Why Blackmail The President?


By Sheik Sesay

Unemployed youths congregating daily at the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) headquarters on Wallace Johnson Street, it could be recalled, recently rowdily stopped workers who were busy erecting security fence around the Freetown City Council (FCC) offices next to the SLPP’s. When interviewed by BBC’s Umaru Fofana, their self-styled spokesman said that there action was, among other things, precipitated by the fact that they were frustrated over the fact that they are yet to be employed since they supported and voted for the SLPP.

To many, that statement of the SLPP youth spokesman was unfortunate, in the light of the fact that their party flagbearer, now President Maada Bio, was not elected to serve only SLPP youths but the entire nation. Many people are of the belief that such unaccepted behavior of the handful of young people must be nipped in the bud before it gets out of hands as such actions of these unemployed, irate youths at the SLPP headquarters seems tantamount to blackmailing the President and government.  Party youths generally believe that after their party wins an election, they should not do anything but look up wholly and solely for their leader and government to provide them  jobs.

President Bio had bluntly told his party youths when he spoke to party supporters past Friday at the party headquarters that he cannot provide jobs for everyone. Realistically, nowhere in the world, not even communist China and Russia, can a government be able to provide jobs for all those who want to work. So for SLPP to sit with hands folded waiting for their leader to perform the impossible for them is like wishing to find drinking water in the Sahara Desert. Many hold the false belief that the party in power should do everything for them and fail to realize that even in super rich USA, Canada, Australia, Western Europe; people work had for their living. That is the main reason why this country is not moving forward robustly and dynamically. The youths are too lazy and content to depend on begging for their livelihood.

Youths of both genders make up about 60% of the population. Aged between 18 and 35, they are at their most physically and mentally strong stage of their lives. It is the time hat they should be willing to learn and to make the sacrifices necessary to learn useful trades and skills that will make them employable, self reliant and productive useful members of society.

In a material world where everything we need to live comfortably and happily cost money, it is not government that has to tell you that you have to as a young boy or girl make every effort to educate yourself, or force yourself to learn a useful trade or skill that will enable you to find work or to be self employed. Those who have adopted a content laid-back, lazy, idle attitude to life should open their eyes and look around. You see your fellow young men and women waking up in the morning and stepping out to do something useful and meaningful for their lives; young people going to school, college and to work places to learn employable skills such as tailoring, driving, hair dressing, catering among others. What are you waiting for? Waiting for manna to fall for you from heaven? Waiting for a magician to put food on the table for your stomach?

One has admiration and respect for those youths who even though they come from poor, humble and deprived families, rise up to their full height to face the challenges and end up engaging themselves profitably; thereby earning the respect of their family members, peers and neighbors.

Nothing good comes easy. As Chinua Achebe said in ‘Things Fall Apart’, the sun shines first on those who stand under it. Think of it. If you are really serious and want to make something out  of your life, five years is enough time to engage yourself as an apprentice in any practical field and be able to gain the competence that will make you employable in that field. Why don’t you  get started right now? Ask yourself: why are you not ashamed to beg or steal but ashamed to start humbly at the bottom of life and gradually, faithfully and with hard work and determination work slowly to climb up the ladder of life? Look carefully at the lives of those society admire – I am not talking of those who acquire wealth corruptly at the expense of other people. You will find out that 99% of people who have succeeded in life made strenuous efforts to become what they dreamt of being.

As St. Paul said in the New Testament, faith without works produces no fruit. Life without effort leads to failure not success. Even in America, when Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, he did not go around knocking on the doors of the poor people who voted for him to give them money. What he has done is to work to make the American economy stronger and dynamic in order for more jobs to be created. Today, he can proudly state that America has employed a record number of people since he came to power.

Why do you think people come from Europe and America to look for work here? For those who think that manna falls from heaven, let them go to America and Europe and see how millions of people are struggling to get the basics of life. We envy foreigners because many of them have made it good in our country. That is because they are serious. They are not ashamed to start as shop boys, hawkers, to do menial jobs such as house-help that you are ashamed to do because you are born here. But how can you climb up the ladder of success when you are not willing to start from the bottom?

Many young men and women you see out there selling at Abacha Street, Wilberforce Street and other places around the city and the rest of the country; others you see riding commercial motorbikes (‘okada’) and tricycles (‘kekeh’) driving taxis and mini-buses (‘poda-poda’) went to school. Many of them have good WASSCE, diplomas and degrees but that does not prevent them from beginning life somewhere lowly on the road to success. Let us hail the ones that are struggling very hard to make life worthwhile, meaningful and profitable for themselves and their loved ones. Let us shame, disgrace and despise idlers and lazy fools that do not want to do anything but beg and steal. Get up! Do not sit down dreaming. Do something for yourself. Learn something so that when opportunity comes, you will be ready to take advantage of it. Ironically, there are many youths that have been given the opportunity to make a start. Yet, through laziness they squandered those opportunities, preferring instead to be beggars – ‘bra you borbor dae ya o.’ And when they are given money, instead of spending it on something useful they buy cheap booze, Tramadol and ‘diamba’ to get high and then go about disturbing the peace of others noisily or violently.

It is this bunch of good for nothing youths that want to hold the president to ransom. Even if the jobs are there, what have they learnt that makes them employable? Late Betty who had no hands trained herself to use her feet to do a lot of amazing useful things for which she earned money. What about you with no physical or mental deformity? What are you waiting for…For President Bio to put food on the table for you? Keep waiting. Do not do anything for yourself. Keep waiting for the next five or ten years.