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The Marginalised Nigerian Youth and the Curious Case of Femi Pedro

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A couple of days ago, while talking to my sister, she asked me whether I had read an article written by Femi Pedro which was trending on social media. I hadn’t, but as we were speaking over the phone, I did a Google search and came across your article titled, “Buhari and the Curious Case of the Young Generation” on BellaNaija. After reading the article I decided to pen a response to you.

In the aftermath of the publication of your article, there has been a lot of debate about the contents of your letter with a number of people, especially those of the middle-class variety agreeing with your point of view. Since you are an influential Nigerian whose words carry a lot of weight and because your article is addressed to a very important but vulnerable segment of the Nigerian populace, it is important that the contents of the paper are critically examined. Since your article was addressed to young Nigerians via the public domain, I will also respond to your article via the public domain. In my opinion, your article is flawed not only logically, but it is also flawed morally and economically and in the next couple of pages, I will explain why. I trust that you will read what I have to say with an open mind.

In your epistle, which was written in response to the complaints by our youths about the lack of opportunities available to them, you suggest that youths have always played an important role in Nigeria. You argue that the same circumstances faced by the present crop of young Nigerians was faced by previous generations of young Nigerians, the only difference being that the present crop of Nigerian youths are arrogant, lazy, vain and lacking in ambition. To justify your argument, you cite your ability to OWN a bank along with some of your friends when you were all in your thirties. You also develop a “Hall of Fame” of past and current generation of Nigerians who achieved political, economic, industrial and artistic or creative success in their youth. You also advice young Nigerians to humble themselves, know their worth and eliminate distractions, which hinder them from seeing the big picture.

With all due respect Sir, your analysis is simplistic at best and vicious and dangerous at worst. It is written from a privileged narrative and the condescending tone of the article is nothing more than “youth-slamming.”

To support your assertion about the indolence of our youths, you appeal to your authority as a Nigerian elite who achieved wealth, fame and influence at an early age. By devoting the first three paragraphs of your article to the story behind the formation of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), you are telling the Nigerian youths that, “If I could OWN a bank, in my youth, why can’t you?” The fact that you OWNED a bank in your thirties is not a sufficient and necessary condition to conclude that young Nigerians are lazy and lacking in ambition.

You have developed a syllogism along the following lines:

Premise 1: I was successful at a young age.

Premise 2: Young Nigerians have not achieved what I achieved when I was their age.

Conclusion: Therefore, Nigerian youths are lazy and should work harder so that they can seize the moment.

Another flaw in your argument is you result to cherry picking to support your argument. In short your paper suffers from selection bias. You conveniently develop a “Hall of Fame” of Nigerians who excelled at young ages and use this as a basis to suggest that young Nigerians are lethargic. Names such as Fola Adeola, Linda Ikeji, Awolowo et al resonates with most Nigerians and informing your readers that they were all young when they achieved fame will bias your reader to your point of view. According to the 2006 census, there are around 50 million youths (within the 15-34 year age bracket). A sizeable number of these youths are near or below the breadline. It is therefore illogical to select a sample of successful youths and reach a conclusion about the whole population of young Nigerians especially when the sample is not representative of the total population.

Another omission in your analysis is the circumstances of Nigeria during the period before our independence in 1960. You state, “Since pre-independence, the Nigerian youth have played a pivotal role in nation-building and economic development.”- So far so good. But what you fail to point out is when the colonialists were in power, they occupied the top positions in the country. Post independence, when the colonialists left the country, the top layer was vacant and the younger generation of Nigerians who were educated at the time were in prime position to take over. Contrast that with today where there is an ever-increasing number of youths at the bottom of the ladder who are unable to climb up because the top is occupied by the older generation. This is the reason for the youth’s grievance. You may then argue, “But in my time, there was an older generation of people at the top, yet we broke through the glass ceiling.” This is true, but you need to bear in mind that the circumstance of 20 and 30 years ago is also different from today. In  1980 and 1990, Nigeria’s population was 73.6 million and 95.6 million respectively, however as at today the total population is around 173 million. If you extrapolate the youth population in these different eras, you will then begin to appreciate that the conditions of yesterday are not the same as today.

Mr. Pedro, you also fail to acknowledge the responsibility of the older generation in creating the mess that our youths face today. Nigeria is in its present state due to the corruption and greed of the past generation who mortgaged the future of the young generation in order to line their pockets. Without going into names, if you search your “Hall of Fame,” you will notice that some of the people on that list are responsible for ruining the lives of the very young Nigerians you are advising.

In your analysis, you completely ignore the impact of social exclusion on our youths. You note, “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.” Really? Lets go back to the genesis of the formation of the bank that you OWNED. It is possible that most of your co-investors were not born with silver spoons, but it is obvious that at the time when the bank was formed, you were all accomplished middle class gentlemen. For instance, prior to that historic meeting at “Fola’s crib”, you all had proven track records. Bode Agusto had worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Citibank; you had worked for Central Bank of Nigeria and First City Merchant Bank; Fola Adeola had cut his teeth with D.O. Dafinone and Deloitte. Moreover, you are a scion of the renowned Pedro family and have a surname, which is recognisable throughout Lagos. Your double barrel foreign qualification (achieved at a time when few Nigerians could boast of a foreign degree) in addition to your closeness to Otunba Subomi Balogun put you in good social standing to enable you wine and dine at the table with like-minded people to formulate a remarkable idea like OWNING a bank. Would you have been able to wine and dine with your co-investors if you came from a poor family, had to delay working in a first tier corporate entity after your graduation because you had to take care of your five siblings while living in a one bedroom flat only to find yourself unemployed at the age of 33?

So Sir, in summary, your article is logically flawed as it is based on cherry picking, sweeping generalisations, syllogism, red herrings and false dilemma.

Your thinking is also flawed on moral grounds. By singling out the Nigerian youth, you are assaulting acerbically a vulnerable segment of Nigerian society that is defenceless against your assault. You fail to synthesis your top-down elitist approach with a more humane bottom-up analysis and as a result, your pen or should I say keystrokes has left young Nigerians dehumanised and bloodied on the Jericho road of life. Admittedly, you are a man of integrity, however, I find it strange that you have not used your position of influence to publicly speak truth to power. Admittedly, I am not privy to your conversations with people in the corridors of power and there is a possibility that you sometimes tell them some home truths, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial to society if you speak truth to the “classes” publicly with the same zeal that you have spoken “truth” to the masses publicly? You have also failed to speak truth publicly to your friends in the financial sector. If you carry out an in-depth analysis of the working practices of the many banks that dot the country, you will come to the realisation that some of these institutions are committing crimes against humanity. Some young Nigerians who work in the financial sectors have battle scars to show. Some are given unrealistic, unreasonable and unattainable deposit targets to meet, failure of which will result in termination of appointments; some are encouraged to engage in corporate prostitution by selling their bodies for deposits; some are stripped of all form of their humanity by narcissistic executives; married and pregnant women are often discriminated against; some have been subjected to novel forms of sackings such as “e-sacking”, “exam sacking’” and “verbal sacking.” Perhaps you should channel your energy to speak to your friends and ex-colleagues to make banks more humane for the younger generation.

Earlier on, I mentioned that your article was simplistic at best and vicious and dangerous at worst. The reason why I described it as dangerous is partly because of your mentoring involvement. You say, “I have spent a lot of time mentoring, observing and interacting with young Nigerians.” My concern is that if your 1,844-word essay is a reflection of your views about poor Nigerians in general and the marginalised young Nigerians in particular then such Darwinian elitist thinking is probably being passed down to the next generation of Nigerian leaders being mentored. Is Nigeria at risk of breeding a new generation of elites that have contempt for what Cardinal Mahony calls the last, the least, the littlest?

Your analysis of the Nigerian youth bears all the hallmarks of the bootstrap philosophy, which suggests that for people to succeed in life, they have to do it by their own effort i.e. lift themselves up by their own bootstrap. In short, the unfortunate is to be blamed for his misfortune. It is the same sentiment expressed by Auma Obama, sister to President Obama who once said, “Poverty is not an excuse for failure. Do something.” The problem with this line of thinking is that it fails to factor the structural causes preventing individuals from realising their true potential. Martin Luther King eloquently denounced this Darwinian philosophy when he said, “It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.” Nigerian politicians and oligarchs have taken the spoils of the land leaving little or nothing for our helpless youths thereby rendering them bootless.

In the past couple of pages, I addressed the logical and moral flaws of your article. In this section, I will discuss the economic flaws of your analysis of young Nigerians. Otunba, I know that you are an economist par excellence. You have a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from University of Wisconsin–Superior and a Master’s degree in Economics from Wichita State University; you worked as an economist at the Central Bank and you are a member of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Bankers, London. But with all due respect Sir, based on the contents of your paper, your thinking is out of tune with current economic thinking. You analyse the plight of the Nigerian youth from the narrow prism of Nigeria, even though the problem is a global phenomenon. While economists and policy makers around the world are banging their heads to understand and find solutions to global youth unemployment, you are simplifying Nigeria’s youth unemployment challenges to discussions about Don Jazzy, Facebook and six young men who OWNED a bank.

I strongly recommend you read the 2015 baseline report prepared by the World Bank and the International Labor Organization titled, “Toward Solutions for Youth Employment.” According to the report, we are witnessing the largest concentration of youths in human history with about 1.8 billon young people around the world. Of this number, 85% live in emerging economies like Nigeria. Almost a third of young people around the world are either not in employment, education or training. The younger generation who you debase, account for approximately 40% of the global unemployment and are four times more likely to be unemployed than the older generation. At the moment, the situation shows no sign of improving as nearly a billion additional young people are expected to join the global workforce in the next decade even though only 40% are expected to join jobs that currently exists. Moving back to Nigeria, our youths suffer from the same plight as their global counterparts. According to McKinsey, youth unemployment in Nigeria is around 50% while the Central Bank Of Nigeria suggests the rate to be 80%. Sir, I hope you can see from these grim statistics that the current situation of youths in Nigeria and youths around the world is tragic.

You fail to consider the interplay between technology and youth unemployment. Automation has eradicated jobs that were available when you began your banking career. As a consequence, there are fewer jobs available in an era of increasing young people. I am sure you were taught in Economics 101 that a limited supply of a good, combined with a high demand for that good, results in a mismatch between the desired supply and demand equilibrium. If you can appreciate this most basic of economic principles, why can’t you appreciate the plight of young Nigerians who have to compete for jobs in an era of fewer jobs as evidenced by the sixteen people who died in stampedes around the country as 6.5 million young Nigerians were seeking employment for the 4,000 vacant positions in the Nigeria Immigration Service? You might want to rebut, “The government and private sector can’t create all these jobs, and so it is up to the youths to set up their own businesses.” The flaw with this thinking is that not every youth in Nigeria is destined to be an entrepreneur just like every Nigerian can’t be a lawyer, doctor, banker or blogger.

You fail to properly stratify the constituents of the younger generation. Most of the people you mentioned in your article achieved their success between their mid- twenties and mid thirties. Labour economics tell us that adults within the age bracket of 25 to 34 display the highest level of entrepreneurship globally. That is partly because at that age one is not too inexperienced or one is not too old to take risks. In Nigeria, the 25-34 year age bracket constitutes 15.4% of the total population compared to 15- 24year age bracket, which is 20.17% of the total population. You also fail to discuss the difficulty entrepreneurial youths have in obtaining credit facilities from financial institutions. Some of them do not have sufficient collateral to obtain loans while others are not well connected to solicit the help of guarantors with deep pockets.

You fail to appreciate the impact of unemployment on the younger generation. Could this be because you never had an unemployment gap on your CV? I understand that you did your undergraduate studies between 1976 and 1978 and started your postgraduate degree in 1979. Within a year of graduating from Wichita State University in 1981, you joined the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1982 where you worked till 1988. 1988 was a critical year for you as you left the CBN for First City Merchant Bank and in the same year you linked up with five other gentlemen at “Fola’s residence” to birth GTB. Perhaps, if your circumstances were similar to the average Nigerian youth today, you would appreciate that unemployment at a young age can negatively affect future earnings; Perhaps, if your circumstances were similar to the average Nigerian youth today, you would appreciate that unemployment at a young age can lead to social exclusion; Perhaps, if your circumstances were similar to the average Nigerian youth today, you would appreciate that unemployment at a young age can lead to further joblessness; Perhaps, if your circumstances were similar to the average Nigerian youth today, you would appreciate that unemployment at a young age can affect your ability to have your own family; Perhaps, if your circumstances were similar to the average Nigerian youth today, you would appreciate that unemployment at a young age can lead to physical and mental health challenges.

Sir, you need to realise that everybody cannot be a Gbolly Osibodu, Fola Adeola or Femi Pedro. For every Gbolly Osibodu, there are millions of young Nigerians wallowing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity; For every Fola Adeola, there are millions of young Nigerians who have nothing to live for; For every Femi Pedro experiencing the Nigerian dream, there are millions of young Nigerians experiencing the Nigerian nightmare.

Your direct crusade against young Nigerians is also an indirect crusade against young women. How? Majority of young Nigerians are women who make up 31.3% of the total population compared to young men that make up 27.8% of the population. All the statistics that I referenced earlier are average figures for the youth population. If we are to break the numbers into gender components, you will see that young women are hardest hit by the problems confronting the youths. For instance, relative to their male counterparts, women are more likely not to be in education, employment or training, they are more likely to be socially excluded, more likely to be working in vulnerable employment and more likely to be discriminated against at work.

I would like to address your comments regarding youth distraction. You write, “Young Nigerians have to eliminate distractions. Do not get carried away by the allure of good living, bling, fame and fortune…. 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.” Otunba, using social media and focusing on the bigger picture are not mutually exclusive. It shouldn’t be either/or; it is both/and. Permit me to ask you a question. Who is more dangerous to Nigeria? – A young Nigerian logging on to Twitter to express her opinion or an old Nigerian who siphons $6 billion to her pocket? A young Nigerian who logs on to Facebook to keep in touch with friends or an old Nigerian bank CEO who embezzles $1.2 billion of depositors money? A young Nigerian who shares her pictures with her friends on Instagram or an old Nigerian who makes a false declaration of his assets? Sir, you are preaching to the wrong generation.

Before I conclude, I would like to advice you to come off you high horse and see things from the perspective of the younger generation. I must admit that you are not alone in your thinking as your sentiments are supported by a cross section of the so-called Nigerian middle class. It is in the interest of the so-called Nigerian middle class to be worried about the marginalisation of the Nigerian youth. A friend of mine often says, “Those that do not hear will one day feel,” while Martin Luther King wrote from a Birmingham jail, “In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…This is the inter-related structure of reality.” Nigeria has developed a two tier parallel system comprising of two kinds of people – the “haves” and the “have nots.” The “haves” live in their gated communities protected from the “have-nots” who are confined to the ghettos. Oppression has become the name of the game with the 1% oppressing the 99%. The boss oppresses the subordinate; the clergy oppresses the laity; the landlord oppresses the tenant; the lender oppresses the borrower; the musician oppresses the fans, the governor oppresses the governed and the richer older generation oppresses the poorer younger generation. The so-called Nigerian middle class may think they are immune from the sufferings of the “Nigerian underclass” especially when looking through the safe confine of their gated communities. But how long can this last before the underclass begin to leave the ghettos and slums to knock on the doors of these gated communities demanding their share of the national cake? After all, revolutions are usually started by the younger generation.

Finally, in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the protagonist Benjamin Button played by Brad Pitt suffers from a condition in which he ages backwards. At birth, he has the appearance of an old man, but as the days and years go by, he becomes younger. When he is 50 years old, he looks like a twenty year old. It might be time for the older generation of Nigerians (of which I am a part of) to age backwards and live as a young person in today’s Nigeria. I am confident that by the time they see themselves sitting for an entrance exam with 80,000 other candidate vying for ten vacancies; by the time they submit thousands of CVs only to receive an email reading, “We regret to inform you that your application was unsuccessful; by the time they apply for a bank loan and are told to produce their mothers birth certificate; by the time they are told to sleep with one Chief in order to generate deposits for their employer; by the time they hear rich old Nigerians tell them that they are lazy; by the time they see that they have no money in their pockets to pay for the medical expenses of their dying mother; by the time they see themselves socially excluded; by the time they see themselves sleeping in a cockroach infested room – then they will understand that it is simplistic, heartless and immoral to call the young generation indolent, arrogant and vain.
Selah.

Photo Credit: © Kadettmann | Dreamstime.com

73 Comments

  1. Adieu Biafra

    October 23, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Beautiful rejoinder….and thank you for this deconstruction.

  2. Iyke

    October 23, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Gbam.

  3. Modupe

    October 23, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you oh! It is like bella adenuga (no disrespect) telling people in ajegunle to stand up and build an empire because she managed to build a bank with 6bella naija readers!

    Until the old political class/ elite realise that the future belongs to the next generation, we are on the road to no where.

  4. rahyourbinde

    October 23, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Tell them oh

  5. NaijaPikin

    October 23, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Standing ovation. No stone was left unturned. These are the same exact points my friends and I discussed when Femis article came out.

    It is interesting that Mr. Pedro never mentioned how much capital was needed to start the bank, and how him and his home boys raised the capital. I highly doubt it was from salary alone.

    The lindaikeji everyone is praising has previously mentioned that she had other business ideas that were killed because of lack of funds. Reason she and loads of other naija people are moving into blogging space or low capital intensive service businesses.

    Hats off to the author of the article.

  6. Samuel Adeshina

    October 23, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    The two positions opined by both the writer and Femi Pedro are right. They are enmeshed in what I call, theory of polarity. The perspective of the first writer was based purely on his background, and perspective of live, while Alatenumo, was more logical, and scientific in his reaction to the initial write up.
    In conclusion, we need to be holistic when we write to the general public.

    • Rotimi

      October 23, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      How can two logically opposed perspectives be at the same instance right? Kindly educate me. Thanks.

  7. Busola Adedire

    Oluwabusola Adedire

    October 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    You are very smart! Excellent article!

  8. FasholasLover

    October 23, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Pls. Mr. Sule, l bow and tremble at your evocative thought process. #Respect.. Your power of analysis filled me up with joy and hope. In Short, no lunch for me today! I am satiated!,

    • Busola Adedire

      Oluwabusola Adedire

      October 23, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      Me and you both!

    • Beht why

      October 23, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Supu!

  9. J

    October 23, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Utterly Brilliant!

  10. reqe

    October 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Wow. I could practically feel the anger coming off this piece

  11. Cindy

    October 23, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Standing ovation! I’m highly impressed. Best come-back ever.

  12. Ranti Adenuga

    October 23, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    This is the point Femi Pedro made. All Youths do these days is spend so much time on social media complaining about problems instead of finding solutions.

    • See clear.

      October 23, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      @Ranti Adenuga, did you not read the article before you made your comment? The author is not a youth, as he himself clearly stated.

      “It might be time for the older generation of Nigerians (of which I am a part of) to age backwards and live as a young person in today’s Nigeria.”.

      He is not a youth and he is not complaining.

    • Nero

      October 24, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Finding solutions to…? Maybe robbing a bank since the bank won’t give loans, how is that for solution? Femi Pedro that wrote the initial story, nor be online him stay publish am? Another person publish him own e become problem. I see why you dey talk this rubbish, you and Femi get the same limited mentality. Kontinu.

  13. Icey

    October 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Dear writer, you made very valid points in response to Mr. Pedro, I couldn’t agree less.
    However, even if we owe so much of this mess to the older generation and the over-privileged few, can we truly say that as youths we have exhausted all our honest and genuine options in forging a better life for ourselves? Times are hard, it’s either we go hard or we go home (wherever that is).

    • lauren

      October 23, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      The youth have dreams but our country does not have a conducive structure or even the societal empathy to support those dreams. It was unfair and very myopic of Femi Pedro to make the exception the norm to measure with. I’m interested to know how much effort he has put into developing the youth in business.

    • SPA

      October 23, 2015 at 11:52 pm

      With this article, though not a youth he already went hard.

  14. Yoshi

    October 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Excellent and thorough response! Thank you

  15. Amina

    October 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Great perspective, Sule. Nuanced and balanced. Thumbs up!

  16. Truth

    October 23, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Well said Ahmed. Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.-Warren Buffett. I believe that it is the responsibility of those who are well to do to help create opportunities for those less privileged to have a change to better their lives,for that is the only way we can grow as a community and hopefully flourish.

  17. InkHearted

    October 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    WORDS ON MARBLE!

  18. ayi

    October 23, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Ahmed thank you,well said. 3 gbosa for you,chop knuckles

  19. molarah

    October 23, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I beg to disagree.

    I appreciate the effort taken to research and put all these ideas into one post, but I can’t get past the fact that the primary intent seems to just be contrary, and not address the real issues raised in the original article.

    These were some of the salient points of the original issue: 1. Our youths are flailing, and not pulling their weight 2. The previous generation was able to accomplish much more during their youthful days. I ask you, are these two points correct or not? If you answer no, then I’ll need to question whether you actually live in this country and how much knowledge you have about the past. If you answer yes, then you will have to agree with me that there was really no point for this rejoinder.

    I get the sense that people are upset that its a ‘privileged’ person telling youths that may not have been as fortunate as himself to get their act together. But this is a message that must be passed across, and someone has to say it. We as youths have a lot of work to do to prove ourselves as capable of handling leadership responsibilities. And its really lame to blame it on poverty all the time. We can’t do this because we have several examples of grass-to-grace successes – Rasaq Okoya, Samuel Adedoyin, Kanu Nwankwo, to name a few – that shut us up immediately.

    These kind of ‘rejoinders’ bother me A LOT because the first piece had a solid message for youths that will easily be sidelined when we start focusing on trivial bits that don’t really add or subtract to the issue. One of the most disappointing experiences I had was during my NYSC year when the call came for us to do one of those numerous registration things and I observed that an additional ‘unofficial’ fee was being requested for at point of registration. I made enquiries and found out that this was not being orchestrated by the zonal coordinators, or any of the NYSC officers but a fellow youth like myself who was in charge of the process. We Nigerian youths are becoming a sick bunch, and this ‘sit-up-and-get-your-act-together’ kind of messages are EXACTLY what we need – I care not from which source it comes from. Maybe you should focus on writing one yourself, and not on diluting a critical message needed for our time.

    • lauren

      October 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      On you first point, you failed to imbibe the writer’s observation that we live in a vastly different society than the older generation did. My father often says that he doubts whether he would have been successful if he was from this generation. Once upon a time hard work and a good education were enough.

    • Nissi

      October 23, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      I agree with you Molarah. I am a youth and honestly, i’m irritated by most youths around me. We blame the older generation but most of us spend our time twiddling our thumbs. In Femi Pedro’s generation, the people that ‘made’ it were a minority and were also determined to make it. Tayo Aderinokun was not born rich, unlike some of his people that started gtbank along with him. Let’s face the truth, the average young person today will rather find a way to cheat people out of their money than stay focused. Half the men of marriageable age out there are bums and tend to either live off their wives or ignore responsibility. I loved Femi Pedro’s article and i believe it carries a significant message for the youth of today.

      For the record, i’m relatively successful in my career of choice and i am happily married. My parents are not rich and i had to create some of the opportunities i had, with God on my side.

      This article encourages the laziness in our generation and though i know all the facts and figures are true, people are still succeeding despite the odds.

    • Hoover

      October 23, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Youths of this Generation are achieving alot to answer your question simply.

      1. Our youths are flailing, and not pulling their weight. Youths are pulling their weight.
      You will be amazed the number of young Nigerians who have doctorate degrees under the age of 25.That alone is a clear indication youths are pulling their weight and with the advent of private universities, we are now seeing people becoming chartered accountants before their 21st birthday amongst other accomplishments.Even in entertainment, youths are pulling serious weight.

      2. The previous generation was able to accomplish much more during their youthful days
      This position is another play on perception. Wizkid and Davido are making more money and inroads than most of the nigerian musicians of the 80s and 90s , does that mean those old school guys were not as accomplished ?There is more money in music now simple, same way there is more unemployment due to a poor economy caused by the older generation. Youths are still making great accomplishments and it will be a shame to compare that to the time of Femi Pedro as there are more youths now and we are facing one of the worst economic periods naija has ever faced

      The worst thing the older generation has done to the youths is to let them know that its okay to cut corners and steal and nothing will happen. JUst employ 3 SANS to represent you in court and you will be fine..That may be the reason that NYSC youth you referred to did what he did.

    • SPA

      October 24, 2015 at 12:00 am

      You are reacting because of your personal experience. Your points are well understood just as Pedro’s, while yours is simply a from a prejudice of your experience Pedro’s is an unnecessary distraction for the Nigerian youth. We know know we have problems and we are trying to get over it, no further distraction is needed from the generation of people that give way to the path of stiff and unequal living

  20. Femi Shine

    October 23, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Wow thats a major comeback and for the first time in a really long time, i read a Nigerian article till the end. These people have illusions like we are supposed to crawl out from the depths of poverty to build an empire without funds. Give the recent crop of graduates funds and see the ideas they will come up with. Some will fail but the joy is, they have the audacity to try. Do you even know how may first class students are basic cashiers in your so called bank? How can a first class graduate from the ghettos of Ajegunle climb up the social ladder without some support from a strong foundation. You are a Pedro.. that helped!!! All glory to you for creating GTbank but give me funds and ill create a system that people wont even need to go to the bank to do anything. I am a digital native and until you eradicate the physical presence of banks then you and I arent on the same focus level. You own a bank, I have ideas that will lead the next banking revolution. Wait on it.

    • LL

      October 23, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      A business does not become an empire in a day. Have you started working on your proposed system? If yes, how long have you watched it grow?You say he’s a”Pedro”. Have you ever found out his history? Many of us call these names and think that they don’t have a story. We all scream Dangote today but 20 years ago you would have called him an ordinary trader. At the end of the day, Mr Pedro made strong points that will always hold from generation to generation; work hard, stand for integrity and apply yourself. It has never failed.

    • NaijaPikin

      October 23, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      No my dear. 20 years ago you won’t have called Dangote a trader. You would have called him a priviledged trader who used his influence with the leaders in power to MONOPOLIZE basic commodities market, thereby greatly enriching his pockets.

  21. whoever

    October 23, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Brilliant Piece.

  22. kili

    October 23, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Yimu* this is still the problem. Excuses, excuses,excuses.

  23. 'Deola

    October 23, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I love arguments, yet I hate adversarial arguments that mimic the nature of lawyers combat in the law courts .The argument being you are wrong and the counter argument that I am not wrong, and that you are wrong. I think it helps to distill the ideas that can help create a path of learning and awareness and the application of that learning and awareness to lifting NIgerian youths out of poverty and hopelessness.

    When the slave traders came to west Africa they came with mirrors and guns and we became so fascinated we exchanged these things for human beings, our own people . And over and over again, this cycle gets repeated in different ways. In this modern generation, the tools of distraction are everywhere , the tools that make you feel good that you are keeping up and that you belong. And these are the tools that Nigerian youths have embraced without sophisticated judgement that would enable them to apply these tools to learn the skills that will lift them out of poverty.

    For example, would our lives have been different if our fore fathers had taken mirrors and guns and learn’ t from the white man how to manufacture too, or would it have been different if we had learnt from the white man how to build ships , planned cities , cars and bridges and sky scrapers on oue own? I think these are the questions that houls be at the heart of discussion about the plight of the NIgerian youths.

    Our approach to education has to be revolutionalized in a fashion that we become inventors and creators of knowledge. The folks that created the modern inventions such as facebook and apple products were socially excluded. At Harvard, Mark Zuckerburg wanted to belong to an exclusive club, but his birth and social statuts counted against him. He invented facebook to equalize the social statuts of students in that university. His idea was develop a tool where people could individually select their own social network without being a member of a club network. Steve Jobs did not have to go to Harvard to revolutionalise the computer world,. This was one person that was adopted by parents that was adopted and dropped out of school because his adopted parents where spending their live savings on his education.

    All these examples take me to the idea that a good education is at the heart of the problem of the Nigerian youth, The education that allows people to be self reliant to the extent they can innovate out of poverty and in the process create jobs for others and not wait for government to vreate employment for them.

    What the youths need is a sophisticated education system that has a great curriculum that can enable them compete with the youths in the rest of the world. They do not the jargons beings spewed out by economists . They need education that makes them compete with the older generation in a sense that they can wrestle power and make them incompetent for the
    economic and social environment that youths can help create and build..

    The generation of Fola Adeola and Pedro speaks to the quality of public education that still meant something and democratic in a sense that your parents did not have to be rich to acquire that valuable skill to be good at something..

    This is the sort of argument I like people to have across and within generations. It has nothing to do with who is wrong , but what is wrong.

  24. The real D

    October 23, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    First let me confess, I did not read Mr. Pedro’s original article and only read this 1/2 way because I already got his gist in the first 2 paragraphs of the write up.
    Both articles from the gist based on this article appear to lack balance. As someone indicated earlier they are both using the extreme sides of the pole to buttress their points. Are there people at polar ends of the spectrum that need this? Maybe so, but at the same time, you never know a baby wants to be lifted until the child raises their hands. We need to start raising our hands. ( I consider myself a youth).
    I am currently reading a book called “The four hour work week” and a section was based on outsourcing. It made me question why the western world only think of outsourcing to countries in Asia and not Africa, Nigeria to be more specific.(As I am more familiar with it’s dynamics) We all know that when it comes to the Labour market, the Nigerian economy is similar to that of China and India (more people than there is work, forcing labor to be cheap). So why are we not taping into this revenue like these Asian Countries? Now, this is just an example because I am not trying to give out my entire business ideas.
    I have seen people complain on here about how difficult it is to get good help (not domestic staff) in the work place, as recent college graduates come in asking for ridiculous pay, yet they complain about not having opportunities. On the other hand, we all aware that many of our oldies refuse to retire, some even go as far as lying about their ages so they can sit there longer but these oldies are our own parents so again the youths again need to be having that discussion with their parents. Both articles have valid points but lack balance and swinging to one side of the spectrum is never safe.

    • UGO

      October 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      You do know that China has all the basic amenities missing in Nigeria. There is affordable bills for constant electricity, there is also running water even in the worst places or villages, there is also functioning equipped hospitals, affordable education, the average person has access to loans and social support from the government no matter how small. All these are absent in the Nigerian society. Your comparison is flawed.

    • The real D

      October 23, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      @ UGO, ah you are thinking of manufacturing but there are non manufacturing jobs that are being outsourced that one could do 2hrs/ day. If people in India (who have power outages like Nigeria) are somehow able to do these jobs and earn income then I say enough of the excuses. There is a lot to be accomplished in Nigeria, it’s time for us to start working with/around what we have.

  25. Peaches77

    October 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    From the two articles, there are lot of lessons. However, Sule’s rejoinder is nuanced and has more balance. Maybe Pedro’s article was supposed to be motivational but it didn’t reach its goal in my opinion as the loud criticisms without analyzing all angles became huge distractions. I like the scientific angle you took Sule. Perhaps, in the future we’ll see yet another independent rejoinder critiquing Sule’s article. In all, good read.

  26. Tru

    October 23, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    APPLAUSE. APPLAUSE.

  27. X-Factor

    October 23, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    hmmm….
    Nice write up and succinct truth by Ahmed. However, I have a bit of reservations on the writer’s seeming attack on Femi Pedro’s Privileged background. Let’s isolate some of the analogies, Femi Pedro’s advise(s)as basic as they seem, are extremely useful truth(s) for today’s youth if we must go far
    …..And my advise for the “disadvantaged” youth, don’t settle for the life of the VICTIM…Yes you are a victim of a failed fore-runner generation, but do all you can to rise above the snookered positioning…

    • NaijaPikin

      October 23, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Well i believe the reference to background was needed because Femi Pedro’s artcile seemed to showcase him as middle class (at best) . Please let us not underestimate the great disparity that exists between the rich and poor in naija

      – A poor man steals a phone and rots in jail for over 10 years while a rich man steals millions and gets a thanksgiving service and party in his honor.

      – A poor man cannot get a decent loan at a reasonable interest rate even if he puts his entire life as collateral while a rich man who has defaulted on multiple loans still has the ability to get new loans without any collateral.

      I could go on and on, but i think we all know the story. People should never have to apologize for being priviledged. However it is important to give a true account of your story so that you dont mislead people.

      This happens a lot with “move back to naija” crowd. Loads of people saynig move back, its great, things are awesome, you will miss out. What these people don’t tell you is that they are moving back to live in their fathers mansions, they won’t be responsible for any bills, they have car and sometimes driver waiting on them, their dad has hooked them up with capital to start a new business or positioned them to work in his company or in a friends company. Now while these are all great things to do for a worthy child, if the child isnt honest, another average person will carry their head and move back. Reach lagos and almost die when they find out they need to pay 2 years rent in advance to get a place, pay crazy bills, etc.

      Sha you get the point.

  28. fleur

    October 23, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Perfecto!!!!! I have not had to struggle for anything in my life like most. Does not mean I live near danjuma or dangote. I am just normal without a private jet hangar. However, we should learn to look around every now and then and force the experience of those without a larger than life parent, inheritance or social standing on ourselves fir a minute when we comment on issues like this. I have village cousins and their lives are tragically traumatic. Every door is literally closed. The one time they have reprieve, like clock work, is when my father sends them somewhere with a note and his business card. If that is not privilege begetting privilege, I dunno what is. Problem is that it is very easy to assume that doors fling open when you walk by because your brain is high oxygen and you are brimming with ideas. Remember you are not the only one brimming with ideas. Some boy selling ice water has a better idea but his will never see the light because he has no name, no Abrahamic godfather in heaven, no safe outlet for his ideas and less hope about surviving the day than the birds of the air. Let us force ourselves to look at our maids, houseboys, chauffeurs, gardeners, secretaries, etc through the lens of humanity. Interact with them outside of “did you clean the spot on my shoes” type of conversations. Ask them one day of their aspirations and problems. You will see that life can be a true nasty bitch in nigeria if you are not privileged!!!

  29. imose

    October 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    The future is bright and we all will get there !! Nice rejoinder??????
    The older and the new generation still have work to do until Nigeria becomes a world force to reckon with ;then we aren’t there yet!! I have learnt from both articles and I’m busy working on my grass! It’ takes all of us to make Nigeria great again ! God bless Nigeria?

  30. Femi

    October 23, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I stopped reading Mr Pedro’s write up when he mentioned he was executive secretary of an industry icon. Of course giving to the same opportunities to others, they might not make anything out of it. It’s just that it didn’t apply to my own situation, not the path I’m on

  31. Femi

    October 23, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    A big thank you to the writer for being a voice to the voiceless.

  32. unity

    October 23, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I wish ffk can read this article, instead of rubish he comtinue writing on social media.write something reasonable

  33. Tosin

    October 23, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    1. preach it. and wow at the MLK quotes.
    2. preach it some more, because many people don’t get it.

  34. Noble (www.lagosconvo.com)

    October 23, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Lovely written rejoinder. However, it will pay anyone caught in this crossfire not to dwell on this piece for long. Forget the arrogance in the original piece, it has the capacity to spurning one into action when read with an open mind. This rejoinder can only make you blame everyone but you as already exemplified by some comments.

    • Amanda

      October 23, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      Smartest comment here. Thumbs up.

    • tola

      October 25, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      I think Mr Pedro’s piece was/is a motivation, but I also believe that he wasn’t totally honest with the content of the piece.
      the environment that today’s youth battle against is near impossible to breakthrough without influential backing,
      I think Mr Pedro and his co has never fully added value to the society in terms of assisting the youths. so he has no moral justification to write a piece like that about honest, hardworking Nigerian youths.
      but the article is positive and motivating

  35. Femi Gabriel (@femidebonaire)

    October 23, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Well written. This piece did one thing; analyzing how pathetic our situation is as a country, and how almost hopeless we are.

  36. Tubo Azeez

    October 23, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    I. Just one question for you? What legacy have the so called older generation left for the youth? Glorified secondary schools called universities? Refineries that cannot even produce enough for local consumption? Death traps called roads and railway lines? I can list a thousand of such poor legacy. So to answer your second question i say the older generation has done nothing but embedded a culture of greed in the psyche of the younger naija generation

  37. lacey

    October 23, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Thank you for this excellent rejoinder to Femi’s lay man’s piece!Their generation were even the spoilers of Nigeria! I was so upset that I did not want to insult Femi because I was so miffed that somebody like Femi who studied in the US would write out of his myopic perspective without proper research and empirics to back up his claims. Using his clique,Linda Ikeji and Don Jazzy as a yard stick! No pun to Don Jazzy and Linda Ikeja who have done well for themselves! But I am talking about innovation!Go to the US and the U.K. and see how Chinese Young People cover the landscape to get tech and innovative experience to evolve tech to the next level!Nigeria will sponsor its young people but would rather old generation steal these monies!

  38. Ade

    October 23, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Mr Pedro needs to acquaint himself with the hordes of young Nigerians starting up and successfully running small businesses and e-commerce enterprise with little or no public institutional support or old boys network which he had the benefit of. Brilliant rejoinder from Ahmed.

  39. nunulicious

    October 23, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    this is hilarious!
    I listened to fela anikulapo kuti music the other day and I was amazed that the things he sang about 20 years ago still apply today. Down to missing 20 billion. A word is enough for the wise.

    It would be good for all the excuse makers to understand the time and the seasons and take advantage of it. After-all, the Pedro generation did not have internet. access

  40. SPA

    October 24, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Please don’t blame him, whether we like it or not. The truth is Mr Pedro has only talked from a vantage position. We all know something is wrong in our generation and youth are already working hard to get over it. There is no need for further distraction.

  41. suleiman

    October 24, 2015 at 1:12 am

    What there don’t understand is that, if only they had gone through the stress and pain the present generation is going through and been able to get their kind of opportunities, They would have grown bigger than the likes of Bill Gate. The present young generation has gone through more than what they went through to make it to their present position, The present environment is not friendly to the common man. they should please stop calling the present generation all sort of names. If they think we are not ready they should vacate their position and see if we would not do better

  42. Seyi

    October 24, 2015 at 2:27 am

    Wow! The Nigerian Matin Luther King. God bless your wisdom.

  43. Ugochukwu David I.

    October 24, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Whilst i refuse to applaud this write up, that seems to have so many elements of truthful approach in support of a youth like me, I would simply point out my reason/s.

    We can never expect the challenge of yesterday to remain the challenge of today. Every generation has its own perculiarity.

    The distraction facing today’s youths who wants to earn millions just few months from leaving a four year training can not be over emphasized… S/He wants the best of designer wears, would rather walk more streets looking for a very big company to pay him in millions/thousands than start with a more local one that would had help build his mind and quest, and also purify his experience… In realisation of the absence of the above, frustration sets in and disatisfaction at the little place he finds himself, rather than quest for self improvement and better approach to make the little place great.

    Taking a more holistic approach, if revolution is to be the solution, we may never deny the importance of social media, but yet it must be pointed out that over 80% of these youths with this access would rather seek more likes from friends than study the concept of the problem they face, with a goal of offering solution at all cost even if it means revolution.,. They would rather be quick to download a joke than a PDF text that would make them better…

    I can’t just exhaust all in this quick reaction sir(Mr writer)… But with the following popular sayings I wish to end, #1 according to Darwin, its the “survival of the fittest,” , despite the population explosion, the strong alone had always survived… #2 fortunes only favours the brave #3 the riskier it is, the more beautifulthe story could sound #4 life has never been a bed of roses.
    Finally in a recent video, featuring Alibaba, he had urged young minds to chose their mentors from not the very big companies, but the little ones in which they can be well practically mentored…

    I remain my humble self, Ugochukw David I. and I just want to think the right thoughts whilst I do the right things..
    The view above is purely personal….

    • hezekina pollutina

      October 24, 2015 at 10:05 am

      I absolutely concur with you David. Yes every Generation has their peculiarities, the problem with this Generation is sensory overload and brainwashing via media, turbo-ed by the speed of the digital highway, and exacerbated and driven home by the overt corruption and lack of ethics and morality as exemplified by the Elder Generation – who ain’t going no where btw! And these are the result – Monster Narcissist Kids with Oga At The Top Complex. But these Monster Narcissist Kids are a worldwide phenomenon not only in Naija, its a generational thing, exposed to the same crap and bad examples. I would say, when these kids “Grow Up” in the head – I mean graduate in consciousness, self-educate and see the real traumas that society is facing, I have no doubt that they will really pull their own weight and innovate in amazing ways that will make a difference for us all! And I think they have the “Balls” to do it! No shaking and No fear! But its not time yet, so dem Skelewu abi Shoki abi Selfie.

  44. Wunmi

    October 24, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Absolutely brilliant piece!
    You have simply broaden the myopic and biased perception of Femi Pedro towards the Nigerian youth.
    Thank you.

  45. Charles

    October 24, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Gmat/Gre Analytical essay sample

  46. Okeke Chukwudi

    October 25, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Thanks for responding perfectly to that ill thought article abi letter by Femi Pedro. if that man know what a lot of Nigerian youths engage themselves in just to survive he will shut up that his gutter mouth, and write something realistic with his pen!

  47. Saka Pena

    October 25, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    ILO says help youths get decent jobs. One Lagos based self absorbed bigot is busy running youths down with his ill conceived sleep walker’s analysis. I wonder whether some of these so-called CEOs have sufficient analytical skills to enable them find themselves in the top half of youth population that they subject to aptitude tests, talk less of the top half of world leaders. That is the genesis of the problem of our youths- incompetent leaders.

  48. Oludele Mafolasire

    October 26, 2015 at 11:21 am

    ……The statistics tells it all

  49. Mofoluso

    October 27, 2015 at 12:41 am

    I am more inclined to believe the Nigeria youth today are more innovative than the youth I the 70s – 90s, considering the challenging environment we operate in. T propel Nigeria forward, we need to recreate some of the conditions the older generation operate under in the 60s. Currently, the civil service is being administered by the older generation and that still mutes the energetic and innovative productive workforce in the sector that turns o the policies that run the country. We need to retire public servants that are over 50 and employ the youth in their 40s as Permanent Secretaries, Director Generals, and Management of MDAS, with people in same age bracket as the critical workforce. With this, I believe the Nigerian youth will find their voice and develop the environment that will ensure National prosperity.

  50. Agnes

    October 29, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Yes, I agree the older generation has failed us as youths, but how long can we go on blaming others for our present circumstances. Excuses, excuses, excuses, how has that helped anyone. What can we as youths do to correct the mistakes of our fathers and bring ourselves out of this pit because it is obvious the older generation will not help. We should be having discussions and proffering solutions as to how we can displace the current political and middle class, how we can un-sit the 70 year old general manager who has refused to retire to make room for the younger generations. The Azikiwe’s and Awolowo’s did not fight for independence by making excuses, they found a way to come together and solve the problem of colonialism, not necessarily for themselves alone but to ensure future generations of Nigerians can live freely in their own country. How can we as the present youths ensure future generations of Nigerian youths are not sentenced to the same existence we have found ourselves. What can we do to ensure our children’s children can live in an equal society with equal opportunities, where their success in life will not be determined by their surnames or the social class they belong to. We all have to do something no matter how little and the time for us to act is NOW.

  51. uade ahimie

    October 30, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you very much Ahmed Sule. This is most refreshing. I have added my initial comments to the original article so that other people can read an appreciate the need for the youth to take back our Nigeria come 2019.

    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 benefited 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]

  52. Ernest Oziri

    November 3, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Good defense, but just to remind you that even Jesus work was also criticized. I don’t think the Otumba meant to insult the youths but challenge/a wake up call.

  53. Babah

    November 8, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Thank you! Thank you!! In as much as I appreciate the possitive messages in Mr Pedro’s article, his position cannot be said to be totally unbiased cos he is pointing at issues from a position that can be said to be exceptional. I am not one to blame people for being successful. The problems arises where the lives of millions of Nigerians are geopardised to enrich a few people and then turn around to celebrate these “rogues” as real heros! Some of the people who were praised by Mr Pedro are Dangote, Erastus Akingbole. I am very sorry to say, you need not be genieus to know the role of Mr Akingbola in the destruction of Intercontinental Bank and Dangote’s family’ role in the Nigerian railways destruction to enhance their haulage business in the late 80’s and 90’s in Nigeria, to mention but a few. That is part of the greater issues facing the Nigerian youths, we hardly have any true heroes anymore ala Chief Gani Fawehinmi of blessed memory. What we have these days are benefeciaries of a corrupt system and tiny group of elites who then turn around to try and project to us what the yardstick to measure success and achievements should be based on. Standards that are highly questionable. Yes, I am sure the Nigerian youths wants to listen and learn, but from leaders who show the right examples, and not shenanigans who do not practice what they preach. Such messages / behaviours do not add-up and only creates more confusions for the Nigerian youths.

  54. louisa okoro

    November 16, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    The capital for commercial banks then was either #24 or #25m.
    All they needed to have done then was to have their various mentors to call a few friends to invest in the project. Th interesting thing is the directors of those banks then use their positions to obtain unserviced loans with which they buy shares in other banks then.
    That was an era when a single individual was director in two or three banks. Their activities on these boards is more like what we experienced in the last 16yrs of plundering of the nation’s economy hence it was no surprise when the banking industry experienced insolvency in the 90s. Some depositors, staff and shareholders were ruined while some Chief exectives and their croonies served time in jail and their assets confiscated by the government.
    Kudos to GT Bank and Zenith that has kept on growing to be the pride of this country.

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