One of the main reasons given for the recent restriction of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada and commercial tricycles, known as Keke in Lagos was that many of the operators of the motorbikes and tricycles are from the north of the country.
Officials of the Lagos government told anyone who cared to listen that the influx of these uneducated youth, who usually live rough with no known address and means of identification constitute a security risk to the state. In government reasoned that by restricting the operation of motorbikes and tricycles, these youth, left with no job would leave the state to other parts of the country.
Another reason why these growing number of youth are seen as a threat to the state is because of the widespread insecurity in the north of the country.
But do you think the state government would have implemented a policy that is aimed at forcing the youth out of the state if they were educated and employed in the tech sector, for instance? Definitely no. Nobody loves to be burdened by the problem created by someone else and the problem of mass exodus of these youth mostly from the north to the wealthier southern parts of the country, especially Lagos is an indictment on the leadership of the north.
Nothing has exposed the failure of leadership in the north and its inability or reluctant to roll back the raging poverty in the region that the rise in insurgency, banditry and the mass of uneducated and unemployable youth from the region.
Northern political can no longer bury their heads in the sand and pretend that there is no problem. They have to these signs as direct consequences of their misrule over the years and come up with solutions to the problem.
If I were a political leader in the north of the country, the first thing I would is to de-emphasise religion and give priority to education. I will pursue mass education vigorously and go after the harmful tradition of Almajiri. No society desirous of development will allow children, which should be in school to roam the streets unattended. This is a recipe of disaster and what we are seeing now is only a tip of the iceberg. Things can and will get worse if no action is taken at addressing it head on.
I shall also invest in provision of opportunities for the youth. Instead of waste billions of naira yearly sending people to Mecca for Haj, I shall redirect the fund into providing opportunities for job creation for the youth.
Northern leaders should be ashamed that its youth are being barely tolerated by people from other parts of the country. What they should strive for is respect for their youth and education and opportunity and the creation of the wealth are the best paths to achieving that.
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