“Mushin-Lagos of My Dream: Keeping our Youth Off the Street Through Education & Empowerment.”
Mushin is one of the major and popular urban cities in Lagos State, and with a population of almost 2million inhabitants, this vibrant city, means different things to different people within or outside the city. It was a violent flash point in the mid 1960s and the early 80s, especially with regards to political and communal restiveness.
My Mushin is a city that never goes to sleep, never a dull moment, and this is well crafted in the “Oriki”( eulogy) of the indigenes and residents of this city (Omo oni Mushin àjíná omo ni Mushin ànádòru) In its uniqueness as a Nigerian city, Mushin is comparable to certain major cities around the world that bear a striking resemblance to its socio-cultural tendencies, for example, Peckham, Brixton or Hackney in London, or Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx in New York.
The city has produced many great Nigerians, including, those that have represented, and still represent, the country abroad in various fields of human endeavours like in Sporting activities, Music, Education, Art and Culture, etc. It is noteworthy that one of the country’s best teaching hospitals, Lagos University Teaching hospital (LUTH), was situated in Mushin. Other Federal presence in Mushin are, The Federal Institute of Industrial Research and Organization; The country foremost Armed Forces Resettlement Centre; the Nigeria Telecommunication Ltd Training School, & National Food and Drug Agency Commission (NAFDAC), among others. The home of indigenous textiles production, Aswani Textile is in Mushin. Mushin also houses, and can boast of the highest concentration of Polythene, plastic and paper production factories and marketing in the whole Federation. Again, many multinational organizations are located in Mushin, example of which are, PZ Industries, Smithkline Beecham, Nestle, Xerox, MTN, BOC Gases and Air liquide Nigeria plc ., etc.
It is therefore apparent that Mushin is a major industrial cum-commercial hub of Lagos State, with such major markets for products like rice for the entire West Africa, Daleko Market; the largest auto spare parts market at Ladipo; largest plank market at Amu street, and largest market for the sale of oranges at idi oro, etc. Mushin houses notable media outfits and organisations like, The Guardian and The Nation. There are at least six functional primary health centres, and a modern hybrid library. Mushin has two industrial areas: Matori Industrial Estate and Apapa/Oshodi Express road industrial Estate.
With such a wonderful socio-economic background, its becomes imperative to get the youth off the streets of Mushin and get rid of daytime crime. To achieve this objective, we need to make sure that they complete their schooling. Obviously, if young people do not possess good, quality education, they will be lost to the varied unfortunate and mostly criminal tendencies that abound in society. Factory and other blue collar jobs are not there to absorb dropouts, and because of this, the majority of youths who drop out easily claim that there was no one to care for them and, talk to them. “Education is the foundation of Freedom; ignorance is the basis of Slavery. If you would free a people, first and foremost educate them. The illiterate man is only half a man. He is already slave enough to his unfounded fears, his incurred passion, his natural instincts”-Adegoke Adelabu (Peculiar Mess). Fueling the number of youths in the streets is a glaring shortage of job opportunities, given the bad economic climate in the country, lack of government support, and a reluctance on the part of the indigenous and multinational organizations to support worthwhile initiatives that can empower the youths of their community to realise their full potential.
More investments on youth programs by the private-sector driven multi-national organizations, local, state and federal governments, will be very helpful indeed. Such programs could include youth drop-in centres, mentoring programs, and sports programs. We must see that no young person is denied the right to quality education, safe accommodation, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, counselling and other support service aimed at breaking the cycles of disadvantage, deprivation, abuse and neglect. We must support growth through youth self-discovery, development of skills, growth, and education.
This will enable the youth to transform their future through the development of their skills, confidence and relationships with each other, their families and their communities. My advise to organizations that are operating within the Mushin environment is to come up with programs to support the residents of the community.
On our part, the HEN Foundation is embarking on a Free Education Support Programme (FESP) through the provision of a limited number of free JAMB forms, free tutorial classes preparatory to JAMB examination, and partial scholarship in support brilliant but indigent students. I believe that if other kind hearted, patriotic individuals and organisations should emulate this realistic and bold practical step of the HEN Foundation we all shall succeed in keeping our youth off the streets for a better and sure future of our society.
Finally, I would love to borrow a word from his His Royal Majesty, the Oni Of Ife, during his recently visit to the United Kingdom, whilst taking a group photograph, it was not a mere coincidence when he advised his audience to replace “cheers” with “Mushin”, stating that, “at least Mushin is part of Yoruba kingdom and the name sounds great.” Also, one the Nigeria’s legendary musician sang that if you come to Lagos and you have not been to Mushin, then you’re not yet in Lagos (To ba wo eko to ba ti de Mushin oti de’Eko).
Long live Mushin
Long live Lagos State
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria
Written by: Jamil Bolaji Eniola