Obasanjo’s justification for Keke driving as option for youth employment
It was in the news that Nigeria’s former President,Olusegun Obasanjo recently donated a good number of Keke tricyles to some unemployed youths across the country to start “small business” for them instead of staying idle.
While justifying his benevolence,the 85 year old former President Obasanjo drove one of the Keke tricycles to demonstrate and impress the beneficiaries and other members of the public.
It was very thoughtful of former President Obasanjo to worry about youth unemployment and trying his own way to proffer solution.
It must have been paining him seeing a good number of our youths roaming about without employment.
In this case,Obasanjo has actually put food on the table of many families.
While speaking about his gesture, Obasanjo was quoted as saying,”I have always had passion for youths because there is no substitute for employment”.
However,Obasanjo acknowledged that while issuing such gifts,he received some feedback that they were sort of inappropriate gifts and some wondered if they were the best and suitable for young people.
When viewed from the global standard of economic development, provision of Keke to the youths as instruments of employment is “inappropriate” as observed by a section of the public.
One school of thought believed that skill acquisition is the best way to go since most of those involved in Keke and Okada motorcycle driving do not posses skills.
Besides,the army of such unskilled youths who operate Keke and Okada motorcycles form part of the reckless and dare-devil drivers on the road.
They are very unruly and try to drive away motorists on the way.
They do not obey traffic rules just as many of them who left the Okada business to take up Keke driving indulge in criminal activities.
Generally in all the states of the federation where they operate,they have become a huge problem and various governments find it difficult to contain their unbecoming actions on the road.
The issue at hand is an indication of failure of governance over the past years including when Obasanjo and other heads of states had the opportunity to create decent employment for Nigerian youths instead of mooting the idea of Keke and Okada driving as options.
How many children of elitist Nigerians are Keke and Okada drivers.
Keke and Okada driving do not measure up to international standard of driving safety.
Passengers are not well protected.They do not have seat belts and many other safety paraphanalia.
Imagine a vehicle without doors and minimum comfort.
In substantiating the undesirability of Keke and the likes,there are reasons why European and American governments have never allowed them imported to their countries for transportation business.
There are better alternatives like mini buses which are basically standard for intracity taxi business.They afford some safety and comfort.
It is the view of many that governments at all levels should increase efforts towards skill acquisition for the youths.
Every year,millions of youths graduate from various schools at secondary and university levels.
They should be encouraged when they are in school to acquire skills or do so after graduation.
We can never get it right providing Keke for our youths otherwise,Nigeria would would be flooded with such dangerous machines developed in a different country.
We commend former President Olusegun Obasanjo for his thoughtfulness on youth unemployment even as we do not share the view that provision of Keke tricyles is the answer to youth unemployment.