This is a column by Ken Henshaw, Executive Director of We The People. WITTY THOUGHT is a brisk review of situations in Nigeria with intent to revive social consciousness.
On Monday, speaking to an audience in Kano, former governor of Lagos state, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a man considered one of the notable and most brilliant political strategists in Nigeria presented a single solution to fix two of the most pressing challenges in Nigeria- insecurity and unemployment. His solution? That the government should recruit 50 million youths into the Nigerian Army! End insecurity and provide employment in one fell swoop!
When I heard it, I sincerely thought the media was playing pranks again. Seriously? 50 million soldiers? This is perhaps the dumbest thing I have heard in a long while, especially coming from a man who was once the Governor of a State and currently a ranking chieftain of the ruling party.
To put it in perspective, I have pulled the number of standing soldiers and reserves in 4 notable countries, so we can compare Tinubu’s proposal to international practices.
The United States has and active army of 479,785 persons and an Army National Guard of 336,392. That’s an army of 816,117 persons.
The United Kingdom has an army of 80,040 regulars and 30,020 reserves.
India has and active army of 1,237,117 and 960,000 reserves.
China has the largest Army in the world with 2,033,000 active soldiers and 510,000 reserves.
Bola Tinubu wants to have an army of 50 million people! In simple terms, every 4th person in Tinubu’s Nigeria will be a soldier.
Did he ever think of the wage Bill of 50 million soldiers? The pensions, healthcare, housing, kitting, arming, etc.?
Did he ever bother to think if we have 50 million youths in Nigeria?
The youth bracket in Nigeria is between 18 and 29 years and there are only 33,652,424 of them, not up to 50 million. In simple terms, Tinubu’s solution to insecurity and youth unemployment is to make every youth a soldier!
You see, intermittent flops like this give us sneak previews into the mind of those who lead us. When they happen, we should take them seriously. When Buhari said he will stabilize the price of crude oil in the international market and make the naira exchange equally for the dollar, we should have known those were the solutions of a mind bereft of any strategy or capacity, we should have believed his emptiness. We have however come to that conclusion with time.
I have heard rumors that Mr. Tinubu will be aspiring to be Nigeria’s president in 2023. The man has had a long and illustrious career in politics. If after careful privileged study of insecurity and unemployment in Nigeria, this is the best solution he could announce to 200 million Nigerians, we need to take him by his words, this is all he knows, this is all he can deliver.
This view is strictly mine.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Ken Henshaw and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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