"The YOUTH are the leaders of TOMORROW" .....
Statements such as the above is not new to the Nigerian youths, but for emphasis and clarity, I will like us to seek the dictionary meaning of these words: YOUTH and TOMORROW.
According to the oxford advanced learner's dictionary, the youth stage of life is "the time when a person is young, especially the time before a child becomes an adult".The World Health Organization(WHO) categorized youths as young people within the age bracket of 15-24 years. The legally accepted adulthood age in Nigeria is 18 years. Upon the attainment of 18 years, a person is no longer considered a juvenile, hence, He/She is held accountable for his/her actions and can be legally prosecuted for any offense committed.
There is a logical pattern between the Nigerian educational system and the WHO age classification, we still operate the 6-6-4 educational system(6 years in primary school, 6 years in secondary school and 4 years in the tertiary institution). Although some professional courses such as Law, medicine , engineering etc requires a minimum of five years; the fact still remains that an "average" student is expected to have completed the basic and tertiary education at 25 years (this is not fixed as some people graduate at 19 - 30 years, but after 30 years, the candidate is not fit for National "Youth" Service Scheme).
Hence, within the WHO age bracket, an "average" Nigerian student should be out of school. But our "leaders" does NOT share this view, or how else can one explain the choice of Malam Umar Garba Chiza, a - 60 - year old man as the national youths leader of the People Democratic Party(PDP)?
One may ask how does the above question relate to the article, but an Igbo adage says " a na e si n'uno malu mma wee puta na ilo"..... Meaning: charity begins at home. So, if the political party that has piloted our collective life for the past 12 years at the national level does not understand the meaning of the word "youth", I wonder where we are headed?!
Tomorrow simply refers to "the day after today" or "the future". Our "leaders" seem to prefer "the future" when they talk about tomorrow, because we are still waiting for the tomorrow they promised us, just as our fore fathers waited in vain.
The fundamental question remains...
(1) "Where did it all went wrong" ?
(2) "can we ever get to the promised land"?
An Igbo adage says that a goat that is fed by many will starve to death. This became the case of our fatherland after the amalgamation and subsequent discovery of crude oil in some parts of the country. Many analysts and political commentators has questioned the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorate in 1914 by the British Lord Lugard. Many have been quick to point out that the North and the South have very little or nothing in common with respect to culture and religion.
But I will advice my fellow youths to ignore such assertions as our "leaders" are known to resort to cheap tricks like religion and tribalism when they are pushed to give accounts of their stewardship's. The likes of Ibori, Kalu, IBB, etc are some examples that comes handy.
The mystery is that prior to the discovery of crude oil, all the geopolitical zones were notable for the production of one agricultural produce or the other, the East had the palm oil, the North were known for the ground nut pyramid and the West for cocoa and rubber. Then came the "black gold"! All attention was shifted to oil, that was the turning point and everything went "south".
Corruption became the order of the day, people were stealing as much as they could because "it is government's money"! The corruption started from the oil sector, but today, just like cancer; it has eaten deep into every aspect of our national life. Talk of the Agricultural sector, Education, Aviation, Power and Energy sector etc. NOTHING works anymore and who are the worse hit? We the Youths!
The recent application for truck driving at Dangote group of company was a national tragedy, as we saw some PhD holders among the applicants. What does that tell the world about our educational system? Less wonder we Nigerians spend millions of Dollars to sponsor our kids to places like Ghana and Kenya for quality education!
Also, the recent privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria which saw some questionable individuals bidding millions of Dollars for the dying company calls for national mourning! EVERY aspect of our life has been sold to the highest bidder, where are NITEL, Nigeria Airways, the Railway system, the Ajaokuta steel company etc? They have all gone down the drain!
They were all systematically rendered moribund and later bought by the same people who couldn't manage them. The NEXT big fish are the refineries! Just about a year ago, we were promised all the dividends of democracy if only we can accept the removal of fuel subsidy. We were deceived and on January first, 2012; it was "partially" removed. It is almost a year down the road, yet, we are still waiting for the dividends and now they want to "FULLY" deregulate the energy sector.
Let's all pause for a second and ask ourselves, "what legacy are we leaving for our children"?
We have become strangers in our lands and the country has been turned into a big jungle where two options are available:
(i) Survive NO MATTER the COST.
(ii) Board the next available flight and seek a greener pasture somewhere.
In trying to survive, so many youths has been forced into evils like internet scam, prostitution, armed robbery, kidnapping etc.Our religious leaders whom we look unto for direction has deserted us for more worldly things like mansions, exotic cars and private jets. Hence, we roam like sheep without a shepherd .We were once told that priests and pastors work for God here on earth and expect their rewards in heaven, but the exact opposite is the case now, as most of the pastors seek their rewards here on earth not minding what happens afterwards.They have built empires off our sweats, they tell us what we WANT to hear not what we NEED to hear! But I will reserve the issue of these "men and women of God" for another day.
Can we ever get to the promised land and what is the way forward?
Power corrupts and ABSOLUTE power corrupts absolutely, but the REAL ABSOLUTE POWER belongs to the people! Who are the People? The People are the 99% who suffer the effect of the senseless looting, indiscriminate genocide and the poor management of our collective resources by the 1%.
Knowledge they say is power, and the social media has given us the required platform to pursue this great cause at a very low cost. Our fore fathers had no such privileges as the internet or the social media, hence, posterity can be lenient on them.
But we have all the tools at our disposal, we have the internet, we have our voters card and we can call for demonstrations at any point. January 2013 is fast approaching, and the government is bent on further exploiting us by FULLY deregulating the energy sector. Let us all spread the news to every nook and cranny of this country, let us explain the implications of these systematic enslavement to our people who are not aware of the grave danger ahead!Let's focus more on these burning national issues, and care less about the social media "gossips".The 2015 election is fast approaching, let us get prepared by first "scrutinizing", rejecting and campaigning against these few political "prodigal sons and daughters" who remember us only when the election is just around the corner.
We must not be divided along religious, tribal or political party lines when the time comes, because they have been using the same divide and rule formula on us whenever its election time.Most importantly, we must hold our "leaders" accountable for any kobo spent and be ready to protect our votes. As that is the ONLY way to turn the table around!
by Mazi Joe