By Olowogboyega Oyebade
Do you know that a new academic session is about to commence? Do you know that Mr AdegboyegaOyetola, the Governor of the State of Osun, has made all necessary preparations to make schooling this session a thing of pride, beauty and culture? Do you know that the ambience of the new schools is inviting enough? Do you know that more computer hard-wares,music equipment and sports equipment and facilities already provided for schools are to ensure all round education for all students and youths in the State? Do you know that all teachers are in high spirit with the Ministry of Education, SUBEB, EDU-MARSHALS and the Quality Assurance Agency basking in the euphoria to make the take-off of a new session, hitch-free? Do you know that all States of Nigeria should emulate Osun in its giant strides to transform education and make the sector enough good news? Do you know that this is the time for all parents to support government to build confidence in all the students to make good careers in education? Do you know that this is the time to build Kanu Nwakwo’sspirit in all our students? What is Kanu Nwakwo’sspirit? Come along, please.
Do you know the former Nigerian Super Eagle’s skipper and ex- football international, KanuNwankwo? Can you remember that this Portsmouth forward suffered a career threatening heart problem in 1996? Can you recall how Kanu led Nigeria to Olympics gold-medal at Atlanta ’96 and was later diagnosed with a weak heart during his summer move to Inter that year? Can you recall how he was treated at a Cleveland clinic and returned to playing football where he continued a great career with Arsenal, winning the Premier league and FA Cup? Can you recall how he won his third FA Cup with a lone strike in the final for Portsmouth in 2009? Do you know that despite the fact that he is retired, he has set up KanuInternational Football Academy (KIFA) in 20 centresacross the country, all aimed at identifying talents and nurturing them to stardom? Do you know that this is what all schools in Nigeria should be doing? Do you know that all churches, Islamic sects, philanthropic organisations should start to establish Football and Music Academies to assist Government to arrest Youth Bulge? Do you know that education will not amount to much if it is limited to cognition and affection? Do you know that psycho-motor provides immediate solutions to social and economic problems?
Are you aware that Kanu Heart Foundation is planning to build heart surgery hospital in Nigeria to domesticate several heart challenges in the country? Do you know that his Foundation has sponsored 561 surgical operations, and added that there are 200 other patients on the waiting list? Are you aware that he lamented that Nigeria has not fully maximized the potentials in football which he referred to as a unifying tool for the country? Do you know that there is an unknown spirit in football that arrests the attention of many youths? Do you know that we must unlock this spirit and reap its dividends? Do you know why? Come along. The voice of Kanu, revealing his spirit interludes:
“So going by the background I come from, I am just a good example for the young people that working hard, sacrificing and putting in everything that you can put in will get you result not only in football but in everything,”.
Have you forgotten the stadium stampede in Uige in Angola killing 17 youths on 9th February 2017? Do you know that hundreds more were reported to have been injured when supporters stormed the gates after failing to gain entry into the 8,000 capacity stadium? Do you know that despite heavy casualties, the game still went ahead and ended in a 0-1 defeat for the home side, Santa Rita de Cassia? Can you now see the power of that spirit? The report of Ernesto Luis, director general of the local hospital, cuts in: “Some people had to walk on top of other people. There were 76 casualties, of whom 17 died,”
We remember Ellis Park Stadium disaster. The date was 11th April, 2001. That day, the worst sporting accident in South African history occurred when youths poured into the Ellis Park Stadium in Gauteng, South Africa, for the local football match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Do you know that the stadium that had 60,000 capacity crowd had about 120,000 fans contending to sit there? Do you know that an equalizer from Orlando Pirates motivated more crowd to surge in, leading to stampede and the fatal death of 43 people? Do you know that a similar crowd crush allegedly linked with the sale of fake tickets at another match also killed two people as South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup final? Do you know that the match continued despite the deaths, with the Chiefs winning 1-0? Do you know that a supporter died in Madagascar as the country hosted Senegal in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier? Have you ever heard of any stampede in any library or laboratory? Do you know that these stampedes are reflections of the deep affection the youths reserve for football? Can you now see what Kanu is talking about? Do you know that as new session is about to start in most schools in Nigeria, we need to promote music and sports? Why? Come along, please.
Have you heard the news? Do you know that there was a stampede at Algeria rap concert where around 45,000 fans, mostly teenagers, attended the concert? Do you know that at least five youths were killed in the stampede at a Stadium in Algiers to see rapper AbderraoufDerradji, better known as Soolking, perform on August 22, 2019? Do you know that hundreds of people were reported to have been injuredl? Could you believe that the concert still went ahead and was carried live on Algerian TV? Do you know that the Government of Algeria dared not cancel the concert, despite casualties? Do you know that good music of a popular star can turn the economic fortune of a country around? The report of a journalist who was at the concert, Linda Chebbah, cuts in:
” On the pitch, people were jostling for space. There were so many people at the concert that I’m not surprised an accident happened.”
Do you know ABBA, a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972 by two couples, namely: Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni- FridLyngstad? Are you aware that the group’s name is an acronym of the first letters of their first names? Do you know that they became one of the most commercially successful young artistes in the history of popular music? Do you know that their music was topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982 and contributing second to Volvo car brands to the Gross Domestic Product of Sweden for more than 20 years? Are you aware that ABBA’s total record sales were over 380 million, making them one of the best-selling music artistses of all time, topping charts in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States and Latin America simultaneously? Do you know that the group wasinducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010 and in 2015, their song “Dancing Queen” was inducted into the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame? Do you know that with the increase of their popularity, their personal lives once suffered which eventually resulted in the collapse of both marriages? Do you know that in mid-January 1979, when Ulvaeus and Fältskog, one of the couples, announced to the world that they were getting divorced, the entire world became sullen and saw it as enough bad news? Do you know that when in mid-February 1981, Andersson and Lyngstad, the second couple, announced to the world that they were filing for divorce, the entire world went blank? Do you know that various interests in the diplomatic circles had to pressurize Sweden, their country to intervene in the marriages to ensure that their broken marriages should not affect their music so as not to bring disaster to the economy of their country and the joy their companionship was bringing to the world?
Despite the fact that the group disbanded in January 1983, and their music declined in popularity, do you know that in 2000, it was reported that a company offered approximately one billion US dollars to the group to do a reunion tour consisting of 100 concerts, a juicy contract that was turned down? Do you know that their music was re-issued on 18 September 2018 in UK and it was equally a success? Do you know that it is speculated that the group is secretly working on some songs that may be released in 2019 and the entire world is waiting? Can you now see that good music from our youths can promote and grow the economy?
Do you know how to measure the pulse of a country? Are you aware that you cannot get it through the stethoscope of the most clairvoyant-surgeon? Do you know that the only instrument to measure the mood of a nation is simply the trending music genre common amongst the youths in a particular country? Are you aware that Pop music is the most acceptable music genre in contemporary world? Do you know that in Nigeria, it is everyday music on media? Do you know that the current raps and hip pop music are now embraced by all groups, including the religious, atheists and the agnostics? Do you know that the youths that are exploring the Nigeria pop music scene are fast dollar-denominated, using their tracks to “gbapenalty wole”? Do you know that youths generally are using the same song to promote their revulsion against the system? Do you know that we must imbue in them the Kanu Nwankwo’s spirit? Are you aware that apart from keying into sports and music, one special area we must cultivate them is to celebrate innovations in them?
Have you read the story of Kehinde Durojaye who was reported to have invented amphibious jet car that moves on land, sea and air? Do you know that this young man in Lagos Island who has been referred to as a self-taught inventor by CNN is yet to be popularly celebrated and calibrated for further inventions? Have you read about another youth in Enugu that built amini Jeep from local materials in 2018? Do you know that the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has unveiled the first-ever five-seater electric car produced in Nigeria by the Faculty of Engineering of the University, a vehicle with 80 per cent locally-sourced materials and it could undertake a 30-kilometredistance when fully charged? Do you know that a young Nigerian inventor has built a portable generator that runs on water? Do you know that this 26-year-old secondary school graduate, Emeka Nelson has been able to develop such an innovation, without having any background in engineering? Do you know that theingenious Emeka has also invented quite a few things too, including a machine that converts waste into petrol and diesel as reported by the BBC? Have you heard the news that a group of Mechanical Engineering students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) has unveiled a zero-emission automobile built to reduce global warming, an automobile that will not be powered by fuel? Do you know that the 200 kilogrammeautomobile is powered by a high voltage battery and has no carbon emission and has a speed limit of 15 kilometres per hour? Do you know that these innovations should be celebrated to encourage spirit of competitions among our youths? Do you know that in the new session, our schools have to make sports, music and innovation as co-curricular activities? Do you know that this is one giant initiative that can turn this demographic dividend to a huge gain for our State and country? You want to know them? Come along, please.
Are you aware that the United Nations defines youth as people aged 15 to 24 years? Do you know that youth in Africa constituted 19% of the global youth population in 2015, numbering 226 million? Do you know that Africa’s population as a whole is very young, with 60% of the entire continent aged below 25, making it the youngest continent in the world, in relation to its population makeup? Can you believe that by 2030, it is predicted that the number of youths in Africa will have increased by 42%? Do you know that all of the world’s top 10 youngest countries by median age are in Africa, with Niger in first place with a median age of 15.1 years? Do you know that this demographic dividend could benefit and develop Africa, if properly managed, but if otherwise, it may lead to greater instability and civil conflict? Do you know that as African youths are becoming more globalized in fashion and music, they are becoming bolder in asking questions?
Do you know that as we speak, about 10–12 million youths are added to the labour market each year in Africa, thus making the demographic dividend a ‘ticking time bomb’? Do you know that youth unemployment across Africa is high, at 30.6% in North Africa, the second-highest rate of a region globally, whilst in sub-Saharan Africa the rate was about 12.9% in 2016? Are you aware that youth unemployment levels vary from 53.6% in Swaziland and 52.3% in South Africa, to 3.3% in Rwanda in 2016? Do you know that a lack of graduate employment opportunities across the continent has contributed towards high levels of informal employment, comprising 75% of non-agricultural employment in Africa, a situation the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation, viewed as ‘a reflection of underdevelopment,’ which may also be ‘the source of further economic retardation due to its lack of official regulation, limited social security and poor wages and working conditions? Do you know that young women have higher rates of unemployment than men in all African countries, which may potentially result from gender inequalities in primary and secondary education, with only Swaziland achieving gender parity in secondary school enrolment in Africa? Do you know that in the Central African Republic and Chad, less than half as many girls as boys were enrolled in secondary school in 2012, thus taking the foundation for skilled formal employment away from girls? Do you know that other issues impacting young women’s employment include: child marriage; time poverty through participation in reproductive labour; and laws and customs restricting women’s actions and mobility?
Do you know that about 70% of crimes in urban areas were perpetrated by youths who were edged out in the social net? Do you know that more than 90% of criminal gangs were made up of the youths? Do you know that the youths coined new languages for themselves? Do you know who they call ‘science students’? Do you know the meaning of their ‘next level’? Do you know who ‘Oloso‘ is? Have you wondered how they came about their campaigns tagged: “Not Too Young To Run”? Do you know that African youths were the major victims of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, mental illness, drug addiction and accidents? Do you know that in 2009, 20 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for an estimated 69% of the world’s new HIV infections among young people, with an estimated 4.3% of young women and 1.5% of young men in the region living with HIV? Do you know that in Eastern and Southern Africa, 11.9% of the population living with HIV were aged 15–24, with 710,000 South African youths, the largest youth population of any African country, living with HIV/AIDS? Can you see why they appear to be hostile to the Nigerian community in South Africa that appears to be beyond poverty-line?
Do you know that Nigeria has one of the largest populations of youth in the world, comprising 33,652,424 members? Do you know that the National Youth Policy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognizes 5 priority areas, namely: the impact of globalization, access and use of communication technology, the impact of STDs and HIV/AIDS, inter-generational issues in an aging society, and youth perpetrators and victims of armed conflict? Do you know that this policy is guided by National Policies for education, gender, health, population for sustainable development, and the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS), the Social Development Goals, the African Youth Charter, and other international agreements on women and people living with disability?
Do you know that the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) founded in 1964 is the voice and the umbrella organization for youth organizations in the country? Do you know that the NYCN pursues democratic norms at all times, embrace the principles of accountability and transparency in all its conduct, and initiate and execute activities that are in consonance with the goals of the National Youth Policy? Do you know that the home is given the task of parenting and birthdays are marked to socialize the children in the family settings? Do you know that lesbianism, sodomy and gay marriages are not encouraged by any culture? Do you know that it is a requirement for every child in Nigeria to receive a minimum of nine years of free education as the Government provides funding through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), and Education Trust Fund (ETF)? Do you know that technical and vocational education is less promoted thus wiping out the middle class in the country? Do you know that deliberate efforts are not made to promote sports and music in our schools and tourism is not encouraged among the labour force? Do you know that voting age for youths is 18 years of age but when it comes to social inclusion, teenagers are excluded? Do you know that as part of Youth Rebellion, the youths agitated to have “ Not Too Young To Run Act as a struggle for political inclusiveness? Do you know that we have to learn fast how to manage teen rebellion? Do you know something about youth rebellion? Come along, please.
Do you know that as we grow up, the capacity for independent decision-making becomes sacrosanct? Do you know that a teenager experiments with different roles and ideologies as part of this process of developing an identity? Do you know that Psychologists see this behavior as Teen Rebellion? Have you read Terror Management Theory? Do you know that the theory is of the opinion that the child’s allegiance to parental authority and world views can weaken after the discovery that parents, like themselves and everyone else, are mortal and are susceptible to make terrible mistakes? How did you feel eventually to discover later in life the assertion you were made to believe at childhood that Santa Clause (Father Christmas) came from Rome to visit special children in Nigeria? Do you know that there is no deeper injury done to the heart of a child than to discover that his parents are not fidel, or his teacher is a compulsive liar or that the leaders of his community are not honest? Do you know that this dawning reality creates an unconscious need for security that is broader than what the parents alone provide or what the social institutions can guarantee? Do you know that this makes the youths to seek for democratic alternatives to guarantee their freedom and preferences? Do you know that this tendency to choose, without being given, is simply called Teen Rebellion?
Do you know that Laurence Steinberg argues that measures discouraging youth from taking part in risky behavior (such as drug and alcohol abuse, reckless driving, and sex) have been largely ineffective because of their discovery that adults are equally having feet of clay in these vices? Are you aware that Rebecca Schraffenberger is of the view that not all teenage rebellion takes the form of violation of rules? Do you know that the World Bank and African Development Bank reported that there are 650 million mobile users in Africa, surpassing the number in the United States or Europe? Do you know that mobile technology has been a game changer for African youth? Do you know that youth are using mobile phones for everything: communicating, listening to the radio, transferring money, shopping, mingling on social media and more? Do you know that youth rebellion has caused devastating havocs in Nigeria? Can you forget in a hurry the Niger Delta orgy of violence, kidnapping, ransome-taking and other acts of sabotage that eventually brought the economy of Nigeria to its knees?
Do you know that the African Youth Charter’s definition of youth means “every person between the ages of 15 and 35 years”? Are you aware that this does not hold water in Nigeria? Do you know that the categorization of youths in Nigeria does not conform to international standard? Are you aware that the general categorization of youths is 15-24 years by the UN while it is put between 18 and 60 years in Nigeria? Do you know that the word youth is a catch-phrase for every category of age-groups in Nigeria to enjoy inclusiveness and political patronage? Do you know that a sampling of youth leaders in many of our political parties revealed that the roll comprise people closer to their 60th birthdays than anyone near the 15-24 or 18-35 years? Do you know that the youths are seen the generations of leaders who refuse to leave the scene and talk down on today’s youth as those who have no good plans for their future? Do you know that nations with eyes on tomorrow are priming their youths for leadership, by liberalising and improving the quality of education, working towards improving access to health care, increasing their capacity for gainful employment and providing welfare programmes that incentivises loyalty from States and discourages anti-social inclinations? Do you know that life is tedious for the Nigerian youth as they strive to attain excellence on their own steam, sometimes with uneven support from struggling family members?
Can you imagine thousands of Nigerian youths crossing the Desert and sailing on shark-infested Mediterranean Sea to ‘escape’ to Europe? Do you know that this is a failure of the school system as these youths cannot find their feet here? How do we want them to feel as they see themselves wasting away? Do you know that the youths want us to address young people’s huge under-representation in politics as nearly 70% of Nigeria’s population of 201 million people are aged below 35, yet they are virtually nowhere to be seen in the corridors of power? Do you know that statistics shows that the youngest member of the parliament at the national level is 43? Do you know that we must embark on Youth Engagement now? What is Youth Engagement? Come along. Agwuegboloudly articulates:
“We have been on this journey for 18 months. We got the National Assembly to say yes to this bill. We got 35 States to say yes to this bill. We are on the final stretch to get the assent of Mr. President. That’s the reason why we are gathered here today.”
Do you know that Youth Engagement is the same thing as youth voice, youth involvement, youth participation, and youth in governance? Do you know that it involves young people in the creation of their own destinies by genuinely involving them in planning and encouraging them to advocate for themselves? Are you aware that it is now a leading-edge practice to meet the needs of youth, including youth at risk and involves opportunities for youth to take responsibility and leadership while working in partnership with caring adults who value, respect and share power with them? Do you know that there are numerous personal, interpersonal, social, cultural and organizational avenues for youth engagement which include: supportive family background, mentors or role models, involvement in cooperative activities, cultivation of intrinsic interest, awareness of moral and political issues, traits such as moral sensitivity and optimism, adult support, youth-friendly environment, completion of meaningful tasks, learning and utilization of new skills? Do you know that specific activities that have been cited as fostering youth engagement include: creating youth councils, youth-led media, youth advisory boards, youth organizing, self-advocacy, community youth development, consulting on public policy, community coalitions, organizational decision-making, school-based service learning, and youth conferences?
Do you know that sports, music and recognized youth service are major spectra of activities that can hold and sustain the attention of the youths long enough to sustain peace? Do you know that the new internet technology in their hands should evaluated and channeled to productive ventures? Do you know that they are already thinking and acting globally, taking advantage of opportunities to expand their understanding of global challenges; wanting tocontribute new ideas and perspectives to the discussion about the world, creating alternative uses of new technologies to further their engagement in the world, and slipping at times, into embarrassing criminality? Do you know that our Youth Engagement must promote adolescent health programmes, increasing more financial benefits to youths while schooling and recognizing their creative abilities as part of StudentsManagement?
Do you know that part of the challenges of Youth engagement is innovations as social environment of youths is now shifted to the World Wide Web, fostering online communities based on interests, causes, and purpose? Do you know that young people now promote ideas, vocalizing their goals, organizing community groups, engaging in political discussions, reclaiming identities, creating identities, connecting with others, and taking over these networks full force as their own personal environments? Do you know that the parents, teachers and mentors should now monitor these new communities their wards follow on the social media for proper gate-keeping? Can you recall how some parents in the UK got their children recruited into ISIS on the net? Do you know that social network sites engage in diverse activities such as individual presentation of oneself, articulating and building outside networks, creating work-related collaboration, building romantic relationships, provoking political debates, connecting college student populations and opportunities, sharing hobbies and interests, and essentially forming anything that meets the imagination, made possible through the innovative capacities of current technology? Do you know that today’s youth are able to “tie offline networks to online memberships” through current social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Friendster, and Blogger? Do you know that they support the maintenance of existing social ties and the formation of new connections, connecting with others outside their pre-existing social group or location, liberating them to form communities around shared interests? Do you know that the intensity and usage over online communities are reliable indicators of current trends among youth and psychological well-being and becoming a greater percentage of daily youth interactions?
Do you know that we just need to win them over through community youth development, Positive youth development, Student activism, Youth council, Youth court, Youth engagement, Youth leadership Youth-led media Youth movement, Youth participation, Youth philanthropy, Youth service, Youth suffrage, and Youth vote? Do you know that we must treat ourselves of Fear of youth (ephebiphobia)? Do you know that meaningful youth engagement is an inclusive, intentional, mutually-respectful partnership between youth and adults whereby power is shared, respective contributions are valued, and young people’s ideas, perspectives, skills and strengths are integrated into the design and delivery of programmes, strategies, policies, funding mechanisms and organizations that affect their lives and their communities? Do you know that the strategies to Support Youth Engagement include creating Youth Voice, Popular Education, Youth Participation, Adultism Awareness, Youth Involvement, Youth-Led Activism, Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership, Youth/Adult Partnerships, Youth Equity, Youth Mainstreaming, Youth Infusion, Youth Organizing, Service Learning, Project-Based Learning, Experiential Learning, Community Youth Development, Youth Social Entrepreneurship, and Activist Learning .Youths can play an active role in fostering peace by forming a new programmes of peace missionaries and NGOs to network at the grassroots, concentrating on value education and spiritual renewal among children.
In the area of ethnic development as we have in Nigeria, the youths of different ethnic groups can forge links between cultural minorities to share values, culture and tradition handed down from generation to generation through trade, marriage, cultural exchanges, communal dialogue and political sensitization. On the international scene, the youths can become peace ambassadors for their respective countries, promoting exchange programmes in education, culture, science and technology, sport, tourism and business in the pursuit of maintaining peace among diverse cultures. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Do you know that our schools should assist to channel the tendency of the youths to creative ventures so as to woo them from crime, drug addiction and prostitution.
Do you know that as we speak, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gun powder if the reality of frustration and hopelessness among the vast of Nigerian youths are not addressed by various schools in the country? Do you know that the private schools should be encouraged to reduce school fees to accommodate students from relatively poor homes? Do you know that the Government should assist to call all private Universities to order to stop competing to increase fees so as not to allow students from poor homes to have access to quality education? Do you know that we have to do this on time to avoid class-war in the future? Do you know that the Government needs to speak on women education to all private institutions to get the necessary gender balance? Do you know that all of us must not leave the children with special challenges alone to face the harsh reality of their lives? Do you know that we have to care for them, speak for them and get all of them into the safety net of our government?
Do you know that as the new session unfolds, we have to appreciate the President of Nigeria for all he stands for in education of the youths in this country? Do you know that we have to thump up for MrAdegboyega Oyetola, the Governor of the State of Osun for keeping the flag of education flying in the State of Osun? We enjoin all the other stake-holders to gird their loins to make this 2019/2020 session a huge success.We must promote excellence. Bogoalavakyinterludes:
“The aim of education is to make students to live rich and significant lives, develop colourful and harmonious personality, enjoy to the utmost the glory of being happy, accept suffering associated with dignity and profit and encourage other to live this superior life.”
Do you know that in this new session, we must celebrate innovation, music and sports and inculcate Kanu Nwankwo’s spirit? The voice of KanuNwankwo cuts in: So going by the background I come from, I am just a good example for the young people that working hard, sacrificing and putting in everything that you can put in will get you result not only in football but in everything,”.