Would anyone just tell me we have youths in this country? Is anyone ready to tell if truly passionate, dedicated and morally upright young people abound in this country? Or maybe nobody is feeling the way I feel currently.
I put a question to Wikipedia- “define a youth”. It wasted no time in telling me that ‘it is the time when one is young.’ Not satisfied with the first answer so I sent my eyes down the page. Then I came across this quote attributed to Robert Kennedy:
“This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.”
At this point I needed no argument. I needed no plea to continue reading that page. Kennedy aptly put an answer to my question. I was glad I read such a comment on the attributes of a youth. A youth is always imbued with courage. Adventurous in output. He speaks up not caring whose ox is gored.
According to Nigerian National Youth Policy (2001), a youth is a young person of ages 18-35 years. This is the age grade pegged as youth cadre in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As at July 2012, Nigeria’s population was pegged at 170, 123, 74 million with 49.3% as youths. Truly the youths of Nigeria make up the large population of the country.
Despite the population of the youths, why is Nigeria still where it is? Globally, the youths are the most visible, agile citizens, back bone of development in any given society. They are the live wire of any serious minded nation. Agents of change they truly are. Can these be said of the Nigerian youths? Are the voices of youths really heard? This remains to be seen.
Can youths through their numerous social networks change the fortunes of Nigeria for good? A capital YES! But is this the case? A sadly NO!! The craze for quick wealth, social media acquaintance and‘tweet fights’ has been the bane of the Nigeria youth. This is why you see a 20- year-old chap working assiduously to own a Range Rover 2014 model. To him that enhances his status symbol, earns him ‘respect’ and gives him a voice amongst his peers.
A Nigerian youth no longer care about the situation of the country. He wants to move out of the country for ‘greener pastures’. This could be by hook, crook or stowaway in order to achieve his objective. A youth who is ready to dress like one of her pop star at the expense of any means. The hairs of all nations adorn our heads without regards for our ailing nation.
Oh the social media. It has become the revelation of this age. The cynosure for the youths. An avenue meant for mobilisation, empowerment, shaping opinions and influencing change in a society. Only a few realises the usefulness of such platforms.
A typical Nigerian youth face book/twitter page neither constitutes a platform for constructive criticisms of the nation nor a movement for change. What he does is to abuse with impunity persons and their opinion. Pleasure is only derived from engaging in tweet fights which end up with no result. Issues such as blocking, friend requests and personal opinions increase the traffic of tweets, posts and counter posts.
Can a Nigerian youth learn from the Arab Spring? According to Carol Huang in a write –up ‘Face book and Twitter: key to Arab Spring uprisings’, “With the use of social networking sites, activists organised and publicised the unprecedented protests that gave rise to the so- called Arab Spring, which has so far seen long time governments in Egypt and Tunisa fall, regimes in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain clash with opposition and leaders in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE offer more benefits to their populace.
Popular twitter hash tags: #Egypt #Jan25 #Libya #Bahrain was all created. Social activitists engaged other social media users in order to bring about a wanted change. “
Can a true youth be engrossed in ephemeral use of social media while the nation unemployment rate surges?
A nation that sees nothing wrong in buying what was freely given by the Almighty. Power stability still waited for as the 8th wonder of the world to come. Roads have turned death traps. Human beings with blood flowing through their veins die with reckless abandon just as dry leaves fall off trees.
The education sector still remains in the miry clay. A student cannot get through college without observing the yearly ASUU festival. Special centres become the pride of high school leavers. Mush room crèche, nursery and primary school adorn our cities. Or is it the continued corruption applied as Mary Kay on the faces of various government agencies.
Due to the sleepy youths of Nigeria, the nation is witnessing the power thirst of septuagenarians and octogenarians. Can any public relations expert defend the appointment of a 60 year old as the head of the youth wing of a political party? Leaders believe a price tag is attached to any youth and therefore sees no need to acknowledge him and his wealth of intelligence.
2015 lurks around the corner. Youths of this country cannot afford to sleep. A nation cannot be left in the hands of people who have slept, ate and drank the waters of the corridor of power since time immemorial without a remarkable achievement. Let us have more Malala Yousafzai speak for the future of the unborn generation, the betterment of this current dispensation.
Our continuous sulk of government ineptitude in a corner of our rooms and timelines of social networks would not help. The need to kill the apathy towards elections and its build up should be jettisoned. Adequate representation of the youths in political circles will save us the blushes of having octogenarians lead our nation.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” The change we hope to see in Nigeria starts with you and I.