When we talk about youths, most people don’t seem to understand what the word “Youth” means, mostly in Nigeria. Well from the oxford dictionary, the word youth means “period between childhood and adult age”. This simply means if you are below the age of 35 you should consider yourself a youth but here in Nigeria we see a man in his late 40s and early 50s posing as a youth leader.
These men who parade themselves as youth leaders are nothing but hungry men who are struggling to feed their families. Men who are not creative in any way that choose to present themselves as youth leaders just to cover their arse and make people think they are responsible. These groups of men are being sent out there to represent young men and women whose future are bright, who needs the attention of the government in order to be better. But these men are being bribed to say words like “ Nigerian youths endorse president Jonathan for second term” and the question is, who are these Nigerian youths?
When I see news captions like “Student Union government in Abia state Universities endorse Gov. Orji for senate” I just weep, because I know our youths have failed us woefully in performing their responsibilities. For those who don’t know about Student Union Government (SUG), they are group of hungry He goats and She goats who go out there to speak on behalf of the students and Nigerian youths. With just pea nuts they can sell off their rights. I wonder the kind of future we are building for our unborn kids. This is very sad, our parents failed us. Do we still need to fail ourselves? We are doomed in this country called Nigeria. It will be better, I wonder when.
These so called old men who parade themselves as youth leaders are bribed by the so called politicians who has been claiming they have the interest of the country at heart. These same old men and women are people I have been hearing their names since I was a child. Since I was in the kindergarten, when we sing this song and match into the class with this song;
“Parents listen to your children (children)
We are the leaders of tomorrow (morrow)
Come and pay our school fees
And give us sound education”
This is a song that reminds one of its childhood days. It’s so cool I’m a grown man but it’s quite unfortunate that nothing changed so much for better rather things seem to be getting worse as the day goes by. That three letter words “Leaders of Tomorrow” has always been in the mind and in the mouth of every Nigerian youth that hopefully, someday, they will become leaders. But these youths are getting older by day and not even a chance to become a local government councilor has been given to them.
Our parents have given us sound education and we wish to become the leaders we have been told we will be and the leaders we dream every day to become. Why then are the so called names I have been hearing about since my kindergarten age still struggling for all the political offices in country Nigeria without given space for the youths to exercising themselves? Does it mean the so called youths are no more mentally and physically qualified or does it mean they lack sound education to cover the seats or does it mean they don’t have rights anymore? Does it mean we the youths are being deceived in believing we are the leaders of tomorrow? We all need an answer to these questions.
It is time for Nigerian youths to wake up to slumber and never allow any arranged or selected people to represent us in any way. If people must represent us we must elect them we the youths must selected them and make sure they bare our minds out there. This is because these secretly and selfishly selected people have murdered our rights as Nigerian youths. They have sold us out at cheaper rates to old niccomcopos who parade themselves as our leaders. They have made us weak and we find it difficult to stand. But every Nigerian youth needs to wake up and face his or her faith. Those who represent us have been blinded by brown envelops. They no more see the ill in our society; they no more see the needs of the Nigeria youth.
I once heard about this event that happened some time ago in my home town. The so called youth leader who is a man in his late 40s was paid off by some group of politicians to organize thugs to snatch ballot boxes. In the process many where shot and injured. And I asked who these thugs were, but it’s our so called Nigerian Youths. Who as a result of joblessness have allowed themselves to be sent to battle for old men and women are supposed to die before us. They don’t want to dies yet; they will deny you once you are caught to face the full weight of the law.
It’s painful and so pathetic that we allow ourselves to be used by politicians as political thugs. Instead of us to wake up and fight for our rights, unemployment, steady power, education and other basic infrastructures we decide to allow ourselves to be used as an object to cause havoc and terror in our society. Who is fooling who? What footstep do we keep behind for our children? When we choose to take a brown envelop that contains 5,000 naira instead of fighting unemployment; When we choose to be used as a political thug for an old cargos whose main objective is to destroy and cause an unforgettable pain in our society. When we have decided to forget our rights and campaign for someone who has being in a political office for 4years, 6years, 8years without any achievement to remain on seat because of sentiments and selfish interest of few people.
Ok let me be a bit specific and point out the necessary needs and problems of the Nigerian youth that has been ignored.
Let me start with the PDP and APC governorship and presidential tickets that were sold in this coming election. These are huge sum amount of money, 95% of the Nigerian youths cannot afford these forms. This is because the so called Politicians you kill and died for feels that the leadership of our dear country Nigeria is for a selected few. So how are the youths the leaders of tomorrow?
“About 70% of Nigeria’s population is under 35, and there has been, for a long time, a political culture of ignoring the youth, who themselves were disconnected from the political process.”
[A Nigerian revolution, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2011)
What about power supply; how many of the Nigerian youths can boast of 24 hours uninterrupted power supply? What you hear noise coming out from the generators. Yet billions they say has been spent in boasting power.
Why are you pointing the finger at the youth one may ask?
This is because we have failed woefully in performing our rights as the youth. Because we have failed to rise up and stand to our feet for the betterment of our country Nigeria and the sake of our unborn children. This is because we have allowed greed and selfishness to grow as a tumor in us.
What’s the standard of education now in Nigeria compared to that of other African countries like Ghana etc.? I could remember some years Ghanaians were in Nigeria because our country is far better than theirs. Until they were forced to leave the country because of reasons best known to Nigerian leaders. Now what’s the standard of education in Nigeria compare to Ghana? Are these politicians we campaign, kill ourselves and snatch ballot boxes for not the same cowards who send their children overseas to get better education? This is because they know that they have failed and will keep failing. They know they can’t do anything to improve the standard of living in the country, they know they can improve the standard of education in the country. They all know they have nothing positive to offer.
Why can’t they use their children as political thugs? Do you think they care about you? “No, they don’t”. After all their children are enjoying uninterrupted education, power supply and many more we can think of. It’s well known that in Nigeria about 112 million people (about 67.1 percent of the country’s total population of 167million, according to statistics from the latest poverty report by the national bureau of statistic NBS, 2012) are living below poverty level in a country blessed with different kinds of natural resources which can be used to develop and improve the standard of living in the country.
How many of our youths are employed? Every year thousands of youths graduate from the Nigerian universities yet what’s the hope? Are they employed? No, but are there vacancies “Yes” but because most positions meant for the youths are being occupied by old men and women who cannot even make use of the recent technology to solve the available problems facing them in the different positions which they are occupying. Many of them don’t even know how to have access to their mails without a help of a young Clark or secretary. Most of them can’t even read text messages sent to their phone. This is because they are old and weak. They need to retire, go home and rest. But their selfishness won’t let them make way for the younger generation to show out what they have been trained to do. Believe me this country will be better if our youths take up major positions in different government sectors, agencies and ministries etc.
But we scream no job every day!
Every year the government claims they have provided millions of jobs, yet we still have educated young men and women who are moving up and down with files searching for the one million jobs that our so called gods of the land claimed they created. Many have died in this process of job hunting. The immigration exercise conducted some time ago took away lives. Yet the gods of our land are so bind to see all these and put them in other.
The issues I mentioned are just few. We still have a problem with our roads that have claimed lives as a result of lack of maintenance and proper rehabilitation. There are also problems in our health sector. How many unemployed youths have access to free medical care? But all these are unfulfilled promises made to us by the so called men and women who parade themselves as the gods of Nigeria. Yet when selected few are sent out to go and represent us they sell us off at pea nuts and we just tweet about them and case closed.
Many youths have gone into armed robbery, prostitution and other crimes just to make ends meet. But are these the solution to their problems? “No”, it doesn’t last and it doesn’t create a good society for our unborn kids? Youths going into crime cannot make the society any better and also youths who choose to be used as political thugs cannot make our society any better at all. We all know what happens when a young man or woman is caught of any crime. We all know that the Nigeria law doesn’t take it lightly with crimes unless when it come to the rich and the powerful in our society then the case will start having K-Leg until its swept under the carpet otherwise if caught of any crime you must face the full weight of the law. You won’t go unpunished. And you can’t give excuse with unemployment as you are not the only one who is unemployed. Many of our youths are locked up in different prisons all over the country. Many are in life sentence, many are in death row. This is as a result of a crime that a bad economy pushed them to commit. Who is to be blamed for this? We are all to be blamed, the leaders our parents and the youths who failed themselves. This is why we have to take full charge of what belongs to us that will last for us for as long as we live rather than accept a small portion of it that won’t go a long way to help us.
Dear Nigerian Youths, if we really want change, we need to change our mentality and our own twisted logic of what we think change is. Until when we know that the solution to the problems facing our dear country is in the hands of the whole youths and not just selected few. Until we stand up and tackle those problems, until then, that’s when we will be free from mental slavery, from injustice, from political slavery and that’s when we will see hope in our country. But before then, there is NO HOPE.
I am a Nigerian Youth. I stand against any form of humiliation and intimidation of the Nigerian youth. I stand against youth slavery and oppression. And I against any form your misrepresentation. Let our voices be heard.
Anozie Chibuike is a graduate of Information Management Technology,
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