No! The Youths Are Not Cowards, by Steven Atogi

July 21, 2014


by Steven Atogi

They travelled through mother Africa’s womb and were birthed after nine months, in a time of economic turmoil. A time where those who had free education made education inaccessible to all citizens, rather a privilege patronized by the affluent only. This is an era were government is a private enterprise of the politicians. Public properties and companies are all in comatose or badly run, were the only counsel of the political ruler is to sell it to his cronies and tag it ‘Privatization Policy’. Putting forth the argument that it could be better run by private capitalist companies. Even as the public servant can’t make a public company work, he or she won’t resign.

These avaricious breeds of rulers feed fat on the peoples patrimony and bequeath the vast number with abject lack. Private jets, parties and champagne are luxuries they exhibit while the ruled mourn for a loaf of bread to bite for stomach sake. The definition of government and governance is turned upside down in this part of the world.
Democracy is now government of the elites, for the elites and by the elites. Policies smile at the capitalist who owes the politician 10% while it frown at the populace of teeming Nigerians.

The politicians are polarizing to distract the deprived masses while they loot freely. Peoples opinion are judged by their religious affiliations. All the crowd roar is ethnic jingoism than national concern, all credited to the politician. A huge dichotomy between the folks, these folks once lived in harmony. It is certainly not to the advantage of the individual or the nation, in this case of divide and rule syndrome. The bigotry exhibited in all parastatals is purely unhealthy to the survival of the nation. In a situation where A and B submitted curriculum vitae(C.V) for employment; A has the right qualification with experience but from the wrong ethnic group, while B does not have the requisite qualification with no experience but from the right ethnic group and therefore got employed. The damage is that, A goes home, a broken man by the system, while B throws a lavish party in celebration of his new job and later wreck the job. It is the society that will suffer the mediocrity of B and harbour embittered A. This is why public enterprises doesn’t work efficiently and the inept rulers(managers) proposes privatization subsequently.

The society is filled with a lot of capable patriots but with demoralized spirit. The worst is that there is no change in governance; once upon a time khakimen now in babanriga parading as democrats, godfatherism is embedded in the political structures, feudal and ethnic oligarchy permanent interest of dominance over the seat of power, inept stooge are imposed on the people. All sorts of political and administrative retrogressive measures in play in the Nigerian polity, doing more harm to society than good. The same elements who for decades barely made an impart to development are still the ones in the corridors of power, to protect their selfish interest. These archaic elements had posed impediment against the youths. They ascended to power as youths and because they want to remain there till grave call, they constructed a contradictory and malicious constitution that suppress the people, especially the youths. In one chapter, they quote that one must be up to age 50 to be eligible to contest for the seat of power. And in another chapter, they quote that one whom has attained the age of 18 is eligible to vote and be voted for. What a cruel sarcasm!

In the school system, at the university level particularly, the lecturers whom were supposed to be the custodian of knowledge avert from such and pollute society. When the British introduced Western education to Nigeria, they never demanded ‘sorting’ simply translated as ‘bribe to award marks’. They never harrased nor victimized the females of the students. They never forced students to buy textbooks with their stipends when government is supposed to pay for it or even supposedly paying for it. In fact, the lecturers in this era imposed their personal publications on the students to buy as compulsory or else they fail their course. The government(federal and state) institutions are badly run by people who claimed to acquire all the big degrees but without knowledge and wisdom, little wonder they purchased the degrees to ascend to top positions. The tuitions are increased annually. It amazes one as if these government institutions are ‘public-private universities’ increasing tuition and calling it ‘internally generated revenue’ of which they do not remit to government. Bursary payment is a dream never come true for students, as they owe the students’ bursary till they graduate. Government pay this set of lecturers to supervised examinations for degree awarding yet they frustrate graduates with countless payments. Barely little can be said today, if these once glorified public institutions are managed extraordinarily as it was by the British officials and missionaries.

The youths are not cowards. They are simply withdrawn from a society which posed hazard in all terrain. The youths have strength but are polarized by the rulers of the nation. The youths wants to succeed but are paralysed by perilous policies by ‘the powers that be’ which are the misrulers. The youths are told to be conscious of their ethnic identity than national identity, but on the contrary was their initial obligation. The rulers(misrulers and woe bringers) wants the youths to worship them in their demi-god corrupt selves than take concern for nationhood,unity and development. The youths are starved the truth, for this, most wallow in ignorance. Each youth in the street desire to be successful, atleast to afford basic amenities that ensures healthy living but the vampire ‘woe bringers’ policies makes limitations which exalt frustration inevitably. The youths wants to answer the national call but are demoralized, frustrated, hungry and contemplating due to limited trust for the calling voice. But in all, the youths have vision, that is why they keep struggling, hoping, praying to survive. The youths creep to personal victories borne in determination and perseverance in their endeavors.

If the society has no place for the youths, the youths must find a place or create one genuine enough for themselves. This is why they must be their brother’s keeper. They must overlook ethnic lines and political affiliations, because it is not merely a struggle for bread today to contain stomach-ache but for the survival of the future. To create a serene environment for posterity. Presently, the newborn babies are threatened with infant mortality in the Nigerian clime. 90% of the population can not afford the luxury of flying abroad to deliver their child in the best hospital with excellent maternal care services. It is a luxury that only the self-centred elites whom are oblivious of the populace predicaments can afford. Therefore, the youths must not sit on the fence and wait to be sympathized while posterity is in imminent danger. The youths must make a better society for the survival of the unborn generation, since the rulers of the day has failed foefully in doing so. If the youths fail to stand up for equity, fairness, justice, unity and national development against mediocrity and biasness then posterity fail, because a worst generation will come into existence. It is pertinent to note that, it is the failures of past generations that the present is suffering, so the youths of this present generation must strive to build fair national structures, guarded excellently and jealously for a better future. It is imperative that all youths wear the spirit of patriotism and national consciousness, build within self a lifestyle of morals and stay focus despite the vicissitudes of life torrential waves. This, the youths should oblige to, acknowledging the supremacy of the creator. Fearing the divine creator will be the beginning of wisdom for a destined youth who will do exploits. With a foundation of the latter, the ‘woe bringers’ political brigands can not delude a youth with extraordinary virtues- it is a win for posterity sanity and sensitivity. I know, the youths are not cowards, no, they are not. Therefore, stand for what is right and not what the politician told you is right.

Steven Atogi
(Acting C.G,PDVM)