INTERVIEW WITH ABDULKADIR TAHIR
Having a Bright future comes at a great expense in Nigeria, Abdul has seen first-hand how the system stifles any hope for a good life. He shared his pain with A New Touch of Africa:
What has your experience been growing up in Nigeria?
My experience growing up in Nigeria hasn’t been palatable. My parents managed to sponsor me to the high school level after which I was left alone sponsoring myself in the university and every other thing since then. I graduated from high school at age 19 and have been traveling within the country to make ends meet for myself. I’ve been in the northern region moving from Kwara to Kaduna and to Abuja, the capital. It was here in Abuja that my journey became a bit rosy and I got to enroll at the University of Abuja to study Sociology. Finally, I got my degree in 2016.
How has the labour market been for you?
It hasn’t been a fair ride. It is a battle of the fittest. The rate of unemployment is alarming. I haven’t landed any job to date. These days you have to pay someone hugely to help you land a job. In the previous administration, buying of jobs was done behind offices but now it’s done right on the table. Everybody pays for a job now to hopefully get into the payroll. This means there are no jobs for the poor. If you get there, it’s a miracle or one in a million story.
At what point did you decide to be self employed?
It occurred to me when I was 22 to get a skill considering the state of the economy. I ventured into printing services and graphics design. Amidst all that I was doing my school assignments and going to classes.
How has the current state of the economy affected you?
The economy plays an important role because it generally affects our lives and relationships. It gets difficult to be financially available in your casual and sexual relationships with people. Thinking of marriage or bringing a child into this world is a big deal. One needs a tangible source of income to manage relationships. I’m married with kids but I’m not really doing very well. Growing up as a child, I had a lot of dreams and the things I wanted to achieve. I don’t need to be told that I am creative. I used to think I would have a bright future but the lights dimmed as time went on. The people at the top of the industry will use you and not really add to your life, not all of course. They take advantage of you. You work for them and get stipends. There isn’t enough to save.
What’s your dream and aspirations all about?
I’ve always wanted to be a businessman like Aliko Dangote, the richest entrepreneur in Africa. I love trade, just buying and selling what’s needed. That’s my vision.
Do you still believe in that dream?
Till tomorrow, I keep on pursuing it despite the disappointments. I want to own a diversified business that involves manufacturing and distribution of consumables and also product packaging in large quantities, wholesale and retail. I’m also interested in computers, building them myself from scratch to the finish. HP is my favorite computer.
What effort have you made to reach out to investors?
I’ve gotten a lot of negative responses. The only thing you have with you is an undeveloped dream.
What kind of future do you picture from here?
If we continue to have a bad set of leaders, I don’t see any bright future. This government only represents its agenda.
What’s your opinion about the EndSars protest and what role did you play?
I gave EndSars protest a hundred percent support. For so long, it has been as if the nation was hypnotized by a self-centered government. The youth got acknowledgments from all around. With great youth and well-meaning Nigerians, we can change the state of things. I was at every protest with or without eating.
We need resources to continue fighting against bad governance in a peaceful and innovative manner. I gave my support vocally during the protest and I was happy seeing the powerful collaboration among youth. At some point, I was broke but I matched with them and took cold drinks and snacks sponsored by volunteers under a baking sun. I left for home at night. It was at about 11:47 P.M. I was so happy and I took pictures to save that very moment. It hasn’t been easy in this country.
Usually, I submit totally when I encounter police and pay them off to avoid being assaulted. Within 5 years now, we are experiencing a second recession. Paying electricity bills and transportation is cutting one’s head. At times at home, I withdraw from eating so my kids could eat to satisfaction. Sometimes I and my wife just watch them eat with the thought of school fees and house rent down our throats. I’m currently owing to the landlord, half a year’s rent. Like I said we need to keep on fighting for change, otherwise, I don’t see a bright future.
By Elijah Christopher,