WHEN the cookie finally crumbles in the nearly 200 million-strong Nigeria, the reverberations will be felt across the world. For many, the event will come in the form of 'breaking news' in the media, surprising those who didn't expect it. But for those who anticipated the event, it will only be an eventual unraveling of an overdue implosion - unless something is done to address this impending day of reckoning.
This day will come in the form a reaction to an event like we have today, Saturday, March 15, 2014, where applicants desperate for employment trooped en masse to stadia and other public locations across Nigeria's 36 states, including the Federal Capital City of Abuja. These young jobseekers, each with his application fees of a thousand Naira in his purse, bombarded these locations in numbers unseen at any recent manner of public event in the country - numbers not seen even at soccer events in soccer-crazy Nigeria.
The turnout itself makes for a good barometer of the state of employment among the young people in the land, along with the desperation of Nigerian youths to earn a secure living. It shows that these young people are not lazy or merely desperate for shortcuts to comforts. It shows that they merely want to work and work hard.
But the benevolent orientation of the people in charge of the affairs of this highly energetic, highly enterprising society of massive human resource continues to be the Achilles that undermines every good opportunity in the country. Whenever it is time for these 'geniuses' to do what is right by the people, they adopt postures similar to the benevolent western Santa, traveling around to dole out gifts to grateful children. But the 'African Santa' operates a little differently by instructing that the children come with a fee to specific locations in the scorching African heat, without which they would not benefit of a chance at his goodies.
Yes, a chance. That is all it is. A chance at employment, not a guaranteed employment, is all that these young people were required to pay for, in order to be part of the process. For this they have been asked to come to locations across the country to apply to a very limited number of positions with a federal agency, the Nigeria Immigration Service. And from all over the country these young people came, from cities and from villages, for a chance at employment with the agency.
Of course it was a daft idea, a foolish idea. But that is what happens when self glorification inspires an idea rather than a genuine purpose of service delivery; that is what happens when you are indifferent to the purpose than to be motivated by a desire to serve and uphold. You throw out the crumbs to the mother hen and its chicks, and let the chicks squawk and fight as they peck at these very few grains.
That is what happened on Saturday, as young Nigerians besieged the locations across the country for an opportunity to peck at the crumbs thrown at them. The struggle by the chicks for a chance at a peck at the crumbs thrown them has left a good many dead at these locations.
It is another waste of precious young lives, completely avoidable, under the current political dispensation in Nigeria. The last major loss of lives in the country involved young children who were murdered and incinerated while they slept at their boarding school in Yobe State. The world went by its business on the aftermath of the latter, just like most Nigerians expressed brief shock at the horror, before going on with their private affairs.
This, too, will not be an exception in that regard.
Yet a time will come when the Nigerian chickens will come home to roost. For a country that has endured a bruising civil war in the late 60s, it is unlikely to survive a second wave of unrest of similar proportion – especially when the most potent ingredient for such implosion is in many cases left unattended or, to put it another way, this potent ingredient is in fact being fattened by those who don't know better.
There is a massive population of unemployed youth left to their devices out there across the country. While many of them still struggle to make ends meet through honest means, quite a number will do anything to survive, from advanced-fee fraud to brazen armed robbery. This body of idle hands may one day congeal to explode when it can't take any more of today's kind of occurrence. When that time comes, nobody will be spared – everyone will feel the impact, at home and abroad.
Unless something is done, unless something drastic happens between now and that moment, that implosion will be of a variety unseen – one that may yet make the world's largest theater of war in Democratic Republic of Congo look like what Wole Soyinka called 'child's play.'
When it happens in Nigeria, "the revolution will not be televised."
- Twitter: @folabi24