Articles

Wait, am I a #LazyNigerianYouth?

I woke up late last week Monday and all but fast-forwarded in my preparation to avoid making a bad situation worse by getting to work late.

Just as I got to Ojuelegba, I saw this young man clad in a corporate wear brandishing a cardboard sheet with the words “I am not a LazyNigerianYouth” written on it.

“This guy’s village people have succeeded in running him mad. His own must be a fresh madness since he still looks really clean”, I thought as I flagged down a cab to my office.

While in the cab, I scrolled through my twitter timeline to catch up on happenings and yet again saw the same phrase #lazynigerianyouth trending – then it dawned on me that the fellow I saw earlier had his senses intact. I was the one ‘sleeping on a bicycle’.

I immediately clicked on the hashtag and followed the news. A few minutes later, I joined millions of Nigerians to go all out in a screaming match on twitter echoing “I am not a lazy Nigerian youth”.

On getting to the office, my colleagues were aware too and we spent a good portion of the day referring to the statement and getting excited at how Nigerian youths were standing up for themselves albeit on social media.

From time to time, Femi my colleague who carried the matter on his head would read out tweets he found interesting regarding the matter on Twitter. We would concur in some cases, bash in others, and admire in a few.

One of the comments he read out made an impact on me and the rest of my colleagues. I knew because I noticed an unusual calm among everyone as though they were deep in thoughts.

You know how youths were dropping their credentials on Twitter and ending it with “#IamnotaLazyNigerianYouth”? Well, that’s how he read out this comment.

“My name is Kenneth Osibowale and I am 37 years old. I have three degrees from two of Nigeria’s best universities and a Masters degree from a university in the UK (I hustled to send myself to school by the way). I own a project management firm and a freight forwarding business. I have series of investments, live very comfortably, and have accumulated millions of naira in my retirement savings account for that day I decide to retire. Please somebody should help me shout it aloud that I am not a #lazyNigerianyouth”.

This was the comment that shut us all up. How could this dude at 37 already have such an interesting plan for his retirement?

I looked at myself from head to toe and shook my head in pity at myself. Here I was, angry at the fact that part of my salary was remitted into my pensions account. I had even gone to our HR madam to ask her about the possibility of withdrawing some money from my pensions account.

All this time, I thought it was just a ploy to trap my money down. I have been a fool. At 29, I had not even considered retirement, yet it was inevitable.

I couldn’t imagine an older version of me living anything less than comfortable without constantly worrying about money or even begging for it.

Humbled now, I went back to my HR madam to seek a way out. I asked if there was a way to grow my retirement savings account and she looked shocked.

“Grow? Aren’t you the same person that just last month wanted to liquidate your RSA?” she quizzed.

In defeat, I told her I now knew better. With a once over and a nod, she opened her drawer, brought out a form and handed it to me.

“Take this. It’s a form that enables you to make additional voluntary contributions to your RSA. The contributions you make will be deducted from your salary before tax which is good because it lowers your overall tax liability. Just like your regular pension contributions, your voluntary additions will equally be invested and managed by your Pensions Fund Administrators to guarantee good returns.”

I soaked in her every word before asking “So, what is the maximum amount I can contribute and how often will I need to contribute it?”

“Oh, you’re at liberty to decide how much you wish to contribute and the frequency of the contributions. You can decide to do monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually. It’s all up to you” she concludes with a smile.

I thanked her and doubled back to my office with the form. It would be unfair of me to plan a wealthy retirement without letting my cohorts know, so I gave them the low down.

Before that day ended, everyone of us apart from Femi (dude is stingy even to himself) had opted to make monthly additional contributions to our RSA.

2018 will be remembered as the year I took the decision to make my tomorrow look good.