By: Chiedu Uche Okoye
Youth or youth fullness is one of the phases, which every human being will pass through. Today’s old people, who are gnarled by old age, were once young and energetic people. As time could be likened to an unstoppable fast-travelling train, today’s youths will become old people in the future with tempus fugit. Nobody is immune to the ravages of time; and nobody can stop the ageing process. So, it behooves young people to utilize their youthfulness to realize their potential and contribute significantly and meaningfully to national development.
It’s a known fact that gifted young people do reach the zenith of their endeavors and careers during their youthful ages. Chinua Achebe, one of the founding fathers of the modern African literature, wrote his Magnus Opus, Things Fall Apart, when he was in his twenties. And, another contemporary of Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, wrote excellent literary works that cover all the genres of literature during his youthful day(s). Little wonder, he won the noble prize for literature.
Although many gifted young people can excel in their chosen careers and endeavors without receiving much assistance from people, they still need guidance and tutelage. A highly talented youthful person could be compared to a yam tendril that should be provided with a stake on which it would twine.
But sadly, and regrettably, in Nigeria, today’s youths do not evince and display the qualities and character traits of people, who can transform Nigeria, holistically and positively. Our young people, who are socialized and initiated into our egregious culture of corruption, are rapists, cultists, religious fanatics, and ethnic bigots. Since their parents bought SSCE certificates and University admissions for them to study courses like Law, Medicines, Accountancy, and Engineering, they could not cope with the rigors of University Education, being mentally unprepared for the mentally –taxing university education. Consequently, they’re compelled to join cult groups on campuses across the country.
Instead of being obsessed with scholarly activities, they use their membership of cult groups to brow-beat their lecturers to award them undeserved high grades in their courses. Others have converted many campuses in the country to religious grounds, where they espouse their religious dogmas and teachings. And the ladies who are always dressed in décolletage and provocative dresses prefer participating in beauty pageantry to engaging in intellectually -enriching engagements and other ennobling activities.
What happens in our Universities now is a great departure and opposite of what obtained in them in the past. In the Past, university students would help to shape, formulate, and change unfavorable government policies through their interventions like protest marches and newspaper articles. But gone are the days when students, who are the leaders of tomorrow, protested against bad and unfavorable government policies. Now, they acquiesce in government policies that will bring suffering and economic hardship to the masses. And they do visit our political leaders to show solidarity with them when those leaders are not offering us good political leadership and qualitative representation in the national assembly. Aren’t the students, who are leaders of tomorrow, sycophants?
Commendably, President Buhari has signed into law the not- too- young-to-run bill. But can a young person, who is a philosopher- king in the mould of Emmanuel Macron of France, emerge on our political landscape as our national leader? Given the dysfunctional state of our universities, they’ve not been churning out hot-headed young people with probity and political cum economic ideologies, who can offer alternatives to our egregious system of doing things. And, a majority of Nigerian youths, who are destitute of positive morality, probity, and intellectual fecundity, believe that it is not the turn of the current crop of leaders in the country to do good for themselves through their perpetration of corrupt deeds. So, can our youths band together to oust the recyled old politicians from the loft of political power and change the existing political order when the youths are not intellectually and morally equipped for that undertaking ?
But, to dislodge them from power and change the existing political order will be a herculean and arduous task for young Nigerians. Because our politics is money – based, and not issue- based, many a young person with moral scruples, good education, and leadership qualities cannot win elective post in Nigeria.
Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State