By Nafisat Badmus
Power they say is responsibility. The task of managing any facet of human endeavour is desirous of the keen, careful, and sustained attitude of getting things done to in the long run, affect positively the lives of those whose wellbeing one is saddled with.
Power comes with a huge responsibility to think, act and decide right. It takes a combination of imbued moral, academic and sometimes religious discipline to paddle every affair successfully.
In times past especially few years post independence, the crop of leaders in the Nigerian state revolved round the Youthful population. The Youths with veritable leadership skills and attributes were saddled with the task of being in charge of the economy, trade and investment, foreign affairs, public service and other critical helms of state affairs. At the time, those appointed were lauded for their patriotism and sense of direction with which they paddled successfully, the tasks assigned to them.
In the last three decades however, the pendulum has swinged. The affairs of the most populous black nation are now handled by those of the older generation who by all indications, are not ready to leave power anytime soon.
For the latter part of the last decade, Nigerian Youths stood up to demand inclusion in leadership of the country. President Muhammadu Buhari 2019 signed into law the Not Too Young To Run bill. The law seeks to accommodate more people in government and allow them to be in the scheme of things.
Wait, are the Youths however ready for Leadership?
Are Nigerian Youths Ready To Take Up Governance?
Today in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Youths are of key and essential to make society grow more. But are the present-day Youths of the Federation ready to be, act and impact governance? Are they ready to rescue the country from the clutches of the “Old Men” who have been ruling the nation for more than 2 decades now? Are they capable of doing better than what we have been having even since democracy got into full swing in May 1999? These and more questions still beg for answers till today
How and which kind of these Youths can take up the job of governance in Nigeria? As institutions continue to grow weaker by the day, there needs to be a drastic change in making the institution of government-run faster and most importantly, cater for the yearnings of the people who put them in positions of power.
Are Nigerian Youths prepared to take up governance? When I asked a senior colleague this question, he simply burst into laughter saying “Hmmmmm, my brother let me tell you the truth, they are not.” I asked “why did you say that?” and he answered, “Our Youths are not capable, they cannot come into government, if they come now, they will bastardize everything, never will I vote for a Youth to be in government.”
“Look at Kogi for example where there is a governor that is less than 50, everybody is complaining. Even for Wike who is just in his 50s, people are still not convinced that a Youth is what we need now. See, I cannot vote for a Youth.”
The Nigerian Education System produces a chunk of not less than 10,000 graduates every year after their mandatory 1-year National Service. But the experience we hear about every day is so alarming. Some employers of these “Corpers” as called in Nigerian parlance complain that a university graduate cannot even write a simple complete sentence. Some are not even capable to fill a form correctly without aid.
These graduates are what we have now in our society. While those that can even write well lack the ideas of running even an association, some are not just fit for an ordinary class rep or monitor as it is called. The best business for Nigerian Youths nowadays is either Internet Fraud “Yahoo Yahoo” or Prostitution “Olosho”. These two areas are the most lucrative and easiest to get money in the country as we speak.
In clear terms, these areas are where the attention of the Nigerian Youth today is tilted. They want free money to survive and use expensive materials. If you ask some of them, their answers are “Eni to mo way lo mo we” meaning “Whoever has the money dictates the tune or deserves to be celebrated.”
Questions are about governance are not expected to be asked from people of this divide. Looking at the educated ones, few are the ones in this category that can administer a neighborhood or a state. All they want to know about is how can the “National Cake” is to be shared.
Studies carried out recently show that majority of Nigerian Youths seek immediate wealth and then do not want to walk their way up through the ladder of success. While a few manage their businesses well and become productive, they are not capable of handling the pressure of governance.
This is a problem of Moral Decadence and its Solution is simply Value Reorientation. When Youths are chosen to rise through the ranks, their ladder to success must be thoroughly scrutinized before handling the fate of millions of Nigerians in their hands. This is very imperative, crucial, and important to the survival of the country as the adage “Old Wine gets better with time” is no more working for the sustainability of Nigeria’s democracy.
Are we ready?
Nafisat is a 400-level student of the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, Osun State University, Ikire Campus.