What hope for Nigeria youth?
Nigerian youths on 12th August, 2012 joined their counterparts throughout the world to celebrate their day. The youth is a young person between the teen years and early twenties or from 18 years to below 40. It is a period of human life between childhood and maturity.
The youths are our leaders of tomorrow. They are the strongest segment of any society. They are also the largest in number. In Nigeria, the estimated youth population is 68million which is three times the entire population of the next most populous West African country, Ghana, almost double that of South Africa and by far higher than the population of the United Kingdom.
Sad to note that in some of the under developed nations, they are the worst hit by marginalization, neglect and even frustration.
Our main concern therefore lies on the burden and challenges that face Nigerian youths with the wrong ways things have gone for the largest black nation. Their problems are indeed many, starting from gaining admission into university to quality education and gainful employment, employment afterwards. Their main problems are deeply rooted in the poor living conditions of majority of them. Poverty and unemployment are most times the cause that leads them into all sorts of criminal activities. A lot of them are poor; a visit to our tertiary institution would convince any doubting Thomas. Many of them are suffering, training themselves and battling with life and studies.
Our youths and students are not only misused by politicians as thugs and electoral manipulators, they are often lured into playing politic the old way, thus the inability to forge a new political course for the country. One hopes that our youths have learnt a lot of lessons from the past and would refocus for a better future. It is the duty of the youths to determine who should rule this country. They have often allowed themselves to be misused and dumped. So it is time for them to start displaying their strength positively.
It is known that the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) often warn its members to desist from those activities that are inimical to the smooth progress of education and study life in campuses of the Universities across the nation. But a reflection on the past glory and vibrancy of Nigerian youths and students in the policy making of the country shows time to have come for them to regain their relevance and become real stakeholders in the nation’s socio economic being.
The youths of our country must be carried along not just merely on the façade but in reality.
A good percentage of positions in government, of about 30% should be given to them and not the old politicians that have expired, who keep recycling themselves in power.
These youths have the political will, dedication, patriotism, love for humanity, fear of God, experience to make good leadership at any level of governance in this country.
Let our youths learn to take a stand, get involved in the political terrain of the country so as to established their relevance and get their rights
They should understand that their destiny is in their hands.
Times were when opinion of Nigerian students were kept in broad view by policy formulators. The SAP riots of 1989 which stemmed from the initial protests of students against the structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of the military administration was among the many protests Nigerian students have led against unpopular government policies. Its so unfortunate that what we have now in place of vibrant students activism are cultism, hooliganism, exam malpractices, gang, rapes, drug addiction. Kidnapping, robbery and other vices.
Student’s views which formed veritable factors for consideration among opinion molders, suffered negligence after students offered themselves to unscrupulous politicians for purposes of thuggery, ballot box stuffing and snatchings.
Our youths should realize that they are stakeholders in the affairs of this country and they are capable of influencing the actions of government and those in authority.
They should ensure that our leaders create a better lease of life for the citizenry. They should resolve from this moment to make themselves active instruments in ensuring that their views on important national issues count.
Our present leaders must remember that they benefited superfluously from this country in the last 50 years. The education system was sound in their school days and basic infrastructure was better that was better than what it is today. Some of them even enjoyed scholarships, bursary awards and job opportunities awaiting them even before they came out from school. It is only fair and wise that they leave good legacies for the youths of today.
It is sad to note that efforts made in the past administration to offer solutions to the problems of unemployment and poverty could not yield good dividends. National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) are some of the agencies mandated with such projects but the problems is that funds earmarked for such developmental projects are hardly fully channeled to achieve the purpose. Corruption has become an acceptable norm in Nigeria.
Finally, I encourage our youths to henceforth use their vibrant energy not unruly but in a positive and constructive manner to engage the authorities that be, in tackling the various political, economic and social problems bedeviling our people.
They should avoid violence and rioting but seek for peace and create a change for the better so that our country would move to the higher level. They should let them know that what Nigeria needs now is good governance. Things are falling apart and the centre is quaking – corruption in higher quarters, bombings and killings here and there, death of industries, dwindling education, darkness amidst gas flaring, unmitigated infrastructural decays, system failure etc, these pressing and critical problems are begging for urgent attention. They should let the government know that the huge sums of money spent on useless probes that hardly produce results can create jobs and fix infrastructures for them.
After all, tomorrow belongs to them and they should be found fit in every wise, to take over from the current generation of leaders of our beloved country, Nigeria.
Any youth that does what other youths can do is an ORDINARY YOUTH, the youth that does what no other youth can do is an EXCEPTIONAL YOUTH but any youth that does what has not be done why any other youth is a NATIONAL ASSET, a genius and an institution.
So youths where do you belong or do you want to belong?