A Generation Of ‘Whatever’ (1)

(By Deolu Laluwoye)

Accordingly, when change would take prevalence as the only constant thing common to every aspect of human history, a new generation sprouted and sadly it is that generation which I’ve tagged the “Generation whatever”. It is the 40 per cent of the population of the nation, the generation I have come to berate, the generation I belong to. The generation that munches with both eyes closed on the sweet and sour grape of “modernisation”. We seem to have totally forgotten the history of previous generations that existed just like ours that could serve as a road map to that Promised Land.

 A SAYING goes thus: “Knowledge is power.” In actual implementation of this inspiring power-soaked three-word statement, it would be expected of an average person who has ridden the waves of education, be it formal or otherwise, to display in the least manner possible, some level of distinction and by far a copious amount of enlightenment, concern and awareness especially when it comes to the ever present salient issues affecting one’s milieu, and if possible proffer a substantial contribution that could lead to a solution since with that great power comes great responsibility.

   Unfortunately, ours is a country with a whooping population of 170 million (Source: Index mundi) and a considerable percentage in the region of up to 40 per cent considered as younger generations and a population growth rate of 2.55 per cent, a literacy rate of 61.3 per cent with a rather opportune fraction of that within the walls of Ivory Towers within and outside the shores of the nation, riding that wave of education and of course in the process of getting empowered with knowledge. As charming as this may sound, it is quite disheartening to come across occasional exhibition of ignorance and snobbish attitude to the salient issues earlier mentioned such as the general condition of the economy. Snobbish attitude in the sense that a typical youth of today tends to be arrogant by posing to be uninterested in matters like politics and current affairs, and this has gone viral unbeknownst to us, the youths.

  However, a certain generation of this great country, and in a larger context the continent as a whole, is known for waging a valiant and laudable fight for independence of theirs and other nations. Needless to say that it was an impressive display of the knowledge that that generation garnered from their pioneering ride of the wave of education in the hands of their colonial masters against whom it was later used to fight.

  Furthermore, gone are those days when the country was proud of a generation known for innovations in various fields. Take the field of art as an example, which covers from good music that was highly regarded throughout the Federation to widely acceptable manuscripts by intelligent writers. In addition, worthy of mention is the prowess of that generation in the world of arts and athletics where writers and athletes were accordingly compensated with notable awards like the Nobel Prize and Olympic medals as the case might be. Chief I.K. Dairo, for example, was knighted a member of the British Empire by the Queen for his groundbreaking effort in promoting quality music locally and internationally. This feat surely won’t happen again; at least not in this generation given the kind of music our youths listen to and produce.

  Accordingly, when change would take prevalence as the only constant thing common to every aspect of human history, a new generation sprouted and sadly it is that generation which I’ve tagged the “Generation whatever”. It is the 40 per cent of the population of the nation, the generation I have come to berate, the generation I belong to. The generation that munches with both eyes closed on the sweet and sour grape of “modernisation”. We seem to have totally forgotten the history of previous generations that existed just like ours that could serve as a road map to that Promised Land. The most painful part is that we appear not to care. To try to engage an average Nigerian youth of today in such matters as politics, banking, art or history is a fruitless effort. The most probable response is bound to lead to a somewhat awkward conversation and stuttering attempt to look for an answer: that widely used word, “whatever”.

   The only exception might be in the case of an undergraduate who majors in one of the fields as a course of study. Let us start by asking ourselves questions like: How many of us have taken time to pick at least one of  the books by Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka as popular as they are except when we are compelled to do so perhaps as an assignment or for a job interview? How many of us care enough to flip daily through the newspapers to catch a glimpse of the current unemployment rate in the country except in instances when it contains a catching sport or entertainment gossip? How many of us have ever taken time to give a deep thought to why a Pound exchanges for such an excessive rate in Naira? We would not bother as long as we have the latest fashion item worn from foreign cultures that we blindly imitate, or possess the latest technological gadgets. The salient issues in need of discussion and reflection are continuously met with the snobbish exclamation: “whatever!” When we are driven to show a bit of concern, it is then we rain curses on the government.

To be continued.

Laluwoye is a student and political analyst from Ibadan.

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

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