On a day President Goodluck Jonathan, in his Independence Day address to the nation, thumbed his chest over what he described as his achievements in office, hundreds of unemployed youth gathered in Warri, Delta State, to protest the increasing rate of unemployment in the country.
The youth, drawn from all parts of Nigeria under the aegis of Youth Democratic Alliance International, YODA, said they were using the one-day “unemployment rally” to demonstrate the “shamelessness of our nation.”
They threatened to mobilize all the youth in the country to boycott the 2015 general elections.
Addressing the rally, the President of YODA International, Israel Joe said although October 1 was set aside as a day to celebrate Nigeria’s independence, and indeed declared a public holiday, they were not happy because the rate of unemployment in the country had become unacceptable.
According to him, the country’s youth still wallow in economic injustice and therefore hopeless.
“Today, our nation celebrates Independence Day, tagged: Nigeria @54. It is a day set aside for jubilation and celebration. It is also declared a public holiday. But in many sense, we should not be happy that our nation yet celebrate pretentious freedom with mighty economic chains,” he said.
“The rate of unemployment, joblessness and poverty is unthinkable. The youth of this nation still wallow in the hallow chamber of economic injustice. The economic disequilibrium has been very obvious. The youth are not independent and the nation has presented to us a cheque of hopelessness yet fastening our legs to the iron rod of bankruptcy.
“Where have the youth gone wrong? Where are the jobs we once begged graduates to pick-up? Where is the enabling environment for entrepreneurs to thrive? Where are the accessible soft loans to young graduates? We can no longer endure the language of the society that looks at us daily to our face and tell us “NO FUTURE”.
Mr. Joe said the youth were aggrieved with Nigerian leaders and that they were using the rally to convey their grievances though with love, respect and great humility.
He said the youth were not only demanding economic justice, but were tired and ready to take the bull by the horn, the intimidation and victimization notwithstanding.
He added, “The unspeakable horrors of joblessness among the Nigerian youth is reflected in the gross malady of the Boko-Haram sect and it has widened the gap for insecurity, robbery, kidnapping, cybercrime and many social vices and anti-patriotic activities.
“We cannot as a nation, trivialize the degrading economic tranquility while our nation continues to be the greatest purveyor of economic injustice in the world.
“The conspicuous space between wealth and abject poverty has left an ultimate contemplation in the minds of dynamic youths. We do not detest our policy makers but will not align to the policies that have kept us in perpetual ruins.
“We respect the structures but will not cooperate with the system that has battered us with the whip of dehumanization. We have also come here today to launch the campaign of #BringBackOurJobs. The volatile tenseness as a result of idleness must not be allowed to explode on a defenseless nation.”
The YODA president said it would mobilize youth Non-governmental Organizations, NGOs, and millions of youths to Abuja and states capitals to boycott the 2015 general elections “if our governments refuse to do anything about the massive unemployment and joblessness amongst the Nigerian youth”.
He said, “We hereby call on our leaders and stakeholders to the momentous matter of indisputable urgency and also crave their indulgence to finally #BringBackOurJobs.
Mr. Joe commended the group coordinators and their deputies who attended the rally from all parts of the country, saying they exhibited “acute spirit of patriotism.”
He stated, “Let us return home with victory in our minds and shortly, we shall converge again to stage another massive protest on same and other matters. We celebrate you and appreciate your patriotic concern and patience.”