by Oluwasegun Somefun
The youth is a metaphysical endowment, an essential factor, a structure and a conditioning which has nothing to do with history- Thomas Mann.
Ralph Waldo Emerson opined, “America is a country of young men”. This opinion fondly describes the role of young people in the strategic development of any nation. Today, America is another heaven on earth. If America is a country of young men, what kind of country is Nigeria?
Nigeria to some is a horse of different colours dicing with death. A few more believe Nigeria is a country of fogies and scores of hapless Nigerians think Nigeria is a failed nation-state that no longer has anything to offer her myriad citizens. From the prior lamentation of disappointed Nigerians, it is obvious Nigeria represents a fantasy world where reality exists only in the printed and concealed lies of governance.
Each time Nigerians lament about the sorry state of their dear nation, there is always a swipe at the failures of her past leaders and ineptness of her present leaders. What about the prospects of her future leaders? The young child sucks continuously from the contaminated breast of her mother country. The young people eat from the poisonous cake of a spoiled brat. Even the old folks are not left out of the party that announces lack in plenty. How then will they break the barriers of poverty with penury? It is crystal clear that no one is seemingly excluded from the taste of a vulgar society like Nigeria. Though, the taste differs from person to person. No doubt, Nigeria becomes a nation-state on the threshold of a looming political super storm. Who will save Nigeria from this looming danger?
A glance at Nigeria’s political history indicates that villains are still in power determining whatever happens to her polity. Some that were directly involved in the nation’s downfall still parade themselves as conservatives. Youth unemployment rages like an inferno and corruption heating up the fabrics of her infant society. Unfortunately, young people have been one of the direct victims of a downward spiral democratic organization that boast of brainless series of democrats in its armoury.
These same youths are frequently denied their legitimate right to livelihood. The denial has resulted to gathering of youths in bars and restaurants to “drink and smoke” and at the end nurse a culture that encourages criminality and delinquency. After all, when a crime strives for so long, it becomes a culture.
From the premise, it is crystal that there is a cancer within. If not treated quickly, it has the capacity to progress from being a deadly disease to a killing syndrome. Hence, a look into the bright idea the youth would offer in terms of finding a lasting cure to the many malady that accompanies their chaotic amalgam is not only social imperative, but also instructive. Can Nigerian youths rule better? Can they really show our ineffective democrats what democracy should be all about? This inquiry presents us with two possibilities; the possibility of a Boolean algebra. In the world of Boolean, It is either True or False, Yes or No, 0 or 1. So, the answer to this aforementioned riddle should be taken as such.
Invincibility in Inexperience
This option contradicts the thought of our political opportunists who sees politics as a means of self-aggrandisement. It negates the opinion of General Ibrahim Babangida who feels the youth lack the leadership qualities to rule. It goes against the creed of our old-fashioned rulers who still rule or want to rule a fashionable set of people with penitent bureaucracy. How will a myopic leader solve the farthest problem of his followers? How will a colour-blinded leader see the need for a true democracy and undiluted federalism? These defects alone define a naive leader.
Moreover, the eagle-eyed trait of young people encapsulates visionary leadership no matter how plethora. “When there is no vision, the people perish”. The corollary to this proposition of a “visionless leader will perish” is that without the right balance of a political give and take. The manifestation of this biblical proverb is evident in the inability of our leaders to define and convey their goals- if there is any at all. The inexperience of young people makes them do what the older men termed impossible. The inventive mentality, innovative proficiency and creativity that accompany the youthful naivety stand them in good stead for the huge task of overhauling the nation’s present challenges. Will it be an easy task? Definitely No but it is a realistic objective. Repeatedly, the old folks have failed to solve our numerous problems. It has compromised the security of her citizens for political gains. Nothing seems to work again in our dear country. A class has been repeated severally all in a bid to right the wrong. Now, we have failed our unborn child and we have mocked the useful toils of our fallen heroes. Haba! For 100 years of existence and 54 years of national independence, we are still regarded as an under-achieved ageless entity begging to stay together. With all the natural resources and innumerable potentials, we are still crawling in terms of total growth and development. Honestly, the testimonies of Dr Good luck Jonathan Administration should go beyond the corridors of their fellow egoists who think a patriot can emerge on an empty stomach. The self-pride of the Atiku’s caliphate, Kwankwaso’s dynasty and Buhari’s territory should all surrender to the demands of the 21st century. They can never meet its joint supply.
The perfect time to experiment with the youth is now. Honestly, the youths can rule but…. Why do I want to provoke a war?
Experience is the best of schools
The youth has not been given the proper education? The youth lacks experience? How true, is the claim of one of Nigeria’s expired politicians? Young people are used as thugs to subvert electoral process. Imagine, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) endorses the credibility of rogues and expired politicians, gives thieves an award of excellence. Where is the brain of our young people?
Is it those young people who have been deprived the right to student unionism, activism and participatory democracy that will rule Nigeria better? Is it those young people that cannot maintain high moral standards that will moralise democracy? Is it Alexander Abolore Adigun (9ice) that couldn’t manage a family that will rule a complex entity like Nigeria? Is it our erstwhile Honourable Dimeji Bankole that will rule Nigeria better? Those young men who have destroyed the tableau of pragmatism with various immoral deeds?
The tag placed on us as “leaders of tomorrow” is just a mere cliché. A cliché, since young people have failed to define this reality. A cliché since the youth have forsaken the rudiments of headship and disregarded the tenets of leadership. A cliché because many youths have become chess-masters in initiating different moves of frivolous adventure even when seriousness geared towards definition of purpose is becoming expedient in a fast-changing world. The enemy of that tomorrow is today. Today? Yes the day that has become a safe haven for youthful crudeness. If the tomorrow that is already fading away will experience renaissance, then, young people have a big role to play. Young people must rise up and be counted. Else, they keep living in disguise of a name that will never be.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.