Posted by Helen Ovbiagele, Woman Editor on
"MAN, this is a year of decision,” said 26- year-old Matt as he and his friends collected their NYSC certificates at the end of their national youth service. “Things gonna move for one!....
"MAN, this is a year of decision,” said 26- year-old Matt as he and his friends collected their NYSC certificates at the end of their national youth service. “Things gonna move for one! Did you guys notice the swank car that that doctor son of the commissioner of ..... in .... state brought to the parade ground? It was a wao!”
“I saw it,” said Friday. “It was a BMW sports car, almost similar to the one he brought for the orientation, but this one’s the latest. So sleek and posh. Money good o!”
“Yes o! I wouldn’t mind that at all. Fancy driving that through the streets or taking it to a campus! People’s eyes would pop out. By this time next year, I should be a proud owner of such a car.”
“That’s a tall order, my friend! Where would the money come from? That boy must have got help from his parents. I understand the mother is a rich business woman who commutes between here and Dubai. Lucky guy! Have you got a job lined up, and is it a lucrative one that would enable you save up for such a car?”
“Be realistic, my friend! What salaried job can you possibly take that would make that possible? I’m not going to waste my time getting a regular job with the peanuts that they pay as salary.”
“They pay well in some telecomms companies and of course in the banks, and the oil and gas sector. You should be able to land a good job in one of these; if not right away, in a couple of months. You did Accounting, and have passed some professional examinations, so you should be in demand. It’s someone like me who did History that would find getting a job with lucrative pay an uphill task. If I can get a teaching job for the meantime so that one doesn’t just stay at home, I would, but how easy is it to get into the field when those who did Education can’t find employment? But then, I should be grateful that I was admitted to do a degree course. What if I were still out there battling to scale the almighty JAMB?”
“Well, you’re on this side now, so, forget the other side with all its frustrations. It’s all mixed grill these days and you don’t have to use your discipline to work. Doctors, engineers, lawyers are not all practising their profession. You find them in other fields, so, you can use History anywhere, provided you’re computer literate. Politics is big business, but I guess we’re too green now to get involved in a meaningful way and make money.”
“You can get in, Matt, as a thug or body guard to a wealthy and unscrupulous politician and you’ll be well paid.”
“I don’t want to earn my money in a bloody way. Why should I go rough up people physically for a living? One might as well be an armed robber! I want something cool and safe, but where I can make lots of money.”
“If one knows important people, that’s possible,” said Dave. “Hey, if you two hit the big times, remember me and help me up too. That’s what friends are for.”
With that, the friends went their separate ways. They knew that job hunting isn’t easy here, but they hadn’t reckoned that it would be like hitting the head against a brick wall. Parents and relations prevailed on them to take up anything. Then Friday got a teaching job in a private school. His parents thought that from there, he could get into the teaching service, do his Master's part time, and stand a chance of getting a more lucrative employment, but he soon got discouraged.
Matt and Dave got contract jobs as adverts and insurance canvassers and for a while, they enjoyed the commission they got, but they got disenchanted when work wasn’t flowing in regularly.
“Man,” said Matt to Friday and Dave, “Life’s such a drag. Our mates are living it big, driving posh cars and here we are, hopping from bus to bus, trying to eke out a living.”
"Some of our mates are working in the banks and their earnings aren’t too bad, even though they complain that it’s difficult meeting the target of the sum of money they are supposed to bring into their organizations.”
“Oh, bank jobs! I don’t want them,” scoffed Matt. “I was actually offered one after I passed the test and interview, but anything under two hundred thousand naira a month is not worth it, considering the hard work involved.”
“You should have taken it and worked your way up,” observed Friday.
“He was right to refuse it,” said Dave. “The wages are peanuts, compared with what you can get from one deal in business. I know a few guys who’ve made it big with foreign partners in business.”
The other two were interested and a meeting was arranged for all three to meet the boss of the network of ‘business.’
“What do they do?” asked Matt’s mother, when she learnt of the venture. “I hope it isn’t anything 419.”
“Oh mum! This is safe. It’s marketing through the internet.”
“Marketing what, precisely? Don’t go and end up in Interpol net. I’ve spoken.”
“It’s not 419, mum. It’s straightforward marketing on the internet. It isn’t fraud. You just sell various items.”
The business was instantly lucrative for the boys because within a few months, they each had a brand new car. The business really claimed their attention as they were at the internet café owned by their boss, almost 24 hours a day.”
At first, their parents complained, but since they weren’t seen in the company of hoodlums, but respectable-looking young men and women, they relaxed.
Then the axe fell! The cyber café was raided in the dead of the night and the boys, their boss, and other mates there were taken away by the Police. It turned out that the place was used for duping foreigners on the internet of their money, on one pretext or the other. The boys claimed they didn’t know that, but only sold various products by internet. Their parents ran here and there, the new cars and other things acquired with the ill-gotten money were sold off, for money to fight the case. After a long battle which impoverished their parents and relations, they were discharged and acquitted, but their boss and his apprentices were given heavy jail sentences.
The other day, it was reported that at a press conference at which 24 armed robbery suspects, including about 10 Fulani herdsmen as well as a graduate of business administration were paraded, the Kaduna State Police Commissioner was alleged to have accused Fulani herdsmen of ‘exploiting traditional nomadic lifestyle to carry out criminal acts’ and described the development as worrisome. ‘Why have they decided to go for this get-rich-quick business of crime? Don’t they have cattle to graze anymore?’ the PC was alleged to have said.
This means that the problem of ‘get-rich-quick’ is a generational thing involving all categories of young people, not only in this country, but in the entire world. None of them wants to crawl before they walk, so to say. They want to lead a lifestyle now, which took a wealthy man many years to attain. Very few want to do menial jobs, or wait to rise through the ranks.
But are the adults among us showing the young people good example? No! Adults are the ones whose lying, cheating, stealing and corrupt lives the young are copying. The thing is that they’re learning fast and early, eager to join onto the band wagon! No one is born a criminal; we copy what we see around us.
Instead of complaining about the attitude of the young, let’s examine ourselves, right from those at the top of the ladder to the lowly, and correct what we know to be wrong in our values and attitude to life, mindful of the fact that the young are watching.
When we are clean, only then can we be in a position to criticize and correct them.
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