Young Nigerians online have come out in full force against President Muhammadu Buhari after he was quoted to have described a lot of Nigerian youth as a group of lazy people who have done nothing except look for the good life.
During a panel appearance with world leaders at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London in Westminster on Wednesday, the president said: “More than 60% of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free.”
For those who know, it was not the first time Buhari would disparage young Nigerians. He had toed that path previously, in a February 2016 interview he granted The Telegraph, saying some Nigerians in the UK, mostly youth, are disposed to criminality and should not be granted asylum there.
But this time, Nigerian youth have not taken the reproachful comment and they have come out to hit back at President Buhari in a forceful manner. With the hashtag, #LazyNigerianYouths, having been the number one trending topic on social media from the moment he delivered the speech.
In tons of message on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others, Nigerian youths are showing widespread contempt for the comment and hitting back with photos of what they do for a living, albeit with zero support from government.
Among those who have seized the opportunity of the moment to position themselves is former Vice president and 2019 presidential hopeful, Atiku Abubakar. In his reaction to President Buhari’s speech, he tweeted: “I will never refer to Nigeria’s youth as people who sit and do nothing. They are hardworking. I should know, I have thousands of youths working for me all over the country who have been the backbone to our success.
“I’ve always said oil is not Nigeria’s greatest asset. Our greatest asset is our youth who created Nollywood out of nothing and an entertainment industry that is second to none in Africa. Our youth are charting new frontiers; creating a huge tech industry on their own! Their entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, and creative abilities are things of pride and should be applauded, encouraged and nurtured.”
Reacting to the issue with the #LazyNigerianYouths hastag, a young woman tweeted: “Meet Kate Ogechukwu, a Second Class Upper graduate of History and International Relations from Ebonyi State university, decided to go into charcoal selling to make ends meet, due to lack of Jobs” while @LadyPainterNG wrote: “I am Nigerian. I paint homes and offices for a living.@MBuhari I am not lazy, we are not lazy!#LazyNigerianYouths”
On his own, @d_4_dotun tweeted: @Gidi_Traffic I am a 2nd class upper graduate of chemistry science from university of lagos, I am now a shoe maker cos I couldn’t get a job, I am not lazy, I am not lazy I am not lazy. #LazyNigerianYouths” just as @Adeekehinde wrote: “I’m a graduate of Food Science and Technology with National Diploma and Higher National Diploma. As @MBuhari came on board in 2015, I graduated. Since Buhari couldn’t provide me a job, I started my tailoring business @KAN_Royale, guess it qualifies me as a #LazyNigerianYouths.”
Another, @Blvckcinderela had this to say: “I’m Bella Christiana.
I’m a student. I’m a VJ and a Content Curator. You people should help tell President Buhari, I’m not part of #LazyNigerianYouths” as @KuloDesigns also jumped on the trend to write: “I am not lazy and I don’t want free anything. I make some of the best casuals and agbada on this side of the world. Order for one today. Delivery nationwide. #LazyNigerianYouths”
An artist, Arinze Stanley, was more forceful in his reaction: “This #LazyNigerianYouths statement is an insult to every young hardworking citizen in Nigeria. @MBuhari” before adding his decision to destroy an artwork he made on President Buhari back in 2015.
“This being said… I will be burning this artwork I made in 2016 because you, Muhammadu Buhari are a shame to the millions of youths that voted you in. #LazyNigerianYouths”
For @iam__NORIS, the misinformation is too huge to let slide. “I have two degrees, One in Chemical engineering and the other in Marine Engineering. I am ridiculously underpaid & under employed in my country and so are many other Nigerian youths. I am not lazy. My president lied or totally uninformed of the true situation #LazyNigerianYouths,” he wrote.