Abraham Maslow developed the popular Hierarchy of Needs in his 1943 paper titled, “The Theory of Human Motivation”.
Maslow claimed to have studied the life of notable personalities in making conclusions in the said publication. He explained that there are levels in human needs in life. If level one is not adequately met, man cannot move to level two. If level two is not adequately met, man cannot move to level three.
The most important need of man according to Maslow is the physiological need, they include; oxygen, water, food, sleep, sex. If these are therefore not met at this level, man cannot move to level two.
Level two is the Safety Need where man desires to be safe.
Love, Affection and Belonging is the third level. Esteem is the forth while Self Actualization is the fifth.
I have often wondered how Maslow would have structured the hierarchy of needs if he was publishing his research in this generation. Today’s world is quite different from Maslow’s world. Things are no longer the same.
When Maslow published the work, there were no PDA’s, there was no internet facility.
Today we live in a global village where information seems to be the most important asset across the globe, whoever has it first dictates the tune of the music.
Then, an average youth reads in the brick library, an average youth of today uses the virtual library. An average youth of today speaks with colleagues located in any part of the world at the torch of a button. An average youth of today is addicted to facebook.
The question is will internet not be part of the physiological needs if Abraham Maslow is writing today courtesy of the role of the internet in our every day life, courtesy of its importance to our existence, courtesy of the way it is shaping our way of life?
Yet only a few have access to the internet in Nigeria. An average Nigerian youth does not have a regular access to the internet; he relies on cybercafés to surf the web at N100 P/H. In some places, it is even more.
Anyone that understands the terrain of Lagos well enough should understand the meaning of slum. A World Bank report identified only nine as the worst slums in Lagos, they are; Ajegunle, Amokoro, Agege, Ijeshatedo/Itire, Iwaya, Makoko, Bariga, Idi-Araba, Shogunle.
Slums in Nigeria are usually identified with poverty and underemployment. Some have described a slum as an over crowded district of a community usually inhabited by poor people.
A visit to some acclaimed slums in Lagos explains the concept of the global village, bad road network, zero access to clean water, no electricity, no toiletries e.t.c. yet youths in these areas are not left out of the global community despite their level of poverty some of them still surfs the web, they are addicted to facebook, they also value information as and when due just like people in priviledged societies. They are not incapacitated by the challenges around them.
If these growing generations of youths are fully empowered, they can rebuild Nigeria. You need to interact with them, though they live in slum areas, they are not thinking like the slum people, they are Nigerian born in slum areas with a global vision, they are thinking, they have ideas that will make the world a better place to live in.
My call is therefore not to those people in the government circle neither is it to tell the Nigerian government to provide amenities for the slum communities rather I call on you to re- build the fallen walls of Nigeria by building and investing in the Nigerian youths.
Let us provide opportunities for them. If we can empower them, they will change their communities, they have the ability to turn things around if facilities are available. Do not give them money, do not re- build their houses, do not give them water, do not bother to provide drainages for them but let us equip their schools. Let us provide them with quality education where there will be equipment. Let us give the school going children the opportunities that are available to other students in priviledged societies. We can give them computers, we can give them internet accessibility, we can donate science or sporting equipment for them. We can re- orientate them in the schools anytime we have the opportunity to do so.
Those acclaimed slums have some of the most brilliant chaps who will make history in the 21st century; if we empower them we are only making it easier for them to fulfill their God- giving vision. Let us make modern day learning equipment available to the people in the slums and they will over time re- build the slum areas where they came from.
Whatever you can do to assist the Nigerian youth in fulfilling the plan and purpose of God for their life is what you are sent to the world to do. Note that most of the world acclaimed inventors we are celebrating today came from slums where you cannot predict the future they are living from their formative years even Abraham Maslow was born and raised by uneducated parents.
The Nigerian slum is filled with whiz-kids and scholars who will re- build the fallen walls of Nigeria and re- shape world economy if well attended to.
God bless you!
God bless Nigeria!