Tolu Ogunlesi: “This ‘Youth’ of a thing!” (YNaija Frontpage)


  • Davolog says:

    Apt!!!! Most of the Govs sworn in 1999 were in there 40s, a huge chunk of our legislators at all levels are youths, the so-called 'old politicians' have youths as there Special Advisers, Aides et al. From the First Republic to this present republic, 'Nigerian Youths' have featured at all level of governance. Gen Obasanjo, Gen Gowon, Gen Muritala, Gen Buhari, Lt. Col Marwa, Lt. Col Akintonde, et al were youths when they ruled us so whats the assurance that this generation will do any better. If the assumption is based on a silly 'this-is-our-time mentality', then we aint ready yet. We need good leaders; young or old, it doesnt matter. By the way, i thought 'age aint nothing but a number'?

  • Teehidee says:

    I love this article, but then; i love everything with Tolu Ogunlesi attached to it. This piece says it all; our problem is not that old people are at the helm of affairs but rather that men of integrity are few and far between.

    I work in the public sector, related with a lot of the so called 'youths'; sadly, their mentality about governance and public service is no different from what has been obtainable in past years. Corruption like an epidemic has already infected every facet of our national life; like the air we breathe, it is almost essential to survival in the dog eat dog soceity we live in. For many youths, it is the life they grew up to, the only way of life they have ever known. Its like the popular saying goes,"if you cant beat them, to survive; join them"!

    Solving Nigeria's myriad of problems and repositioning the nation for 21st century global relevance is beyond passing the batton … we need an ideological reconstruction (or revolution if you prefer) of sorts!

  • Chicasa says:

    I understand the need to be self-critical but this is a tad bit simplistic. By sheer virtue of distance from power as well as the fact that this set of young people are rising into leadership in a flatter, globalised world the systems of accountability et al put a greater burden on them and ensures a fundamental difference. Yes, it will not be a miraculous shift from the past – but the reality is not that we will be the same as our fathers. The reality stands somewhere in the middle.

  • tolu ogunlesi says:

    Chicasa, a part of me is willing to share your optimism, but I'm afraid that's just what it is – optimism. The reality we're seeing is more depressing. You haven't given us any basis for your assertion that "we will not be the same as our fathers." If I'm guilty of being simplistic (and of course I disagree), I think you are too…

  • Chicasa says:

    But Tolu I already "gave a basis" – I said this: y sheer virtue of distance from power as well as the fact that this set of young people are rising into leadership in a flatter, globalised world the systems of accountability et al put a greater burden on them and ensures a fundamental difference.

    Aren't you an advocate of the same things above?

  • Right. I think "distance from power" and "flatter, globalised world" can only exist in this context as potential. True, social media and 21st century technologies are making it harder to be un-accountable, but those alone will not transform into the change we seek/need. Our circumstances/environment have indeed changed, the big question now is this: will we allow OURSELVES – our thinking / mentality / awareness of history / priorities – to change? Are we going to develop the courage and vision to walk away from the destructive path those who've gone ahead have cut out for us? That is the question I seek an answer for? And that, I hope, is the question that binds the pessimist (me?) and the optimist (you?) together…

  • Kaycee says:

    Tolu Ogunlesi stands out in any crowd of Nigerian commentators because he has managed to purge himself of that toga of self-righteousness that is the trademark of most Nigerian public commentators/analysts/activists etc. It is for this reason that I read anything that has his name to it, even (especially) when I don't agree with him. Mr Steve Nwosu of FrankTalk fame is the only other public commentator who has earned this distinction.

  • Medex Deyanz says:

    I'm in agreement with the general tone of this article, a deliberate faltering in the hurrah that is the enthusiasm of young people to get into leadership and attempt to change things. However, Chicasa makes good points on accountability and the burden/pressure to perform.

    I am hesitant to place too much faith in intangibles like these but it is in the establishment, the "making common-place" of these intangibles that makes the Millennials such a powerful force.

    I am afraid though that "good enough" will simply replace atrocious, in governance. Thank you Tolu, for making us pause.

  • Maana_dee says:

    Well spoken Tolu Ogunlesi. The so called youth already engage in corrupyion and all other vices they are accusing the leader of. In their offices,place of business and in their daily activities. If you are not faithful in little things,how do you expect to be when thrust with a greater responsibility. Most are lazy and always opt for the easy way out.

  • Omotesho Afolabi says:

    I quite agree with you Tolu. In fact this has been the question in my mind for a long time. Because of my kind of work, I have the privilege of talking with a lot of young Nigerians especially in Secondary school and I am amaze at the negative mental picture they have developed about this country. At a time I have to come to a conclusion that there is actually no hope for this country. But here comes a ray of light, yes the majority are corrupt but there still some few who have refused to bow their knees to the god called corruption and we can still save more for the future of this country. The secret is more enlightment programmes with the aim of catching them young from the secondary school level at least. I believe we can still save a few and those few can turn things around for good. We may not just keep looking at the big picture but I believe in a little here a little there, lines upon lines and precept upon precept and so shall the change come. In the words of Margaret Mead I conclude- Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has

  • Kelechi Ilo says:

    I totally agree. There is a huge gap in the enlightenment of the youth in Nigeria and until this is somehow fixed and sorted out its a waste of energy and time trying to choose optimism as a basis for which it is thought the youth are 'leaders of tomorrow'. There are a lot of misplaced mindsets operating in the minds of a major population of youths in Nigeria despite the urgency of the present hour.

    I believe everyone must take it upon themselves to enlighten and educate themselves if they really care about their dearly beloved country. A change to me begins with a change in the obscene ideologies eating and crushing the minds of many Nigerians at the moment. And for me as a young person, i do believe that after all is said and done, all shall turn to look for Divine help from the One that makes all things new. Until we get dizzy enough to realise this truth, we will continue to run round and round the same big, high mountain.

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