By Onifade Bello Abdurrahman
THE euphoria that characterized a bill to enhance youths’ participation in determining the prospects of their nation has left me pensive. The immediate aftermath has been a flood on social media with the emblem ‘Youths are ready to take over.’ But, I was quick to remember that we are actually in an era of flood. My thoughts have been flooded too. I have been pensive, perturbed and ambivalent. Instead of being forward-looking with apt strategies, many youths have become very parochial in the pursuit of power.
Basically, the time is ripe for us, the youths, to stop blaming the old generation for the many woes that have hindered the development and progress of a nation so blessed with human and material resources like Nigeria. I am saddened that youths continue to blame the older Nigerians. In actual fact, when youths continue to put the blame for their inabilities, actions and inactions on the old generation, they will never prosper politically and economically.
Therefore, it is time we started working, rather than quibbling in a world moving at the speed of light. There is no time for us to act rightly than now!
The passage of the #NotTooYoungToRun bill has birthed the formation of youth political platforms. Some have genuine plans while others’ plans are a replica of the pervasive political fraud that has shattered and battered our national conscience and patrimony. Hence, one has to be discerning to discover reality in a nation where farce has been beautified with frivolities. If you are not wise as Nigerian youth, you will be otherwise.
Over the years, people have become cynical and have developed hatred for politicians because they can’t be trusted to live up to their promises during electioneering campaigns. The promises of employment and economic stability by politicians have grown wings into thin air; but they will surely resurface again when elections approach. Nothing portrays this situation than Oscar’s saying that ‘politics is the art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.’ But, we have made mistakes as a people in the past which we cannot afford a recurrence. Avoiding mistakes is the greatest mistake; yet, repeating same mistakes may be nothing but judicious insanity.
It should be borne in mind that in the absence of strong institutions, incompetent and self-serving officials will continue to inflict damage on the nation’s economic prospects; such that the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government may not bring anything showable to the fore.
Therefore, a few good men and women are not enough to stop these officials and their corrupt activities. In fact, we need a critical mass of capable and committed individuals, especially youths, to make a practical and sustainable difference. This is the prime reason the ‘First Massive Literati – FML’ has emerged and come to stay.
It is an assemblage of youths whose commitment to making pragmatic changes is fueled by prudent intellectualism, empathic selflessness and plain integrity. It is not a gathering of youths whose pursuit is ephemeral gains and evanescent fortunes.
We have come to realize that if we cannot foster economic prosperity, there can’t be peace. If there is economic stability and prosperity, the conundrum of agitations for secession and restructuring which has permeated our national discourse lately will die down. It is an open secret that a hungry man is an angry man.
The leadership of the nation has never ceased to make wrong decisions economically and politically; save for a few occasions. The extant government of ‘Change’ has not been immune too.
But we understand that a wrong decision is better than indecision. It behooves us to state that the FML has identified these wrong decisions; hence, it has a plan to proffer right decisions to them in its forthcoming ‘Economic Summit’ slated for 4 November 2017, at UniLag Main Auditorium.
This is a practical step to stimulate and enhance our economic prosperity as a people, particularly the youths who seldom realize that economic freedom is sine qua non to political emancipation. It is time we took a quantum leap out of our financial straits. We are out of recession, said the government. But, have we begun to feel the practicality of this assertion? No.
Furthermore, if you don’t prepare before you appear, you will disappear ahead of time. The journey to political emancipation is no child’s play; yet, it is not to be pursued with desperation devoid of feasibility studies and strategic plans. It transcends sending messages via WhatsApp, or doing ‘follow-follow’ on Twitter; it is not even by having a thousand likes for our ideas on Zucker-Ville. It is a serious journey and may our roads be rough.
In conclusion, our youthful age is our useful age. If you are a Nigerian youth, you would do yourself a lot of good not to miss this ‘Economic Summit’ by FML. The speakers and panelists are renowned personalities whose global standpoints tower in the nation. Perhaps, you could use some of your MB to embrace Google to know more about Fela Durotoye, Ken Etete, Akpo Kentebe, among others.
It is not just time for us to ‘take over’ but the time is ripe for us to prepare our plans, plan our goals and prioritize our aims with a vision. Nation building is a serious mission and I shall never cease to assert that ‘a mission without a vision is an illusion.”
Abdurrahman writes from the University of Ibadan via [email protected]