The Next Level Campaign: A Recap of the 2019 Promises to the Youths

January 14, 2022

Twitter is back! And it’s a reminder that 2023 is not as far as we think. So as the campaign strategies slowly begin, we want to remind you of some of the promises President Buhari made while campaigning for the 2019 elections . These were four promises to the Nigerian youth in the 2019 Next Level Campaign.

1. Job creation across various sectors

Bubu’s promise: Over 50 million new jobs will be created.

Are you shocked?

If this isn’t a part of any Nigerian electoral campaign, then just know the real elections haven’t started. One of the ways Buhari’s administration was hoping to achieve this ambitious figure, is the N-power program — one of the four “empowerment” schemes created in 2016 with a budget of ₦500 billion. The other arms focused on addressing poverty and hunger.

It was going well, until…

The government claimed that since 2016, the programmes combined have supported more than 4 million beneficiaries country-wide. Let’s even overlook that the target figure for just employment under this campaign was 50 million jobs. 

Who runs the data for these guys?

Because in May 2019, we saw Bubu’s wife, Aisha Buhari, criticising the administration managing the funds under Maryam Uwais — the senior special assistant to the President — for the lack of accessibility of the fund to the people. 

Hm...

If somebody sleeping in the same house with Bubu is asking questions, who are we not to bring back these questions even in 2022? 

Our Question:

Before Buhari even made this new pledge in 2019, who had benefited from the program since 2016?

Now here’s another confusing part.

The goal was to provide Nigerian graduates aged 18-35 with skills that are valuable to the global job market and a ₦30,000 stipend under the program.

Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

What’s the difference between this program and the Skills Acquisition & Entrepreneurship Department program under the National Youth Service Corps? 

Absolutely nothing. They literally have the same target audience and remuneration for participants. So why pump money into creating something that already exists?

It doesn’t stop there o.

Even without the receipts to prove the benefits of this program, especially with the pledge to ensure more jobs for us, about a year in, Bubu set up the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund with another ₦75 billion in 2020.

Hm…

Now to the big question: 

With the three million jobs yearly Buhari promised in his first term, and 50 million in his second term, what’s Nigeria’s unemployment rate looking like?

Just look at this chart.

Unemployment has quadrupled between the first quarter of 2015 and the second quarter of 2020. 

How can unemployment be rising when every four years, candidates are promising thousands of jobs to the youths? What are the success rates of participants awarded after the programs? 

These are the questions we need to hold Bubu by his kaftan to ask, with all the money being pumped into these youth empowerment programs. 

2. A pledge to the creative industry

As part of the promise to provide more jobs for the youths, this administration pledged to commit to the growth of the creative industry.

Bubu’s promise: To invest in technology, as well as the creative and agricultural industry of the economy.

So a little back story. 

Small play and Buhari showed us that the Nigerian government can actually move fast. It all started from the attacks on offices of the national electoral commission by arsonists and gunmen, mainly in the South-east —  they claimed these attacks were orchestrated by Biafra stans. Buhari responded on June 1 2020,  with a tweet that angered Uncle Jack:

Militant Bubu wan dey disguise, so Uncle Jack took it down almost immediately. 

That’s how Bubu vexed and reported him to big daddy Lai Muhammed. Before we knew it, the government mandated all network providers to block servers from connecting to Twitter. 

Glo users weren’t exactly sure though. If you don’t gerrit, forget about it.

Anyway, that’s how Nigerians started Tweeting all the way from the United Kingdom in Ajah for seven months. After that love speech to the creative industry, Buhari threw our livelihood into the gutter for the rest of 2020. 

How much did we really lose after 222 days of the  Twitter ban? 

According to Netblocks — a watchdog organisation that monitors cyber-security and governance of the Internet — Nigeria was losing approximately $250,000 (₦102.5 million) for every hour of the Twitter ban. 

The government finally agreed to lift the ban on January 13 2022, after insisting for Twitter to commit to: respecting our laws, setting up direct communication with the government to manage content that violates rules, establishing a legal entity under the Corporate Affairs Commission, designating a Nigerian representative and paying Bubu’s black tax. 

I

3. An overhaul of the education sector

Bubu’s pledge: To improve education in the country, the government will do whatever it takes to prepare the teachers, curriculum and classrooms to attain the right educational goals and grow our country. 

We’ll keep this short. 

Let’s just recall that ASUU was on strike from February 2020 – December 2020 and still threatened us in October 2021 to commence another strike over unpaid salaries.

Where is the ginger from the initial campaign to reform the educational system?

4. Political inclusion for youths

Bubu’s Pledge:  To introduce a special mentoring programme in governance with young graduates working with ministers and other appointees. The government would  also provide more access to youths as aides of cabinet members through opportunities for appointments in board and agencies.

Plenty grammar.

All this and for months, the government denied any massacre happening at Lekki toll gate on October 20 2020. More than a year later and we still don’t know who gave the command. 

This is just another pledge to us that failed woefully, if we have the youths in governance, who are they and where were they when it mattered to us during the #ENDSARS protest? 

The point of this recap.

2023 isn’t as far as we think. You need to be clear on what you want candidates to bring to the table in their campaigns. We must stay vigilant and be aware of the promises that already exist and failed. 

There will be no audio representation for us in 2023 on our watch.

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