In the nigh future there will be us left, and not them; there will be us at the helms… of our destinies, of the destiny of this beleaguered country. When those days come us, although they trudge, yet they must come, what disappointments they shall bring! But it shall be our fault. Nigerian youth are called the leaders of tomorrow, yet they watch with nonchalant abandon how that tomorrow is being filled with debris and rubble of the rots of today.
It is a pity that many a youth has no grasp of the consequences that will become of the actions and the inaction of ‘our fathers’ of today in no distant time. With comic glee do many young heads, who should be disturbed, receive each day the distressful news of… looters of the nation’s commonwealth, despoilers of our national heritage, unscrupulous beings who are in fact despicable fiends that should receive daily maledictions in our various morning devotions! These vicious parents eat sour grapes in unbelievable quantity every day yet, Nigerian youth have not started paying attention to their own teeth that are being set on edge.
‘But there is almost nothing we can do to salvage the situation’, many are wont to retort in resignation. However, there are many things that will suffice to salvage the future which ricks daily under the destructive weight of today. A peek at the past will show how the youth had one time or the other been at the vanguard of commonsensical guide and guard of the country when the fathers/leaders of those periods wobbled in fatal steps. The Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact abrogation in 1962 has always been a reminder of how determined Nigerian youth could prevent the apparently callow leaders at the helms of affairs of the nation from driving headlong the fate of our country into the traps of the former colonial overlords in a new form. The will and resolve of those real heroes was transformed into determined protestations in spite of the dangers and the uncertainties that circumvented them. The Nigerian government therefore had no choice but to bow to the demand of the more circumspect Nigerian youth, who were mostly students, especially those of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier university, for freedom of the country in truth, and indeed from Britain. These heroes had a sole duty to the nation, a duty to the future, and they did deliver.
Furthermore, a peek at the continent history will bring up memories of patriotic movements that were championed by the youth. It is instructive to note that most respected and praised African leaders of the past began their journey to heroism from when their bones were still strong, in their youth! African liberators or champions of independent movements were culled mostly from the West Africa Students’ Union (WASU) which was founded in 1925 in London. Egbe Omo Odua which later metamorphosed into the Action Group was founded by the late Obafemi Awolowo while still studying at the United Kingdom. Many other important and destiny shaping movements were floated in the past years, pre and post-independent, across the African continent by the youth. These patriots did not sit back and allow their immediate future blurred by the currents of their time. They were duty-bound to themselves, and of course to their progeny.
In the light of the foregoing, it must be strongly said to ‘they that must hear what the town crier chimes,’ that what Nigeria will become tomorrow will be determined by the doings of today. The seeds are being sowed, soon they will sprout and harvest time looms. Should tomorrow which the young men and women of today own be shaped alone by today’s elders and hoary heads that will probably have gone or become superannuated when it comes? Should we, the youth, sit back and watch our destinies wash away along with the flotsam and the jetsam of the pestiferous sail of the unabashedly reckless leaders that fate has plagued us with?
It is time we said never to wolves in sheepskin who bay for the national treasuries; criminals in dapper suits and starched Agbada whose forte is to loot and loot and care not if the economy of the country sinks. One of the ways to go about saying nay to these crooks is for the youth to start seriously paying attention to, and engaging critically, the happenings and discourse in the country. The youth, especially the fledgling intellectuals, are duty bound to start engaging in sociopolitical and economic discourses of the country. All those ‘logies’ and ‘isms’ and ‘ities’ will be useless redundancies if they are not put to use in the affairs of the country. Technology has given today’s denizens of the world, Nigeria’s inclusive, a leap in available and mobile platforms to air their thoughts. Through technology, the rigours the yester-(wo)men had to go through to organize themselves into determined front to challenge perceived wrongs of the leaders of their time has been shelved. A touch on the pads of mobile phones will rouse many in Borno, in Enugu, in Bayelsa, in Lagos and so on to heed the clarion call each time the need arises to beat down mis-decisions by the government. The Occupy Nigeria of 2012 is a textbook example.
Moreover, technology and internet can be utilized to hound and prosecute unpatriotic leaders in any field whose sole aim has been discovered is to selfishly enrich themselves at the expense of the development of the country. There have been efforts by commendable young men and women who have appropriated the social media as a platform for social crusade and re-orientation; yet more throngs are needed in order to sanitise ‘our dear native land’. Nigeria must be got back from unscrupulous marauders whose claims to leadership post rest solely on the citizens’ stolen mandates.
In conclusion, this piece is a clarion call to the Nigerian youth to seize their future, our future, that is being precariously threatened by the fathers who are not fathers, and by the mothers who are not mothers. When those nigh days come, therefore, it will have been shaped by our valorous desires which are set today. To leave the results of tomorrow’s Nigeria to the hands of a half of the stakeholders, the elders of today, will be disastrous in all sense; the other stakeholder in the Nigerian project are the youth.