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Opinion: Candid advise to Nigerian Youths

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If I’m to candidly advise the youths in this country I would simply tell them (especially the graduates) not to waste their talents and time on government jobs.

The week I moved to Sokoto along with my family after returning from India Prof Sanusi Hassan Wara took me for the first time to AGG mall along Mabera. What came to my mind which I also told Prof at that time was that “by now sir you are supposed to have something like this considering what you earn monthly”. Prof Wara only smiled. I didn’t understood what he meant by that smile until now. A teacher as always said would only be rewarded by God Himself. When I got an opportunity to gist with Prof Mansur Lawal of Biochemistry Department also I shedded tears. He told us that when he was employed as a graduate assistant his salary was far better than what a person (his friend) with similar rank earns in NNPC. The University appointment was for the genius. Unfortunately now teachers are least paid staff in Nigeria especially the state government teachers. Prof told me the same person who is working with NNPC has a mansion building with over 30 million naira in every January as bonus (upfront). By his age Prof Mansur needs to rest after having spent several years of active service to Nigeria unfortunately even his salary for several months is yet to be paid.

Today after having worked for 4hrs alone in the farm in a harsh weather to abide by what the Minister of Education asked us to venture into (farming) I carried on my head a bag (medium size) of guineacorn from farm to my house by foot under the blazing sun. An old man stopped me by the road who is familiar with me and said “oh despite your calibre and high status in the community you doing this work in a hard way like this? May Allah bless what you are doing and reward you for the humility”. The reason why I brought up this issue is that in times like this one must forget that he is educated to survive. Those who think they are graduates and blame their uncles for not sending them money should stop that and immediately look for something to do. And for those who think they are employed thinking that their salary is sufficient for them need to rethink as nothing last except the Almighty. Things can abruptly change as it happened to us. Have you ever imagined a federal government employee would not be paid his salary for several months? Salary does not have guarantee or your job can be terminated at any moment. Don’t wait until you become a begger. If you rely on salary they said “you are one step away from poverty”

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From the experience I have gathered by interacting with the two professors I realised that one should not over rely on government (salary) to live a comfortable life. There comes the issue of skills and business. You must learn some skills to earn a living. I learned how to go to farm during childhood days and I’m using it now to look for what to eat.

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If not because it would hurt my students I would have said that I don’t want the Universities to resume soon as I’m already engaged in Agribusiness. I totally put all my energy, time and experience as well as resources on it. Inshaa Allah I would be successful in it. And when I succeed in it don’t think I can be stupid again to continue with the government job.

A word is enough for the wise. Look for something to do on your own rather than depending on government. One day you would be embarrassed like myself though I’m almost out of it as I harvested millet and guineacorn so far, water melon is by the way and onion work would commence tomorrow inshaa Allah

When Prof Wara smiled little do I know that it is not the years of service that would allow you to accumulate resources In my understanding rather the entrepreneurship mind. Think wisely!

Tijjani Salihu writes from north.

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