THE MESSAGE, NOT THE MESSENGER

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Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said that societal values have disintegrated to the extent that online fraudsters, otherwise known as yahoo boys, have become role models in Nigerian society. The former minister spoke at the event organized by the Ijaw National Development Group. The former minister said, “The ones that have swag, the yahoo yahoo boys as my son would say, these in short are the role models they are looking at. These are the ones that reinforce negative societal norms and values. The former minister concluded: “There are no shortcuts to working your way up the ladder of life. Progressing in life in work and relationship, marital or otherwise, is always dependent on consistent and hard work”. Like the Hausa saying “Kayi amfani da fadin malam amman kada kayi koyi da halinsa ( understand the message not the messenger).

There is nothing wrong for Diezani to preach moral values to Nigerians and condemn how many of our productive youths have turned to yahoo boys. Of course, there is growing concern on the rising cases of cybercrime in the country and the world at large. These crimes among the youths have led to the enactment of laws by many countries to contain it, including Nigeria. However, the million naira questions begging for answers are: How do the Nigerians youths found themselves in this unlawful thriving business? What motivated them? Are their actions due to the country’s hostile environment where survival remains for the fittest? It would have been good if the former minister had pondered a little bit and reflected on the causes of this mess. To begin with how Nigerian youths find solace in the yahoo yahoo business, one has to look at the country’s rate of unemployment. In the last few years unemployment has risen exponentially in the country. The high unemployment and underemployment rate came at a time when our universities, polytechnics and colleges of education continue to churn out many students into the labour market.

While I agree with the former minister on the disintegration of the societal values in the country which made the yahoo boys to become role models, lack of opportunities among the youths have also contributed greatly towards this bad trend. What about the menace of corruption? Politics which should have been used to foster growth and national development has become a gravy train for wealth accumulation. The former minister cannot deny this simple fact. Within a twinkle of eyes, funds meant for educational or socio-economic development can be tampered with or outrightly looted. Diezani should have made a distinct difference between the yahoo boys who swindle their victims at the slightest opportunity and our politicians who stole public funds with impunity. While some segment of the society looks at yahoo boys as their role models, others emulate the likes of politicians who feed fat from the proceeds of corruption.

Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State