Questions For The Next Generation Nigerians
Written by Chukwudi Okeke
Saturday, 23 May 2009
Questions for the Next Generation Nigerians
It is always a thing of concern to remember that Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian Nobel Literature Laureate, once described the Nigeria of his generation as a “wasted generation” for failing to live up to expectations. The same generation that bred brilliant minds like Emeka Anyaoku, Bola Ige, Jubril Aminu, Philip Asiodu, Saro wiwa, Omoruyi, the Okigbos and Soyinka himself. Yet the famous writer still termed them” wasted” for failing to pass on the torch effectively.
No other generation of Nigeria can claim to be more prepared to lead than that set were. They graduated from the finest universities abroad and at home. They saw and witnessed everything that was ever good about Nigeria. They were well bred, saw little corruption and taught that a penny earned is worth more than a pound found not to talk of a pound stolen. Employment was never a problem for them as most had jobs waiting for them, with car loans and laced with allocations in government reserved areas. Theirs were lifestyles most of us can only dream of today.
Their military counterparts were no less promising. They were mostly trained at Aldershot, Indian Military School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, a prestigious institution whose motto remains till today-Serve to Lead.
But this generation, notwithstanding their potentials and promises, couldn’t continue to show the light they were shown. They learnt how to lead but couldn’t lead. From their hands, a promising Nigeria lost its sheen, became up for sale and fell into the hands of the present Ghana-Must Go generation.
If the older generation tried but failed, the Ghana-Must-Go generation failed to try, rather they have succeeded in making a rich nation look poor and our resources look like wastes. They are the present crops of Nigeria leaders. They are our leaders in all walks of life with most state governors and politicians being the most prominent. This generation has done more harm than good to the Nigeria it inherited. They offer little hope of redemption and have elevated money and wealth as the new moral code for the country.
Nigeria has become under their watch, a nation where money is no longer measured by the amount of luxuries it could purchase but the number of human souls it leads astray. It has become a nation where money buys the guilty freedom and extols wealth over decency; a nation where the honest are muscled out of the political equation and denied of every single political space available. And this is indeed the most worrisome trend of this generation. For they are selfishly creating a nation where the size of your pockets determine the outcome of your election; a nation where the honest look weak while the dishonest are portrayed as able and capable.
The Emeka Offors, the Peter Odilis, the Iboris, the Ubas, the Patricia Ettehs are all typical members of this generation. Our Ghana-Must-Go legislators who spend more hours debating on their allowance packages than issues of national importance occupy a special place in this group.
Enter the next generation, the so called leaders of tomorrow, the Tommy boys and No Long Thing babes, the Yahoo-Yahoo generation aptly represented by those male students who double as cultists and call themselves guy men; the female students who sleep around under the guise of “runs babes” and all trade apprentices who sell a fake good for the price of the original.
They have beautiful slogans for every crime they commit, which makes the dangers all the more difficult to discern. They are short of role models except those beautiful girls that often contest for “Miss This” or “Miss That” and a few male singers that remind them of what the “koko” of the matter is. The Nigeria they know and live in sharply contrasts from the one they have heard of. Their motherland has failed them. They were recruited as political thugs when they asked for jobs and given guns to shoot at one another when they asked for protection.
Corruption, apart from being their only inheritance, is also the only thing they can easily identify their society with. They see it in every area of their lives. They grew up in a society that was heavily corrupt and with no one to correct them; they embraced it. Now they know that cyber fraud pays more than being a university professor. That you can actually make more money than an honest civil servant will ever make in his entire life time just by punching some keys on your computer.
In their generation, politicians have assumed office without winning elections. They have seen the guilty walk free and the innocent exposed unprotected. Talking of Nigeria, reminds them a country where all manner of evil are permissible; where the leaders feed on the chunks and citizens scramble for the crumbs. A nation where you are all on your own and your survival depends on whatever you can make of your situation.
To imagine how Nigeria will be under these kinds is to understand my worries. For if those who were prepared to lead failed, what then should be expected from those who have barely witnessed any form of good leadership in their life time.
Worth mentioning is however the fact that among this generation, exist a few decent ones who still treasure the endurance of hard work over the easy and fast gains of corruption. But if the big question is how much are they willing to sacrifice to save their country, the bigger question should be how much space will they be allowed? Will there ever be a time when those who have learnt they can win elections by foul means subject themselves to the ethics of free and fair election? Can a dream country ever emerge from a society where those on the wrong side seem to outweigh those on the good?
These are indeed my questions for next generation Nigerians, the same generation I belong to. And seriously think our future looks bleak if one can accurately predict the future from the present. But the future cannot be correctly foretold and this brings me back to Kongi who when asked about Nigeria’s democratic aspirations on BBC had this to say: “I never allow myself to be optimistic or pessimistic. I take Nigeria to be an ongoing project.”
What can the Nigerian youth do to make Nigeria a better place?
The youth needs to be involved in any changes made in the country, because they are the most passionate and have the most at stake - after all, it is about their future!
So how can we involve them? At the moment, the youth is disillusioned and their priorities are wrong. Those at university are often channelling their energy into the wrong things (e.g. secret courts), as they are being misled. Secret courts persist because they are being misused by politicians for their own purposes. This is ironic, because people like Wole Soyinka created fraternities in the first place in order for young people to voice their opinions and, if need be, fight for change!
At the moment, you cannot expect much from university students because they are frustrated and confused. They need someone to set them straight. Ideally this would be Nigerians in the Diaspora. Whenever they travel home, they should organise seminars/workshops to educate the youth and let them know what is expected of them. They are, after all, the educated elite of the future, and a lot of responsibility rests on them - the onus is on them to make a change. Change needs to be fought for, it does not come easily.
After this has been achieved, the youth needs to be told that instead of using their energy to fight each other in secret courts, they should use that energy to effect change. This can be done in many ways - for example, compiling evidence of corruption en masse and presenting it to the Senate, the House of Representatives and the EFCC, making sure that the press is also present. As a matter of fact, partnerships should be formed with the press to make their voices heard. The youth should also be ready to enlighten the public.
This should be the beginning of a youth-led revolution in Nigeria.
I ain't doing jack.
Yes, I said it.
I'm tired of our politicians.
And their children tend to follow suit.
I'd rather befriend the arm robber than the police in that country.
What am I even talk about? They're all same ppl.
We keep crying change. bla bla, but ain't nothing happening.
Not because we weren't doing anything (From peacable protest to violent protest), nohing is happening.