By Sulaiman Badamasi (Mahir)
- Paraphrasing my speech, “Nigeria my country: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” delivered on 1st October, 2014 at International University of East Africa, Kampala Uganda.
There were two colonies which were colonised and merged by colonial masters, in an act which is referred to as: “amalgamation”. They welcomed the togetherness, did away with differences and became strong. These are the north and southern parts of Nigeria.
It was in 1914, when the north and the south coalesced under the influence of British colonial masters who by then, found both regions impregnated with monumental resources that can help the conjugated regions to grow; the south was found with vast natural resources while the north was perceived as a fertile farmland which, since before then, used to be an international exporter of groundnut, millet and few other farm produce to the Arab countries and later to Britain. The peaceful amalgam, using the north’s farm wealth was able to exploit petroleum which is a virtue hidden under the soil of the south. But today, the north was discovered with oil and the south produces farm products too. Is that not an added strength?
While the word “amalgamation” means the act of mixing between two different things, it fully described the marriage between the two parts of Nigeria. Though they were different but later merged together, they lived in peace, harmony, love, unity with patriotism. And while we find ourselves together as Nigerians, who are supposed to follow the footsteps of our ancestors, we differ and promote the difference, we promote hatred, disharmony and disunity, and we are unpatriotic – (pardon me to say it this way). What is the problem?
The country is often referred to as the “giant of Africa” due to its large population and economy. With approximately 174 million inhabitants (the CIA world fact), it is the seventh most populous country in the world, the most populous African nation, the largest black nation, second largest Muslim nation in the world and fifth oil net exporter in the world (The world fact book). Annexing to the above, the country is earthshakingly blessed with Brobdingnagian human resource, and is one of the countries that have highest number of youth.
The blessed Nigeria is one of the most enormously blessed nations. There is hardly a natural resource that exists in the world which is not available in the country. In other words, there is hardly a resource which a country uses as a source of sustenance which is not present there. Nigeria is having many different resources each of which you may find a whole country depending on, yet many of them are more developed than Nigeria. Other countries have no single one (e.g; Japan, South Korea, Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, Belgium, Switzerland and Taiwan) yet they are more developed than Nigeria and are one of the most developed in the world. What is the problem?
The youths’ momentous weightiness
However, the history of Nigeria remains forever deficient without making mention of its youth’s tectonic philanthropy. The past patriotic youth in whose time there was unity, through which the country attained strength. Those people were able to achieve the historic goals while still in their 20s and 30s. The youths of today, who are in the same age bracket are rarely seen holding strategic positions in governments or making any impact on the country’s national affairs.
Nigeria’s independence and that of the whole Africa was fought for by the youths, in their 20s, 30s and rarely 40s. Those youths of the said age held the positions that today are only being held by those who are in 50s and 60s. Thus, now days we have the youths who are in their 50s and 60s. Is that not an irony?
Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who was born in 1912, became the colony’s member house of assembly in 1946 (at 34 years), legislator in 1947 (at 35), minister of works in 1952 (at 40) and chief minister in 1957 (at 45).
Honourable Jaja Anucha Wachuku was born in 1918, involved in the struggle for Nigeria’s independence in 1944 (at 26 years of age), legal and constitutional adviser to the national council of Nigeria and Cameroun in 1947 (at 29 years), speaker of the house of representatives in 1959 (at 41 years), ambassador to the United Nations in 1960 (at 42 years) and minister of foreign affairs and commonwealth relation in 1961 (at 43 years).
Chief Obafemi Awolowo was born in 1909, he became an advocate, an activist and an revivalist of Egbe Omo Oduduwa in 1947 (at 38 years) and founded the, the long lasting Nigerian news paper, Nigerian tribune in 1949 (at 40 years).
The above figures are randomly selected out of our past heroes in order to depict how youth they were when they broke a number of ever-memorable records. This should raise a question; what is really the difference between the youths of today and those of yesterday?
However, there are two ingredients that can help us understand the difference between the youths of yesterday and those of today, these ingredients are; ’exposure’ and ’commitment’. These at the same time, are the features needed in order for youths to be seen as great ones.
The youths of yesterday, though not as exposed, informed and knowledgeable as we are, were committed, engaged and sacrificing. Because they are patriotic, they possessed the aforementioned features, became united and attained strength. And the youths of today though have the qualities attributed to them above, are not united and could still not make any impact because they are unpatriotic, non engaged, non committed and non sacrificing. Where does the problem originate from?
Since the youths’ weightiness could lead to fighting for the country’s independence, there contribution remained evidently momentous. The only thing that we are left with is to trace the root of today’s youths’ failure.
To my opinion, the problem with the youths of today is that; we are unpatriotic because we are not trained to be, we are not united because we are trained no to be and we are not committed because we are not required to be. We do not hold offices and not given responsibilities to deliver because the slots which are meant for us, the real youths are still occupied by the pseudo-youths who have deliberately refused to grow because of selfishness, self-centredness and greediness.
From the youth’s side, it is an increasing over-reluctance and over-dependence on the, waiting for her to provide everything. While the youth of yesterday became the ones on whose shoulder the government depended, the youth of today remain the ones depending on the government.
Therefore, it is high time we wake up to actualise our momentous weightiness and do away with laziness, dependence, hatred, disunity, and unpatriotic segregation whose torment we are sinking in. Let us strive for a true independence rather than ill-dependence.
United we stand, Divided we fall!!!
God bless Nigeria!!!