Opinion: My experience (and contribution) at the National Confab

by Hemenseter Butu

National-Conference

My generation is growing weary of wasted chances, we hear of the millions of millionaires in Norway and we weep. We hear of the electoral reform strides in Ghana and we weep. We hear of the ranking of a Sudanese University above all varsities in Nigeria and we weep profusely, as I speak we are still weeping.

Last night, I dreamt I was in the National Conference and I got tired of hearing delegates go on and on about seceding, division, unfair representation, etc so I stood up to speak. Here me:

Good day Ladies and Gentlemen. Please lend me your ears for at least five minutes. I’ve heard all everyone has had to say and it’s becoming more and more deplorable. Hear me out this day so we can go back to finding a solution to our problems – assuming that is why we’re here.

I am a Nigerian youth, in my late twenties. I represent the largest set of the country’s demographic yet we are the least represented at this confab. Have we complained? Have our peers raised placards and threatened bloodshed? I must confess your generations doesn’t give us the respect we deserve, we have given you countless chances, Obasanjo was Head of State in 1976 and came back again as President in 1999. Muhammadu Buhari had his turn in 1983 and yet has also been given several chances to vie for President of the Republic. What have we to show for these chances we’ve given your generation over and over again? What has it benefited us? Yes, I’m talking about the young people who make up almost 70% of our population?

We’re sitting here whining over our allowances and allowances for aides, food and the lack of it. Talking about food, do you know hundreds of thousands of Nigerians go without a meal every other day? And I’m not talking about those currently being displaced by the numerous crises in the nation. They can’t complain like you are. They neither have the disposable income to afford it nor the voice to be heard, unlike most of us gathered here.

Before we talk and propose anything let us remember that 13 year old boy who’s dreaming about becoming an astronaut, not knowing there exists no infrastructure in Nigeria to support his dream. Let’s remember the young girl in Konduga who is waiting on her WAEC result only for her life to be cut short by Boko Haram. Let us not forget that uneducated boy who just wants to run his barber shop in peace but can’t because there isn’t electricity…ROUND THE COUNTRY, in 2014! *sigh* fuel is scarce and there aren’t realistically accessible loans for informal businesses like his.

Those are a few of the real issues my peers are currently facing. So please with all due respect to “Elder Statesmen” sitted here, spare me the “food didn’t get to me yesterday” talk.

My generation is growing weary of wasted chances, we hear of the millions of millionaires in Norway and we weep. We hear of the electoral reform strides in Ghana and we weep. We hear of the ranking of a Sudanese University above all varsities in Nigeria and we weep profusely, as I speak we are still weeping.

If this confab fails it will be towing the same path as every other thing in Nigeria over the years. Problems beget problems and we the youth offer another chance to be wasted yet again.

Is it not time to convert all this potential into energy? Is it not time to come together as a nation and forget about being Muslim or Christian, Efik or Tiv, Northerner or Southerner? Is it not time to force critical thinking out of every Nigerian? It is not time to do all it takes to get it right? Again I assumed that is why this National Conference was convened in the first place.

I am standing here, representing the largest constituency of Nigerians and instead of complaining I truly want to request, beg of you even, that this conference throw away all division and just get it right this one time.

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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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