article is provocative but so limited. However, in Nigeria, it is good enough. That is why I’m sad. That’s why I’m pissed. At times like this, it’s just swear words that come to me. Let me put it gently: none of this is good enough. Try again. Think harder. Work harder. Or move.

    • Jey

      October 19, 2015 at 9:40 am

      OMG! I WISH I COULD SEE YOU AND HUG U! GREAT!!! THANK YOU!!!

  4. Dunni

    October 16, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Hmmm, powerful words! I needed to read this article. Everyone wants change, but we have to be the change that we want to see in the world. We are all more powerful that we give ourselves credit for.

    I have a great, well paying career abroad but for a while now I’ve been nurturing a couple of business ideas that I’d like to implement in Nigeria. I’ll start by putting my thoughts and vision on paper and go from there. Thank you sir.

  5. Wuzy

    October 16, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Lovely piece. Quite Inspiring!

  6. Gistyinka Blog

    October 16, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Nice and excellent write up Sir, you hit the nail from head to toe.

  7. Great Lady

    October 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    WORD!!!

  8. Abayomi

    October 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Can’t agree less sir, but I am puting it to you Otunba, you mention some mentors of yours whom you were able to worked with and learnt from eg Otunba Subomi Balogun, all this crisis that we are facing now were the rot created by those young enterpreneurs of 80s nd 90s, as we have the oil boom then so we have the banking boom, when everyone of us wanted a banking job, but what do we have in there now “get that account or get sack”. Our economic and political landscape now don’t give room for we youth of today to thrive than to be what you termed as errand boy to satisfy your ego. But one day my generation will rise up and kill that monster created by some “shylock” among the yesteryears ace holders

  9. Bee

    October 16, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I think some of us are focusing on the wrong things, which is exactly what Femi Pedro is trying to say.
    Nothing good comes easy. True, the challenges we face now seem to be more than what they faced in their time. But, the truth is there will always be challenges when you’re on the path to greatness.
    I think triumph comes when we overcome those challenges, in whatever form they come.
    For me honestly, I think anything is possible if you actually put your mind to it. But, my fear is I’m not sure our young citizens actually know how hard it is to be a leader in Nigeria, but I guess we will never know, if we don’t experience it.

  10. Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju

    October 16, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Femi Pedro’s analysis misses the point, perhaps deliberately, and is also an insult to Nigerian youth, possibly demonstrating the ‘use them’ mentality significantly evident in some strategies by members of Nigeria’s political class.

    First, Buhari’s failure to groom anyone for national leadership, but insisting on putting himself and himself alone forward four times after he had been head of state through a coup 30 years ago should have alerted anyone to the mentality of this politician.

    Such a man who centres authority and opportunity on himself over such a range of time and into that age should not be expected to see particular value in giving opportunities to youth.

    Secondly, Buhari’s list is primarily about about rewarding the operational core of his political apparatus, as represented by politics in its pre-information age dynamics, bcs that might be the style of politics Buhari understands best.

    This means he first rewarded his CPC cronies, the people who were with him in the wilderness represented by his first three attempts at the Presidency.

    He then rewarded his recent APC cronies, who enabled his eventual victory by helping him win the votes he needed from the South.

    The other appointees may be understood as figures in ‘boots on the ground’ politics and social life, the traditional politics of deal making and physical interaction, as contrasted with the politics of the social media, which also played a central role in Buari’s victiory but which he might not adequately appreciate bcs he might not adequately understand that dimension of contemporary politics.

    I dont believe this summation from Pedro is correct:

    “Our nation is at a critical crossroads. The age bracket between 18-35 years constitutes the majority of our working population group, and naturally, they should be the most productive and active segment of our country’s economic activity and nation-building efforts. Unfortunately, the youth of today are indolent, unemployed and generally incapacitated. Some are unable to make ends meet, and have not shown any sustained interest in holding leadership position. They abstain from holding governance positions at the local, state and national levels. Ironically and confusingly, they allow themselves to be used as street (and very recently, internet/online) thugs, miscreants and protesters to pursue the selfish agendas of older politicians”.

    Is Pedro declaring that the majority of Nigerian youth are “indolent, unemployed and generally incapacitated… unable to make ends meet, and have not shown any sustained interest in holding leadership position. They abstain from holding governance positions at the local, state and national levels[ allowing themelves to be used as ] ..internet/online) thugs, miscreants and protesters to pursue the selfish agendas of older politicians”?

    The APC used Nigerian youth in gaining its victory and turns round to ignore and insult those youth.

    Without the massive and ferocious pro-Buhari mobilisation on Facebook and elsewhere online whistewashing a person whose candidacy ought to have been dead on arrival with youth outside his Northern Muslim base on account of his image being antithetical to modern values, would Buhari have won the Southern votes that made his victory possible?

    I dont think so.

    That campaign was not driven by traditional ‘boots on the ground’ politics,but by many youth or relatively young people, male ands female, who worked tirelessly to promote APC and Buhari, from the leadership, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, of and prominent figures in the group Spaces for Change to prominent figures in Femi Adeoya’s Skyrtrend News to the relentless campaign presented as news reporting by Sowore’s Sahara Reporters to Kayode Ogundamisi ( in my view a misguided activist in this cause bcs Buhari is the opposite of what he is supposed to stand for) and others who mobilised to create a modernised, youth relevant image for Buhari that brought him out of the anachronism where he rightly belongs.

    Anyway, this betrayal does not suprise me.

    I always knew the APC was just another arrangement by soldiers of fortune to seize power, this time fulfilling the clamour of ‘power must return to the North’ which has been rising since 2011, in this case primralil with the help of some groups in the South-West which Buhari has clearly depicted as a junior partner in this enterprise.

    • Tosin

      October 16, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      at least next time the youth will give themselves brain. learning experience.

    • Olu

      October 16, 2015 at 5:46 pm

      Sir, you of all men are smart in thinking. Cheers

    • molarah

      October 16, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      “The APC used Nigerian youth in gaining its victory and turns round to ignore and insult those youth.”

      This exactly is what Mr Pedro is referring to! Why, o why, with our level of strength, dynamism and intelligence as youths will we allow ourselves to be used by anyone or any group? That’s our problem right there, and as he rightly identified this problem is being driven by need for quick wealth. A lot of youths decided to use their God-given talents and wit that could have been channeled into productive endeavours to spend hours hurling online attacks at opponents during the last campaign season. They are the dumbos here, because the paymasters laugh last.

      And the earlier we break away from this constant tribal linkages we keep trying to draw, the better for us as a country.

    • LL

      October 23, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Thank You! the youths are obviously fine with being used if it will bring them temporary comfort and fame. If we ignore the points this man has made because we feel he came from privilege, then we are really in trouble. They started a bank which was what they could start then. Times have changed and even though it may not be easy to start a bank, technology has made it easy to start other businesses which may become the equivalent of what a bank is. Why are we so short-sighted?

    • nunulicious

      October 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      Bros, I tried really hard to make sense of this your response but mehn its not jes werking!
      Chai, see the whole epistle you have constructed and I can summarise it in one word, all na EXCUSES!
      na you miss the point. Why are you politicizing the matter?

    • Tosin

      October 18, 2015 at 10:37 am

      so i went out and found your blogs. learning experience.

  11. anaonymous

    October 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Oga, I beg to disagree, our generation has its own challenges but una generation no try na.

    It’s bad enough that your lot destroyed the economy but you have celebrated mediocrity and evil.

    Do you know how many youths have ambition but the environment doesn’t help matters?

    Yes the youths of today have our bad sides but your generation has no moral right to talk. Except that you are our parents and we are obligated by God and culture to respect and honor elders.

  12. Olu

    October 16, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Lol. Mr Fola’s points are very valid. However I will take them with some caution. As regards Don Jazzy and Linda Ikeji, they represent the major distractions for the youths today. Times have changed and Capitalism does not work that way. If we go by what he wants, the polity will be imbalanced.

    • juwalo

      October 24, 2015 at 12:20 am

      The most I don’t able to take away fro this article however cynical I find I I that, where I th generation young people alliance? Where is th GTB of the today? It seem young people are just waiting for crumbs to be handed to them, when we could be forming the alliance that cannot be ignored. Fola Adeola could have become VP, Femi Pedro Gov of Lagos. Anyway it’s never too late to a that call

  13. Tosin

    October 16, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Please help me and summarize.

  14. Olu

    October 16, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Mr Pedro, before I forget. May I ask, where are your children presently? Where did they school? If not Nigeria, why not? Who destroyed the educational sector and institutions? You mentioned Don Jazzy, that’s your undoing sir with all respect. Those are the same people they taught us not to be like while I was in school because they fed the society with wrong misleading message and wrong inspiration. He may have made couple of billions early but his success is only fuelled by a lot of Nigerian youths distractions.
    Sir, your points are valid as regards youths working hard but your analysis is very wrong.

    • lotusflower

      October 16, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      Thank you for saying this. All of the youth that he mentioned- BN, Linda Ikeji, Don Jazzy etc- are all in industries that most parents from his generation discouraged their children from getting into. How ironic that now that these youth are rich, his generation celebrate them.

      I also find his statement that youth should “expect no helping hands” to be extremely insulting. Youth are not looking for “helping hands”; they are looking to leaders to fulfill their promises. At the very least, can these leaders create an environment where these youth can meet their basic needs? This idea that youth expect a helping hand completely undermines many of the valid claims and concerns young people have- as well as Femi’s entire argument, TBH.

  15. abb

    October 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    I think the comments summarize Femi Pedro’s description of today’s youth. Always complaining about how bad things are, expecting handouts or easy access to funds or an easy system for this and that.
    Success is gradual and EVERYONE must play a part. If you sit on the sidelines, the few who are really interested in grabbing these successes will leave take everything and leave crumbs! At the moment the few who are interested in grabbing the successes are those who were interested in 1970, 1980 and 1990. The millenials have not come in for their share.
    Femi is basicaly saying jump in now! the sky is big enough for the older successes to keep flying and the new/potential ones to join in (case in point microsoft and apple) The older ones are not going to nudge us to join their party. We need to fight for our space.
    @ bev and food manufacturer, that’s not the attitude you need for success. Even if nature takes them to their graves before you, their children are still there to continue their legacy.
    It may hurt, but flap your wings and soar

  16. imose

    October 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Well articulated write up and point of view!! so who is to be blamed for the rot in our society today ? If the foundation is destroyed what can the righteous do? We need strong institutions not strong men nor political party . We also need more than a few good youth to steer the wheels of this great country out of disrepute !!
    Every day I wake up with the Nigerian dream , where I see social infrastructures in place , good hospital and medical facilities , law and order being respected and obeyed. One question I ask myself how do I achieve this dream . Ok, I know it starts from me and believe me I have been working hard on being a good and patriotic , hard working citizen even though I grew up from a background where my mother was my govt{she provides everything from water , electricity , etc and most of us can relate to this as well} in a country where her citizens feel less or no impact from govt.
    we sure need a reboot as a country .. So we can get it right !! If we don’t start now , hmmm… I wonder what will become of us in the next 10/20 years ahead!
    All I’m saying in summary , we need more opportunities for today’s youth , a strong institution in place and laws that will be enforced to check on corrupt practices {this is the cancer eating us up as a country }
    All hands on deck !! We need to stop this blame game card and lets join our hearts , hands together and make Nigeria great . Whether you live in Nigeria or abroad .
    ** phew**

  17. abb

    October 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I think the comments summarize Femi Pedro’s description of today’s youth. Always complaining about how bad things are, expecting handouts or easy access to funds or an easy system for this and that.
    Success is gradual and EVERYONE must play a part. If you sit on the sidelines, the few who are really interested in grabbing these successes will leave take everything and leave crumbs! At the moment the few who are interested in grabbing the successes are those who were interested in 1970, 1980 and 1990. The millenials have not come in for their share.
    Femi is basicaly saying jump in now! the sky is big enough for the older successes to keep flying and the new/potential ones to join in (case in point microsoft and apple) The older ones are not going to nudge us to join their party. We need to fight for our space.
    @ bev and food manufacturer, that’s not the attitude you need for success. Even if nature takes them to their graves before you, their children are still there to continue their legacy and you might still be on bellanaija or the next best internet blog sobbing about how difficult things are.
    It may hurt, really hurt, but flap your wings and soar

  18. tolz

    October 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I agree with Uncle femi pedro, we the youths are the leaders of tomorrow. on the other hand, social media is becoming more harm than it is. some people spend hours doing nothing, just browsing about unnecessary and wasting their precious. moreover,it has has a positive impact. I am all for the widening of the world we live in, and easy communication around the world.

    As for the leadership position, is a ‘POLITICAL AFFAIR’ those in power will favour their own people. I actually thought President Buhari will choose the younger generation in his cabinet, but choose people who had been power for years. He said, ” he’s choosing people who had been loyal to him” The population of Nigeria is gathered with youths. The fact that Mr pedro or the names mentioned in the articles has privilege doesn’t means other young generation has as well. There are lots of youths with excellent potentials, good certificates, skills etc but lack support, funds and all.. Nowadays, so many youths are leaving the country for survival .means, Despite the economic empowerment, workshops training, seminars etc Some gain while some not interested in it. On the hand, some youths wants quick money and want everything fast. But its cant be, life has stages, falling and rising. That’s while there are lots of crime situations in the country. Though the government is trying their best, but their effort needs to increase, Governing a country like Nigeria takes the grace of God due to the situations that has happened from our forefathers who were in power then. Apart from believing in God for a CHANGE in our country, its takes hard work, years, commitment, to clean the nation and makes its beautiful.

    I foresee a YOUTH REVOLUTION, where we ‘YOUTHS will rise up and represent the “NEW FUTURE in governance, education sectors, corporate bodies, financial sector, agricultural, oil and gas etc. we we shall Become positive leaders in the community Help and inspire others, Develop positive relationships among ourselves, Educate and mobilize the community Generate solutions that will engage more children and youth Increase safety in the schools and reduce violence in the community, Increase good physical and mental. Promote economic growth in the community, Promote social justice and social responsibility Develop the leaders of today and tomorrow health in the community.etc.

    Moreover, the political campaign was really engaged by the youths in various means of communication. People like Adebola Williams Chude Jideonwo of Red Media Africa and so many others who helped with the publicity etc. This election is still one of the best i have witness, youths all stand up and campaign for a new government.

    I hope President Buhari will give a chance to the youths to step in, not repeating the same people over and over again. I’m hoping the youths wont disappoint by embezzling as a result of what the older generations are doing.

    YOUTHS is our time to emerge and make a different.despite the circumstances, Nigerians we have the willing and strong feelings within us, that anywhere we go we shall struggle and make it. YES WE CAN.

  19. Ehiwarior

    October 16, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Dear Pedro.
    Thank you for this brilliant piece and you are a man I respect and I am not ashamed to confess my undying love for you. I took interest in you during your trials when Bola was the governor of Lagos and I followed through all your campaigns, the pastor of my church brought out your poster in church and offered prayers on your behalf, unfortunately the prince of Persia held the answers to the prayers and till this very moment no cherub is willing to wrestle him.

    I stopped worshiping in that church.

    You did raise salient points which I must commend, including your business acumen; however I noticed an obvious faultiness in the syllogism of your argument.

    Fast-forward to 2015, I bet you that dream of owning a bank will not thrive except you have a money bag or a godfather somewhere. Maybe, I should remind you that your generation shut the doors of opportunities for their progeny, countless business started by numerous Nigerian youths dies daily, not because we do not have the capacity to run business, but because your generation that planted on loamy soil is making the youths of today plant on rocky lane, yet we are not giving up, against all odds, those names you mentioned planted on the rocky lane and it is bountiful harvest ask Linda Ikeji.

    Let me reiterate Vincent’s thought on this thread: Without the massive and ferocious pro-Buhari mobilization on Facebook and elsewhere online whitewashing a person whose candidacy ought to have been dead on arrival with youth outside his Northern Muslim base on account of his image being antithetical to modern values, would Buhari have won the Southern votes that made his victory possible?

    Permit me to reflect on my own story; when I left the university in 2012 myself and 3 friends vowed never to work for anyone, we venture into poultry farming, raised some money and bought one hectare of land somewhere in southwest, we erected the farmstead ourselves to save cost and we bought 1500 chicks, one night there was a heavy downpour and we could afford petrol to light the poultry and keep the chick warm, in the morning we recorded about 300 death of the chicks, few months later we shut down the farm, we lost all the chicks, I was traumatized, I had High Blood Pressure and I was 22 years.

    In 2013, I went to serve “My Nigeria” I was posted to a public school and I was told categorically that I will not be paid state allowance, however, I have the right to go to a private school where I will be paid, this school was dilapidated, I remained, initiated a project to build a library in that school, nobody believed in me, I sold my iphone 4s raised some personal money and I started the project, the same people who doubted me, gave me money when they saw what I was able to accomplish, and I dedicated the library to the community and it is in use till date.

    The Nigeria youths are resilient, dogged and tenaciously, we are tired of the gerontocracy, God willing, 2019, we shall send them away.

    Thank you.

  20. Kenyatta

    October 16, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    CHILDREN, WE ARE THE LEADERS OF TODAY.

  21. Chux [♠]

    October 16, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    In every generation, past or present, and in every society, developed or under developed, only 5% of people succeed. They are not the ones who complain about lack of opportunities and how bad the system is. They are the ones who choose to succeed against the odds and fight to make it to the top. Even if the Nigerian economy gets worse than it is presently, someone your age, with similar background and education will achieve remarkable success. You can decide to be that person.

  22. TheSageOla

    October 16, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    “Most of us who made an impact in our early thirties came from modest means. We were not rich, and we did not have any noteworthy inheritance. Nobody did us any favours, and the older generation did not give us a pass or a nudge in the right direction”…

    “We were highly enlightened and career-oriented, so we were able to force our way through the door by working extremely hard.”

    Mr Pedro, above are your very words. Let’s consider some of them…
    “Modest means”, “We were not rich”, “No note worthy inheritance”, “No mentors for the road”…

    However, I’m surprised that same demographic was highly enlightened and career oriented.

    3 questions.
    1. How come you were highly enlightened?
    2. What better nudge is required in any nation than access to quality education for a non-elite class?
    3. Has your set not destroyed the same quality education your ‘not rich’ class benefited from?

    For those that care to reason, Mr Pedro you have shot your generation in the foot with this article, and in fact perforated the vestige of respect left for it, if there’s any at all. With the poor education you left behind, my generation must be magicians, you should keep your lame thoughts and observe the revolution.

  23. stanley

    October 17, 2015 at 1:41 am

    The will to succeed legally in our generation is on a steady decline

  24. Oluyemi Rufai

    October 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Dear Femi Pedro,

    Really thought-provoking piece! The leaders of tomorrow, must become leaders of today truly.

    A few thoughts around what Femi Pedro may be missing out though:

    A Professor of Political Economy once said: “Human Capital is the greatest weapon of a nation to the path of rapid economic growth and development”.

    Before independence in 1960, Nigeria’s education sector was highly rated in the world and this continued into the late 70s and early 80s even after independence: with young Nigerian graduates been “hot-cakes” in the job market and many of them had several options to choose from. Some chose the audit firms, some oil firms, while some decided to further their studies. Nigeria was just producing the second, third and fourth generation of graduates between 1970 and 1982 (when Femi Pedro and co. graduated from school) and so many top jobs awaited them with Employees choosing where they want to work, which ultimately enabled some young graduates confidently decide to tow the path of entrepreneurship like Femi and co.

    Fast-forward to the Millennium years (2000 upwards), Nigerian education has gone 100 steps backwards, with the Nigerian society promoting certificate ahead of quality of delivery with little to no attention to quality of graduates produced. This cannot be isolated from the gradual fall in the value system of the country where now it is about the end, rather than the means to an end.

    By year 2000, Nigeria was getting set to produce her 9th if not 10th generation of graduates, by which time, the value system was at ground zero, rating of Nigeria Universities had crashed and the Labour Market was well on its way to Saturation point. Also during this period, that is in the 90s-2000s, cost of borrowing was on a mountainous climb peaking at 31.6% in 1993 (Source:IMF Data), while between 1970 and 1988 (Femi and Co’s time), borrowing rate was as low as 6.25% in 1975 and peaking at 16.6% in 1988 (Source: IMF Data).

    It may be time for Generation Baby Boomers to cut Generation X, Y and Z some slack and look at the picture holistically and say: Was our education system this poor with 300 students to one (1) lecturer, with no laboratory equipment? Was the values been promoted during our time about money, money, money? Was the cost of borrowing this high? Was the Job market this saturated? These and some other questions when honestly answered will perhaps open up the true picture of why the average Nigerian youth of today deserve some benefit of doubt and certainly needs help quickly from the elderly generations above them, to revamp the educational system (political leaders), re-organize the value system (Religious leaders, Political leaders, Business leaders, Parents), reduce the cost of borrowing (Financial Market leaders) and I like the part where Femi recognize that there was no social media in their time to distract them because one can argue that social media instead of being a major empowerment tool, has now become the biggest ‘obstacle’ for the Nigerian youth.

    Even when all these are put in place- quality education system (and health care system), good value system, reduced cost of borrowing, there is no substitute for hard work, diligence, perseverance, humility and believe, attributes that Femi and Co. clearly demonstrated, which Nigerian youths of today must begin to embrace.

    The ball is in the court of both Generation Baby Boomer and younger generations, but the elders clearly have more role to play to restore Nigeria’s hope (through the Youths) back to where it belongs.

    • Ovadje

      October 18, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      It is rather unfortunate that History has reportedly been removed from the Nigerian educational system, because it is obvious that many of us ‘youths’ of today could benefit from a large dose of it.

      So, heck NO! Before Independence, the Nigerian was NOT “highly rated” around the world. It was a system that valued hand-writing above all else and produced clerks – because those “skills” were important to run a colonial administration that depended on local taxation and keeping records of the natural resources (rubber, tin, coal, produce, etc) that was being shipped out of the country – which was also why our transportation grid (esp rail lines) ran from the hinterlands amost directly to the ports and exit points. In those days, to be deemed “literate” or “educated” merely meant that ability to read or write the English Language, which is helpful for the colonialists to keep control over the colony. Courses like engineering or medicine were simply not meant for natives like you and I.

      Post-Independence, Nigeria really made an effort to expand educational opportunities – new world-class universities were established (OAU, UNN, ABU and Unilag, with Ibadan upgraded from a university college), scholarships were awarded all over the place, free education was put in place in some regions, and even up to the 70s and 80s, student LOANS were actually being granted in this country (along with busary awards) – of course virtually none of those educational loans were ever repaid. Tietary education in Nigeria was virtuially free, in addition to the thousands who were sponsored around the globe on the so-called middle manpower development programs.

      So, yes! Nigeria did indeed invest in its HUMAN resources (a country’s most valuable resources), but the peculiar thing about investment in human capital is that your investment can actually get up and walk out the door – accordingly, you have Nigerian doctors whose education was heavily subsidized by the Nigerian state (similar education would have left them six-figures in debt almost anywhere else) devolving the benefit of that investment in the UK and the US and whining about “enabling environment” as if they are clueless that the whole idea of their subsidized education is to enable them create exactly that!

  25. PointGained

    October 18, 2015 at 9:11 am

    The most important point raised is that the destiny of the Nigerian youth is in their own hands, however we need an enabling environment to blossom. Even an unwanted weed will flourish in an enabling environment. Until we get the right environment, we need to make good use of what little and available options that we have got. It is well with Nigeria.

  26. Oluyemi Rufai

    October 18, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Just like Femi and Co. did in 1988 and started a bank, some of us are already working on a concrete idea (project) that will bring GTbank and Co. to their knees. When it eventually arrives sooner rather than later, we will refer to this article and then Femi will understand that Nigerian youths are not sleeping. We are not just focused on exceptional financial service delivery, we intend to deliver to Nigerians what has never for once been witnessed before.

  27. Tosin

    October 18, 2015 at 11:16 am

    still awed at “observe the revolution” by Ola.
    that’s all, really.

  28. Johnson

    October 18, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    The youth are the future of any civilization and great advances and entrepreneurship comes from the young. But where Femi Pedro is wrong is that a support structure has to exist from the older generation. Henry Ford would be nowhere without old money nor facebook nor microsoft. They all got chances and opportunities to grow. In Nigeria where the youth flourish as entrepreneurs are in fields that does not demand much physical capital or dependance on the big men. Music, blogging, acting.

    For everything else the Nigerian model of crony capitalism freezes out small and unknown young entrepreneurs from finance. The Nigerian government further makes the business environment hellish. Generate your own electricity, navigate bad roads, pay ridiculous sums for rent of poor quality offices, get extorted by various tax and govt authorities.

    Not a wonder that for every don jazzy, there are millions of struggling youth entrepreneurs or university grads looking for jobs.

  29. Ovadje

    October 18, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    All I read here is a bunch of people whining about “enabling renvironment” blah blah blah… Even though it was well before my time, I do not think that the people who were allowed only N40 (or 20 Nigerian Pounds then), regardless of their pre-War bank account balance after the Nigerian Civil War had the ideal “enabling environment” and yet managed to make something of themselves. The problem with opportunity is that it often comes disguised as challenges – but unfortunately we now have a generation of ‘youths’ imbued with a culture of entitlement who seat in front of their laptops/ipads/smartphones and keep moaning about that everything has not been handed to them. Get off your fat behinds and “enable” the environment!

  30. Olu

    October 21, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Mr Femi Pedro. Please go and read the interview Prof Pat Utomi just granted. You need to learn a little sir. He is a true leader with a bigger picture. You sir are just a profit oriented business owner. Incase you couldn’t find the link, I have pasted it here for you and others who would like to read. naijapropa.com/nigeria-ripe-for-revolution-utomi/

    • Tosin

      October 21, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks a mill for the link, Olu. plus the beautiful manners and all.
      I don dey read the interview small-small.

  31. fade1

    October 23, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Nigerian youth think, we are always defensive. Let us embrace the advice of Mr. Pedro. We are the change this country needs. Should we wait till we are 57 or 73 before occupying a position in this country, certainly not! Our ideas are new school not old school PMB is giving us. Can we point to one thing that this old men has done for us. In their own days as youth, they had electricity now they are grown they can’t seems to supply us common electricity. It’s high time we the youth of our country shows them the road map to a successful country.

  32. Adewumi

    October 27, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Mr, Pedro makes a lot of valid points.

    However, he has failed to take into account the population and it’s ripple effect on the availability of opportunities. More so in an environment with dwindling resources.

    The fact is that it takes a while to self start in Nigeria because most of the years are already pushed out in struggling.

    Simple breakdown. Millions struggle for University admission and after that job opportunities. It’s not uncommon to find that University graduates are in their mid to late 20’s at graduation. And even at that, the quality of their education is poor. In other climes, graduates are in the early 20’s.

    Also, The pursuit of legitimacy and self actualization will not allow the credible youth delve into politics. You must have something to offer from within that you wish manifested without.

    You mentioned that you quit a job to understudy an icon. Where is the confidence starting point today. What experience do we have by the age of 30?

    I’m an entrepreneur in my early 30’s and a director of 2 companies. One of them has prospects of generating hundreds of millions annually. Prior to this, I have had to scrape beg and knock doors. Been cheated at every turn because there is no authority to report to in Nigeria.

    Your generation bribed and eroded all the regulatory institutions. How many bribes have you and your friends offered? Yet, when you all sit together, you can castigate the youth and the state of the economy without reference to the ignominious roles you might have played.

    We will succeed. But with no thanks or reference to your generation. You are no saint Sir. The reason why you can only point to a handful of successes is that these are the few that can be squeezed out of the difficulties.

    Why do you think that Yahoo and scams were so predominant in my generation? The guys are gifted but lack a means of expression an actualization.

    The Tinunbus who had those employment opportunities do not exist today. Now, the people in those positions are in their 40’s.

    A lot of successful entrepreneurs need a starting point to generate ideas. A company to quit from, a vision to be given or money from a rich family. Not everyone can sing.

    Thank you for your write up. It’s not needed. The youth want good things already. And believe me. We struggle more than your generation did. If you were born in my time. You wouldn’t be where you are today. Be grateful.

  33. uade ahimie

    October 30, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    In 1988, as an 18 year old studying accountancy in a higher institution (polytechnic) in Nigeria, I was one of the privileged persons who had gone through a sound educational background having attending public schools (a Federal Government College inclusive) and looked at the future of Nigeria as bright despite the fact that we were undergoing the transformation of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) – brought upon us by several years of mismanagement of the economy of our country.

    I was one of the people who witnessed the transformation of the banking sector via the liberalization policy of the Ibrahim Babaginda administration which brought about the opportunities that emboldened the likes of Otunba Femi Pedro and his contemporaries to set up Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).

    As a student I had envisaged a bright future in new institutions like GTB and eventually, branch out to live my dream of being an entrepreneur. Sad as it may seem, I never had that opportunity because most of the new generation banks had set a rather disingenuous precedence: they would not employ graduates from a polytechnic for reasons best known to them. Consequently, the banking liberalization policy which gave Otunba Pedro and other brilliant young people he mentioned in his article a lifeline did not translate to opportunity for outstanding young people as some paid dearly for attending polytechnics and second generation universities.

    The team had unwittingly given life to a discriminatory practice that was not in existence when they were climbing up the success ladder. It is pertinent to note that the objectives were bold; however bold objectives are not based on age, but are based on the creation of the enabling environment for people to have access to the needed resources to take advantage of opportunities like the persons who set up GTB had. Today, the banking sector has not evolved beyond the trader mentality which was created by the promoters of new generation banks. Otunba Femi Pedro was one of the front line promoters of that ‘wind of change’.

    I admire the fact that as young adults, Otunba Pedro latched on to opportunities that only the bold and visionary could appropriate. However, I believe that it is even of greater importance that when you start to climb up the ladder and/or go up a lift, you should remember to send it back down so that others can have a platform to climb up the same way you did. What we have today is a sea of heads endlessly waiting for ‘ladders’ which hold a deluge of opportunities. Yes, there’s always the argument of ‘take the initiative and never wait for the ladder”, but never a mention of how much better it would have been if the people who got ‘ladders’ shared with others. This is what I see as the real issue regarding the curious case of the young generation.

    Why have we gotten to this point? I feel it is because those young people who got ‘ladders’ from the generation before them either forgot to send them back or refused to.
    Arguably, the team set up one of the finest financial institutions Nigeria has ever had, but have you asked yourself this the question. What has this institution and those similar to it done in the last 20 to 25 years to create the opportunities that would lead to more small and medium scale businesses in the various sectors of the economy? Rather what in my opinion has happened is the creation of a handful of businesses – tied directly and/or indirectly to a generation that benefitted from the opportunities created by a system called Nigeria and today has created situations where in the words of Otunba Femi Pedro – “we simply dreamt big and turned this dream into a mere figment of our imagination”
    In as much as I have high regards for the young successful entrepreneurs mentioned in this article, it is important to note that the system that gave traction to their dreams were was created by their predecessors.

    I believe there must be a system that ensures that these opportunities are continually being created. This for me is where these successful entrepreneurs have failed the system and the nation.

    I ask and I stand to be corrected, what are their legacies in creating new small and medium scale businesses that have become household names like they did when they got their opportunities? Instead for me they have created conglomerates that revolve around them, purely monopolistic institutions.
    As one who likes Nigerian history, though it is rarely written and spoken about today to our young generation, I admire the courage of our founding fathers and some of their great achievements. However it is important to note that when these people took over the reins of governance in our great nation, some of them rather than try and build upon the systems inherited and continually improve on them, they systematically started the degradation and obliteration of these systems which their predecessors had worked hard upon to improve.
    One of such examples worth mentioning is the systematic cannibalization of the civil service system which today has become the root of many of the problems associated with our country.

    This was gradually adopted by the next generation of great entrepreneurs some as highlighted by Otunba Femi Pedro. . These persons have systematically cannibalized the various sectors that provided them huge opportunities as young people all in the name of capitalism.

    My only issue with this is that even in the big capitalist economies, there are still policies and systems that help young entrepreneurs achieve their objectives and goals without necessarily threatening the oligarchs.

    I would like to commend Otunba Femi Pedro for his time of continually mentoring young Nigerians. However my question to him is quite simple. What policy initiatives and systems did he help create as a member of the ruling and entrepreneurship class to create these opportunities for the young people?

    How has he ensured that these systems do no frustrate these young people to the point that their ideas only become a figment of their imagination? Maybe I would need to refresh our memories a bit, GTB came into being when the issuance of a banking license was N50 million for Commercial Banks and N40 Million for Merchant Banks and the CBN requirements were very clear as to create the opportunities, this led to the proliferation of banks and reached an all-time high of over 90 banks in the country.

    Also worth mentioning is the fact that with all this proliferation of banks and opportunities, the system witnessed the greatest period of bank frauds and liquidations. So what lessons did these young entrepreneurs teach their young up and coming protégées?
    In as much as I agree that nobody did them any favors, neither did the older generation give them a pass and/or nudge in the right direction, nor did they have the level of technology that is available today, the question that still bugs me as an individual with this generation of Otunba Pedro is simple, when you got the opportunities, what systems did you put in place to ensure sustainability?

    Rather what I saw and still see today is them creating the same thing that they did many years ago when they got the opportunities a system of me, myself and I. This has transcended so deep into their manner of thinking and try to justify their opportunities as not be thrust on them on a platter of gold, but them taking advantage of system that had been cannibalized and further cannibalized by them.

    I read with sadness this statement by Otunba Femi Pedro. Yes it true that these older industrialist were already established, but one thing I am sure that their generation did not learn from them neither did they learn from our founding fathers is the fact that these industrialist and the founding founders after climbing up the ladder of success remembered that there was a future behind them as such they let the ladder back down.
    Unfortunately, Otunba Femi Pedro and his contemporaries climbed up these ladders and rather than let it back down they took it with them and when they created lifts, it was only for them to their pent houses. As such for almost thirty years, it has taken a lot more effort to climb as there are no ladders and the steps required to reach the pent houses are much steeper than most people anticipated.

    I really do agree with Otunba Femi Pedro on this. However the question I will pose to him here is simple, on what basis did Otunba Subomi Balogun give him the opportunity at 27 years to come learn and be tutored? Did he set criteria that automatically disqualified people because of their type of educational qualification or the institutions where they attend?
    I am sure if these were some of the criteria, I do not believe he and so many others would have that opportunity at such a young age to get such quality tutelage from such a great entrepreneur.

    Yes I agree fully with Otunba Femi Pedro and will advise the young generation not to settle for the status-quo. As such I will join him in voicing out to the young generation that the real change in Nigeria is 2019 and they must take back what is theirs from the youth of yester years and move this country forward in this age of technology.

    Though I have been quite critical of some of Otunba Femi Pedro’s comments regarding the young generation, I concur with him that for the young generation to start having a say in their future, they must imbibe all of the things he has stated – bling, fame and fortune – this is because no man has ever had great success without straight forward hard work. This is because any short cuts to success are sure to end in destruction. They can read the history of Al-Capone

    In as much as agree with the fact that “power is never served a-la-carte” those in power and the corridors of power must have the political will to create a system where, young people’s ideas can see the light at the end of the tunnel, rather than it be shut down like rubbish only for them to be seen being used wrongly within the same system.

    Finally I want to say that the next four years of our country’s history can be told differently if and only if the young generation realize that for them to move forward they must take what rightfully belongs to them from those who have usurped it for the last 50 years and believe that a man of 65 years old is worthy to be called a youth leader.

    I also want to thank Otunba Femi Pedro and use the opportunity to let him know that for the young generation to understand the need for them to wake up from their slumber, then, the current older generation must remind us of the history of our great country Nigeria.
    This history should not be limited to the discovery of the river Niger by Mungo Park, the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914, the civil war between 1967 and 1970, but also about the history of Nigeria in the last 55 years must be fully written and taught in our schools so that the young generation can know the potentials that are in every Nigerian and the possibilities that abound if only they are focused.

    Uade Ahimie is an Accountant and Corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) professional. He is an ex banker and currently in the Energy sector as the Head of GRC in one of the leading Energy company. He can be reached [email protected]

  34. Uche Vincent AJURUCHI

    March 5, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    I totally agreed with the analysis of Uade on FEMI Pedro’s article….like he said at his final point, you don’t through away the baby and the berthing water.

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