by Ogwu Anthony Ugo
“There will always be obstacles; you can either see them as stumbling blocks or stepping stones”.
I simply do not know which is worse. Having nothing to do or knowing what to do and yet feeling incapable or out of place, because the odds are stacked against you. Everything around you seems to tell you that perhaps you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What I feel is a mixture of both worlds, pressed down, shaken together and running over. The result? A haphazard, topsy-turvy life – welcome to my world.
Jokes aside though; I had (or so I thought) a clear picture of how I wanted my life to be, as many other youngsters did or still do; until confronted by the harsh realities of the real world. I had aspirations, I had hopes, and I had the big dream. But as I sought to take on my dream; bang! I woke up!
The real world wasn’t what I thought it was and I began to feel those dreams were perhaps childish “Childhood dreams”. Yes many people have childhood dreams that never become a reality but this is what I learnt: “There will always be obstacles; you can either see them as stumbling blocks or stepping stones”.
I am Nigerian, a young Nigerian but there is not so much to be happy about being a young person in the present day Nigeria. It is scary to dream in this world of ours. What does it feel like being a young person in “Our Nigeria’’? A country faced with societal issues such as; Human right violations, terrorism, health issues, corruption, crime, sub standard education.
It is utterly perplexing how the issue of education is handled trivially, as the government sits and watches as the system and institutions decay. The quality of education seems to be on a steady decline, crippled by the poor state of educational facilities, equipment, teaching aids, laboratories etc. And the recurring industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities that further cripples the already handicapped system. Our education system has been described as “dysfunctional”, for various obvious reasons.
The ultimate victim of this chaos is the young Nigerian student and this is how we feel; we feel deprived, we feel as though our dreams are leaving us like we are handicapped and incapable of bringing them to fruition. We feel like the bright future we envisioned is been dimmed by the dark cloud of uncertainty that hangs above us.
We feel like society is against us, like we all are at the wrong place at the wrong time; trapped in conditions unsuitable for nurturing dreams.
This is our country though and this is where we belong. But it’s hard to dispel the lingering questions of our young minds. When would they realize that education is a great instrument for social change; that it is the most important social process in determining the future of our dear country? We hope for a society with loyal, trustworthy, purposeful, accountable leaders, a society where citizens are more than just victims of poor leadership, where societal issues are not seen as spiritual and blamed on the devil.
But who we are surpasses what we are, what we are is defined by the environment (country, state) etc, that we belong to. Who we are is defined by something more deep; it stems from somewhere down our minds. It is that bright light that never seems to go off despite the turbulent wind that seems to make it flicker. We are dreamers, big picture dreamers! We aspire to change “our” world, we remain positive and refuse to be victims. We believe our dreams are greater than the challenges we face. We look beyond these challenges to the real world. “Our Future” and vision is right in front of us, and every day is a step towards it. Soon that glimmer of hope will become a beaming ray of sunlight, bringing us success, achievement and fulfillment. God help us all.
Ogwu Anthony Ugo is a fresh graduate of the University of Abuja. He is an ambivert and a rap music fanatic, who enjoys reading as a means to escape reality. He tweets from @tohneyugo. #AnyBodyCanWrite.
30 Days, 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.