“We are living in a Wasted Generation!”-Prof. Wole Soyinka. The Nigerian Youth are caught in between the unfortunate mix of the complexities that clog our Society! The first of these complexities, is the obvious non recognition of the Nigerian Youth to play a prominent role in governmental processes! You find for instance, a Political Party, making a 61-Year- Old Man, their National Youth Leader, which is akin to making a Man, National Woman Leader! There seems to be a deliberate policy in place ,to short change the Nigerian Youth and restrict them to pedestrian roles!There also lies the acquiescence of the Youth in accepting such second fiddle roles! As a Young Man, I read about the exploits of Femi Okunnu and Tayo Akpata of blessed memory’s doggedness in stopping the Anglo-Nigerian Defence pact under the auspices of the National Union of Nigerian Citizens (NUNS), during the regime of Tafawa Balewa . We also do not forget in a hurry , the boldness of Olusegun Maiyegun as then NANS ‘ President, in bring a check on the profligate Babangida Government! Also we remember, the courage of Ogaga Ifowodo,in leading the Anti-SAP Riots, otherwise known as Babangida Must Go, that was to be a foundation for the ouster in ignominy,of The Evil Genius!There is the case of Prof. Pat Utomi, being a Special Adviser to then President Shehu Shagari at the age of 24 and My Kin, from my maternal angle, Barr. Samson Ekhabafe (of blessed memory), being a Commissioner to then Governor Samuel Ogbemudia at 20,do not forget that General Yakubu Gowon, became our Head of State at 32! I have taken pains to recap the golden days of Nigerian Youth for a reasonable mind ,to juxtapose same with these days of some Student Union Leaders turning to political Contractors, and some youth turning to Yahoo Boys and Runs Girls.We also can not forget the practice of society that rewards brawl over brain, which is capable of breeding a gangster’s paradise! So, you will find that perhaps , the only Youth among President Buhari’s Mnisters, is the Minister of Youth and Sports! What a shame, that one of the Ministers,who was confirmed around the 80s by the then Senate Leader – Olusola Saraki, and was confirmed by Bukola Saraki (son to Olusola Saraki), as Senate President over 30 Years later! A travesty of justice on the Youth Population and the Youth stand idly and watch! What a shame! I was told that, I was the leader of tomorrow many years ago, today the same people are now telling me and my children that we are the Leaders of tomorrow! When governance is built on lies, nature will expose it! Nigerian Youth must rise up , demand and get more, from the Nigerian State! The days of restricting Youth to PAs and SAs,are over! The Youth Leadership starts today! We must rise up above our primordial instincts and stand on the path of truth and justice! I have once questioned the desirability of the white elephant NYSC, in a National Conference I attended and I had advocated that the money spent for some frivolous purposes in the Scheme, be given to the Youth Corpers as grants to start a business! You can not keep doing something the same way and expect a different result! The Youth are the bedrock of society! If they do not give us our tomorrow today, we have to take it by ourselves!
Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.