Apocalypse. Doomsday. These two words can be used interchangeably to explain what eventual days of evil mean. In a nutshell, they represent negativity, in fact, the very height of which that can ever be imagined. The understanding of these words best describes a fearful manifestation of things that are hitherto unknown. Still in its stock, there is widespread destruction or disaster; terrifying events that shows the coming of end-times. All of these above are not to instill a fear in any form. I am not an acclaimed prophet, let alone a prophet of doom. I am only trying to amplify the stance of the Bible and that of popular views. These are my words of admonition for the concerned authority. I am not the first neither will this piece be the last. Patriotism is not only shown with guns and ammunition by those trained to use them. Most times, pens can be mightier than swords. Here is my own show of patriotism! With the way our youth are becoming more idle and restive by the day, it is an understatement saying the country is sitting on a keg of gun power. The diffusive power of a powder is so strong that when it is released into the air; self-protection, status, distance that some Nigerians have been seeing as immunity will become powerless.
Popular opinion and our Holy books have fixated our minds that apocalypse which humanity will experience will come in the form of some sort of God’s wrath. That God will unleash terror in the land to intervene in the affairs of man as the case may be, or eventually calling it a day with the earth and the inhabitants thereon. Man may live on the surface of the earth for years to come, but Nigeria’s dilly-dallying with dangers will fast-track her own apocalypse.
When the substantial number of a country’s young persons are made to believe that the future ahead of them is a bleak one, it naturally should pose a serious concern to the government that is desirous of prosperity and peacefulness. Because in these youth’s resolve, lies the will and strength to achieving these two aims. History tells us that virtually everyone in leadership positions in Nigeria benefitted from Nigeria’s magnanimity in terms of her ecological greatness and solid foundation bequeathed onto them by first set of selfless leaders like Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr Nnamdi Azikwe. They all enjoyed free and qualitative education, good value system, well-organized and peaceful environment. These were gotten on a platter of gold, with Nigeria bearing the costs. Principle of reciprocity expects that this is passed to coming generations, even if it cannot be improved on.
Nigerian youth are one of the smartest in the world. Lack of visionary leadership and bad public policies have hindered them from showcasing that prowess, thereby making them docile. Unfortunately for Nigeria’s current leadership, that juvenile docility has been far taken for granted and in its place comes juvenile delinquency. The average Nigerian youth is a product of street struggle, societal neglect and lack of adequate care. He is left to cater for his needs and fend for himself. He struggles through school and comes out, with almost no value to add to his society. And yet the influence of social media keeps reminding him of what life has in stock for him to explore and enjoy. The 21st century Nigerian youth no longer wants to understand the teachings of due process because times without number, the leadership and elite are not leaving by examples. They don’t see the leadership practise what they constantly preach. The average Nigerian youth is tired of the weekly sermons of religious leaders that are only meant for the poor to abide by. They believe strongly that less prayers and more responsible actions are what keep serious nations going. Rwandan economy which is one of the fastest growing economies on the continent doesn’t parade the number of pastors and imams we have here in Nigeria. Tick, tick is the Nigerian clock!
Anger, bold defiance and anti-State behaviors among youths is enormously brewing. In far northern Nigeria, the youth are becoming increasingly aware of the helplessness of religious institutions and culture to their plight. They are now aware that certain age-long cultural laws and traditions are not being followed by the elite who live among them. Yet no consequences have been suffered by those elite who keep disregarding customary rules. Could there be an exemption to the rules? They are silently thinking about that. They are also curious to know why despite the region being the poorest in the country, their kinsman holds the numero uno position of the list of wealthy people in Africa. They are not blind to see the children of some northern elite displaying opulence with reckless abandon. And some of these elite have no professional careers to justify the amassment of such possessions. They have known that the government treasury to which everyone is entitled must have surely been terribly dealt with. In a country that is awarded the poverty capital of the universe, in a region where over million children are said to be out of school, in a country where IDPs have become normal places of abode due to the activities of Boko Haram which has also claimed and maimed hundreds of lives of locals. They are watching how some presidential aides use the Nation’s assets for personal engagements. Tick, tick says the clock!
Even though some were yet unborn at the time when certain political events happened, folklores and fables narrated by older generation have been helpful. Their social media activity is also not for the fun of it. There are intellectuals among them who use the search engine “Google” to enquire the “hows and whys” of some current realities. Nigerian youth know quite well that there was a time when a former head of state had almost nothing before he was chosen by some cabals to lead their beloved country. They still cannot pretend not to know the wealth and avalanche of mouth-watering property linkable to his name now. Youths in one of Yoruba states cannot be reminded that one ex-governor can hardly boast of a known professional career before and after leading the state in two separate regimes of 4 years. And yet his lads brazenly show opulence to provoke the emotions of thousands of youths that daily start and end their days on the streets, doing nothing tangible for themselves and families. Will they continue to sleep till eternity? The clock is still ticking!
The audacity and carefree attitude and disposition by the elite is further explained in the way the law interpreting arm of the country has been compromised. The youth in one of the Eastern states cannot pretend that it was the judiciary that imposed their current governor on them, and not what people decided at the polls. They still keep in mind that an ex-governor from that same region of the country, who was initially accused of misappropriating the state’s funds was surprisingly asked to resume to walk freely. Not only that, he was told to continue representing his people with all his emolument reinstated. Imagine the lives and future of the nation’s youth being toyed with, all to settle some stupid political scores. Tick tick I say again, is the clock!
In Nigeria, one is either poor or rich. The place of the middle class in the Nigerian economy is subject to debate. This is because they represent a very tiny percentage of the total population. They are the relatively comfortable ones. They should be concerned that these idle youths cannot be happy seeing them and their families cruising every day. The I-better-pass-my-neighbour kind of lifestyles which makes them think their status is higher, should even be more worrying. My submission is that, when the clock stops ticking, the next neighbour will be the first target. No matter how hard one tries to domesticate a wild animal, the tendency to show some occasional brutality to his owner cannot be looked away with. It is easy for a restive youth to assemble other collaborators to carry out dastardly acts. And this can actually be done in the same neighborhood where one stays. So think about it. Good life is not an exclusive right of anyone. Everyone, irrespective of how life has been unfair to him, lack of parental care while growing up, incomplete education, individual ill-decisions and so on, knows the taste of a good life. Those restive youth cannot always be happy with the cars you drive around. They are also not happy that you go out in the morning and come back at night.
In its September report, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics whose reports on unemployment rates no longer move Nigerians a hoot, also added that working class are losing will to continue working. Two things would have made this happen: under-employment and psychological pressure. A country that sets her workers’ minimum wage at 30,000 naira; a bag of local rice at N30,000; inflation rate at 12.82%; petrol price now at N160 per barrel; electricity bills also jump-started, has already killed the morale of whoever sees themselves a worker in Nigeria. An ill-spirited worker does not only reduce his loyalty to his employer which he does by deliberately under-performing, he never stops being on the lookout to places where he can better channel his energy and experience. If the frustration keeps waxing stronger, he joins the guys in the streets for get-rich-quick options.
Concluding this piece with some optimism, public servants, government officials, the elite and our various religious leaders can help avert this looming danger. Youth restiveness can still be arrested before it gets out of control. In my own little ways, I suggest the following:
a. Going forward, vocational skills should not only be made learnable in our tertiary institutions of learning. They can actually be made mandatory starting from our secondary schools, and every student must show some appreciable level of proficiency before passing out.
b. Government can help pass a bill and ensure it is enforced, that public servants must monitor the attitude exhibited by their families both online and offline. The country is in a precarious state where almost everyone and every region is pursuing one agitation or another. They should be responsible and sensitive whenever they come online.
c. Religious leaders should not be seen as preachers of wholly prosperity-based sermons. As they are repository of morals and societal values, they should see themselves more as pro-masses than pro-elite in the ways they relate with people.
d. Relevant authorities should be serious fighters against corruption. They should be ready to live by what they preach to the youth and the entire Nigerian people. For the youth of nowadays watch their deeds and actions more than their preaching.
e. In delivering the dividends of good governance, basic amenities like food and shelter should be made the cheapest items that can be affordable by every Nigerian family. Studies show that the greatest concern of an average family-head on the street is to feed and house his household.
f. All efforts must be made to discourage our youth from pursuing illegitimate wealth. In fact, the success of item (e) above will significantly help here.
Written by Kola