Opemipo Adebanjo: Why this generation won’t change Nigeria (Y! Superblogger)

Religion is one of the reasons Nigerians continue to pray and do nothing. Even God won’t do for us, what we can do for ourselves. Religion is the bane of our cohesion as a nation.

I am crossing the River Niger, with nothing to do but sleep again; the raging political discussion in the bus won’t let me. You see, I am one of the few believers in the school of thought that this generation will change Nigeria. Then it dawned on me (crossing the Niger), that this generation has the odds stacked against it, and I might just be holding on to straw in a raging ocean. Social Media has brought a new era. I see young people doing great things with it and my heart floods anew with hope. The petition for the Mob Justice Bill and the Save Citizen Relief for the victims of the flood (It turns out on of the states I just passed through is one of the affected ones (Anambra State).

I see young people, who are not rich, dip their hands into their pockets to give to someone whom they’ve never seen, in a place they’ve never been, who need their help. And all this happens on social media. Seeing these, who would not be hopeful? A dying man would hold on to anything that resembles hope, even if it is a pin. So do not blame me. In the midst of my euphoric hope, it has finally dawned on me; reasons our generation won’t change Nigeria.

The most obvious reason is our inherent tribalism. The average Yoruba man, won’t let his daughter bring home an Ibo boy. The Ibo man won’t stop feeling different from the Hausa man. Do you see that a house divided against itself cannot stand? How do we change a country, when we are against each other? Is it not time to discover the root causes of this evil trait and destroy it from the root?

Look atthe United States, the most ethnically diverse country on Earth, still stands as one America. From blacks, to Hispanics, to Asians to the whites; Americans will still remain Americans. Though they still have their issues and separations, they have learned to live together.

The second most obvious reason is religion. I called it a curse a while back and some labelled me the anti-Christ. Religion is one of the reasons Nigerians continue to pray and do nothing. Even God won’t do for us, what we can do for ourselves. Religion is the bane of our cohesion as a nation. It has created friction even within tribes.  Nigerians are very religious people and we take our religion very seriously. While this is true, most of us only practise hypocrisy; despite our religion, we still have hatred, killings, and corruption. Who are we deceiving? How can a country of hypocrites move forward? Some even use religion to justify their bigotry and intolerance. How can we come together and build a nation with this mind-set?

The “me-me mentality“ will be the Waterloo of this generation. How, you ask? We want success, money, and power. Some are even using social media as a stepping stone to getting political appointments. Nothing would have been wrong with that, if they were joining the right political parties that they didn’t criticize earlier.  It is obvious that they are joining for their own personal interests. They end up much like their godfathers dipping their fat hands in public funds. Sadly, this is where most young people today are headed. The testament to the saying: “If you haven’t been bought, you haven’t seen a man who can pay your price yet”.

Many generations before us, believed they could change Nigeria. What happened? Where did they go wrong? Is it not obvious we are now making the same mistakes they made?  Can we indeed change Nigeria, the way we are going? Aren’t we on a wild goose chase? Nigeria may slip from our hands, like it slipped form our parents, and their parents before them. If we do not pause and address these problems, the Nigeria of our dreams may just be slipping away… again.

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Opemipo Adebanjo is a writer, columnist, social media lover and boundary mover. She blogs at www.opesays.com and tweets from @opesays

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (5)

  1. Yes our problems are complex and gigantic, but they are not unconquerable. And let's not give undue attention to the bigness of our problems, rather, let's celebrate the good that we are all beginning to see in small patches of light. They are our source of hope and evidence that change is happening and will continue to happen.

  2. I get what you're saying and I respect the fact that we all see things differently. But, I think you went too far with the verdict that "this generation won't change Nigeria." It is offensive, especially in the face of the signs all around us, of young people rising to the occasion, some of which you've testified to yourself. Changes are already taking place in action and most importantly in the minds of young Nigerians. Perhaps the kind of change you are talking about is of an instantaneous nature. I don't think that one one is practical. Change will come gradually and it is already here.

  3. Ope, I will have to beg to differ on your views. Religion did not stop the American or French revolution! It has not stopped the raging passive aggresssive war in the middle east for the last 30 plus years! I hate to sound stereotypical, but this is a genetic thing! People of African descent tend to be selfish when it comes to self sacrifice. That is the core of our problems! We are selfish cowards! I confronted my late grandfather about this and he had nothing to say. Every country in the world has some level of strife and corruption intertwined with their fabric. The progressive ones at least care for the future genrations and at least plan some kind resource allotments for them. This is not the case in Nigeria. Our leaders have no pride!

    Many generations tried to change Nigeria. What happened? The real fighters are too old or have died off! The new generation born in the epicenter of this mess don't have any experiences to compare and contrast present and past Nigeria while many are just Facebook warriors!

    1. Lanre,

      I have a different take on your comment about people of African descent being selfish when it comes to self sacrifice. The proof of self sacrifice can be seen everyday when you look at the sacrifices African parents make to ensure a better future for their offspring. The problem, as I see it, is that we Africans care so much about so few people. We sacrifice a lot for our immediate families and a few other loved ones, and everybody might as well not exist. This kind of selective caring has served us well over the centuries when we lived in secluded tribes with occasional interaction with other tribes, but for building our nations in this interconnected world, we need to be more inclusive in our caring.

      I do agree with Ope that our generation won't change Nigeria, but I do believe our generation can and should prepare the next generation to change Nigeria. One way to do this, in my opinion, is by taking the time to mentor and empower our youth to be the best they can be. When they see the community as a supportive element in their lives, hopefully they will be more inclined to support others. Unless we find a way to get more people caring about others besides their immediate family and close associates, we will be stuck in the dog-eat-dog contrary country we currently find ourselves.

      1. I kinda disagree with you and ope on the fact that this generation won't change Nigeria. In the history of Nigeria,this country has never been this chaotic and unpleasant to live in and still have youths believing in a better Nigeria. It has never happened before. The battle for a better Nigeria has always been fought by the old men and women. But our generation is different, we have youths that really believe in a better Nigeria. We can never have a perfect situation. There will always be some errs like what ope listed; ethnicity and religion. But I say we shouldn't grow weary and continue on the path of freedom. I believe the liberation of Nigeria is in the hands of this generation cos if we don't do something, who will??

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