(By Femi Aremu)
“The pride of being a Nigerian youth many years ago is somehow obliterated by the perpetuation of evils by our very own elders, some of whom have extolled themselves as elder statesmen. Youths across Nigeria have been bequeathed with a sense of social, political and economic insecurity by these same people, and many of us have been indoctrinated into a mirage of hope in an attempt to fight, sometimes violently, the selfish cause of the political elites at the polling booths and beyond. Our unquestionable allegiance to these same elders that have destroyed our land in itself raises concern that change in the political landscape of Nigeria is far from remote.”
Continued from yesterday (3-4-2014)
TODAY’S upsurge of corruption and smuggling, as symptoms of bad leadership, can be cured only when the political leadership cures itself of personality disorder, of which it suffers an affliction. The government must fight corruption and address good governance issues by initiating good policies. Leadership in the country must rule by example rather than by precepts. A leadership that preaches austerity and prudence must not show, through their actions, that they are as frivolous as the rest. This country today places very little premium on the life of the human person. The Human Rights Watch, U.S. State Department Annual Report, as well as the UN Human Rights Commission, all keep pointing at the dangerous policy of extra-judicial execution of suspected criminals and nobody cares to listen. The government must stop its duplicity to the militancy problem in the Niger Delta and come clean. They must show sincere intention, which is not the case at present.
There is no gainsaying that Nigeria is hugely blessed in both natural and human resources, but robbed of statesmen and women with zealous patriotism and statesmanship to manage them for the maximum benefit, interest and welfare of all. What can be the challenges of a land like Nigeria except bad, visionless, corrupt, conscienceless and godless management? A society where stealing of public funds and vulgar acquisition of wealth is a big achievement; a 53-year-old country where treachery, mischief, ungodliness, love of money far above love of human beings, bad feelings and lawlessness thrive. Our major challenge as a people is lack of godly, patriotic, transparent and accountable leadership. The outcome of all these is that Nigeria at 53 has become a syllabus of errors, a good example of what a country should not be and a tottering giant fumbling on the lane of growth and development.
A clarion call!!!
The current state of the nation places a clarion call on the youth of Nigeria because the bright future of any country is always predicated on its youth force. A society with a mirage youth force is not far from the abyss of irreparable damage. It is not untrue that most of the industries (manufacturing, financial, telecommunication, engineering/construction etc) are powered by labourers and workers who fall in the bracket of youth. Also, the corporate service sectors are also largely powered by youth labour, the music and movie industries, etc are all powered by youth labour and these are all impacting on the economy and development of this nation.
The pride of being a Nigerian youth many years ago is somehow obliterated by the perpetuation of evils by our very own elders, some of whom have extolled themselves as elder statesmen. Youths across Nigeria have been bequeathed with a sense of social, political and economic insecurity by these same people, and many of us have been indoctrinated into a mirage of hope in an attempt to fight, sometimes violently, the selfish cause of the political elites at the polling booths and beyond. Our unquestionable allegiance to these same elders that have destroyed our land in itself raises concern that change in the political landscape of Nigeria is far from remote.
We need to transform our virtual ideas into sustainable reality. The youth have enormous responsibility in charting a new course for Nigeria. It has been observed that, there seem to be a growing push for a national youth-initiated agenda and a youth-led coalition that would engender the renaissance that we all aspire to see in our country. There are by all account hundreds of youth-led non-governmental organisations (NGOs) all across the country with fragmented and sometimes easily diluted ambition to single-handedly bring social and economic change. There is no doubt that one cannot readily discount the contributions of many of these NGO’s, but the reality is that meaningful progress would not be made in transforming the socio-economic and political landscape of Nigeria except these youth organisations come together and develop a strategic national agenda and priority areas that focus on improving the lot of ordinary Nigerians, while building institutions that have democratic legitimacy; institutions that are sustainable for the sake of posterity.
Youths are valuable tools to safeguard against violation of basic human rights and government excesses if they would take up their responsibilities and play their role as political actors during and after the transition process of their infant democracies. For too long young people are judged as not fit to participate in societal development because of dormancy and political apathy. As youths rethink, redesign, rebuild and rebrand themselves, we need to discover for ourselves whether what we have been taught could stand the test of time. We must acquire knowledge, for knowledge is power and with knowledge youths can turn dreams into great realities and, with knowledge, we can positively change not just our own immediate community but Nigeria as a whole. What is more, during Nigeria’s struggle for independence, youths were part of the nationalist movement and they took positions on either side of the struggle.
Today, they must abhor violence and thuggery. Yes, the future belongs to us but we must claim it. That future will not be given on a platter of gold. Youths must work hard, be focused, be curious, be probing and ready to sharpen their intellect and create ideas that must be revolutionary for them to claim the future. Finally, let me conclude with the words in the book I co-authored: “We have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, unmistakably rejected, always victim of war, frightened and mistakenly compromise and starving hysterical naked.”
But now with political eye of faith: ‘‘We see a new Nigeria emerging…one creating the path of progress on right lines, built on the labours of our heroes past, meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and engineered by the strength of the future leaders: the youth. These young men and women will adopt positive youth development for the purposes of enhancing sustainable development, nation building, regional cooperation and global participation. Today, they exist unknown, but in the secrecy of their abode, they master the tool that will change their lives and that of their nation.”
“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.”