Most of us have seen young men and women working in the markets and by the roadsides on our way to and from work. Some of these folks are even as young as our children. They work from dawn to dusk most days of their lives. They work so hard, they get nothing but pay taxes to government; no mercy from heaven that helps only those that help themselves acquire jets. They clean houses, sell food, drive cars and tend to us when in sickness. Since all they do is work, they can't learn how to improve their odds.
Yet every entrepreneur, businessman, professor and inventor wants government to help them make a success out of their ideas. While others borrow money from friends and relatives, these people are always crying to government for help. No country can survive on government help alone. Most private investments must stay private while the role of government should remain what individuals cannot do; concentrating on infrastructure.
Think about who the real conservatives, libertarian or republicans are. Those whose big defense contracts, construction contracts and private prison contracts depend on the governments or the poor that have never benefited from government all their lives? Conservatives chide the poor for expecting too much from government with a straight face and then turn around to lobby the same government for billions of contracts.
Entrepreneurial reliance of poor on one another to start small business is the bedrock of progress in a mixed economy. What is lacking is education to turn their endeavors to big business. It is one of the reasons most businesses in Africa and Nigeria in particular do not survive their owners. Dantata, Ojukwu and Odua groups are the exceptions. The few that survived have children educated in many fields to take over. US Italians started as construction workers, but their children became architects, surveyors, engineers etc.
There must be a role for God and Government to educate poor hard working folks. All of us cannot be lawyers, engineers or accountants. Based on individual skillful talent, our manual labor must be respected and channeled. There are children with gifted fingers or biceps like Kilwe but others with different talents to manage. Africans have all of these but we have failed miserably as managers of our own talents and resources. 69% of Nigerians on less than 300 naira daily are denied opportunities by children of looters.
Lack of appreciation for hard-work: easy return on what they did not invest and outright looting of the treasury, started in their younger days as a cultivated habit. They pass it to their children denying poverty in the Country. Some even argue that there are no dumps
Tai Solarin used to talk about hard labor in Europe but it never sank in. He was one of the first principals of a school to make students cultivate school's agricultural farm. Some hated his school for that and made sure we avoided Mayflower School. There might have been some high school teachers that warned us of hard work overseas: that by the time you get home from school and work, you would be so tired, your burning food would wake you up, if you did not burn down the house. It never registered.
Many of us in full time school were also working full time in those days abroad. Factory work was back breaking prompting many of us to swear to stay in school so that we do not have do such manual labor for the rest of our lives. It was so hard and hot in one factory that a couple of us missed work the following day. But we had to stay in school.
Security was one of the best jobs, especially the night shifts where we got to study so that we could stay awake. One of our friends did not like it because it was minimum wage. So he got lucky and got a construction job. He was asked if he could handle one of those road breakers. No problem he said, he did it for many years in Nigeria. Liar! Liar! Somehow, he handled it well. But when he got home, he kept crying that his body could not stop shaking. He tried to sleep, all parts of his body was still vibrating.
Another one got the job of a cleaner and was asked if he could handle the rotary swinging machine. No problem, he told them that he did it for many years in Nigeria. When he was given the machine, the machine swung him into the wall. When he came home he told us he was knocked unto the wall by the damn machine.
Getting back home, our eyes became open that there were people in Africa working day in and out harder than Europeans. It was not that we did not see them before we left home. I.K Dairo song did not sink in about high school graduates working night and day shift in factories at Apapa and Ikeja. We started to appreciate the contribution of people and their hard labor to the economy. Just as Americans want manufacturing jobs back.
We used to have a bus in Surulere running from Barracks to Yaba. Lagos hired some men to clean the gutter and they would pile the dirt by the side of the road while another truck would transport the rubbish away. There was this handsome sturdy man doing his daily work but soiled by the dirt. Some people in the bus were disgusted and claimed nobody could pay them to do such work.
Someone then asked them: would you respect him if he knocked your door with a gun? Well, this may have been years ago but that was how we turned our young men into kidnappers, robbers and our young ladies into prostitutes hunting us. Unfortunately many of those that went to school for free throughout their lives and never participated in the dignity of hard labor raise children and others to loot our Country into oblivion.
On the other hand were those of us that did not know when to stop at one job. Some had two or three jobs after graduation from college. We had professional job in the day and not so professional after hours. Many social workers, teachers, doctors, lawyers and nurses work over 18 hours from one location to the next; to build another house or pay school fees. It actually killed a few of us because they did not know what age to stop.
There was a friend that was an accountant in the day, taxi driver later and also a store owner as he had to beg his children and wife to help out. One day, stressed as usual with high blood pressure, he was restocking his store when he died of a heart attack. He had houses everywhere but he did not get enough friends to sit him down, and tell him that he was no longer a young man. These are the ones looters outshined with no sweat.