May 12, 2014
By Ayokunle Adeleye
I have since heard many a youth lament about how our grandfathers
continue to ruin the country in the name of ruling it, about how the
rulers of yesteryears are yet the leaders of tomorrow, about how these
grandfathers themselves were youths when they set out but now detest
our youth and our entitlement, about how the affairs of the youth are
left for our gramps (and grannies) to ru(i)n.
I had therefore asserted that anyone older than the republic Nigeria
has no business whatsoever ruling in whatever capacity, that we, the
youth of this country, have had enough of them, that they have failed
to solve even issues that their wantonness created lest we talk of the
challenges of our time, that they have over-stayed their (stolen)
welcome being antiquated and obsolete in all their ways.
I had therefore urged that we break forth, start our own businesses,
but realise limits, and stay safe. But I have also seen how that is
not the reason we are where we are (poor, jobless and thronging
ourselves to death; Boko Haram joblessly working on our National
security, sovereignty, and sanity; and the Government dutifully
procrastinating, denying, and politicking), how we indeed break forth
and set limits (that we do not court save conquer), how we are easily
quietened, silenced, satiated; for we quickly lose focus, loose grip
and, in not minding our business, place it in loos.
For it is no longer news that to survive in the days and weeks and
months to come one must break forth and start his own business, set
boundaries and realise those limits (as) set, and mind one’s business.
That we must shift gaze from the ambitious, ambiguous, Agenda we are
asked to look unto, and look within. That we must hold our destinies
in our hands and defend our sovereignty, security and sanity. That
hope comest not from the Centre, not from the House, not from the
Court, not even from the Rock – the only water in this wilderness is
Mara and Moses is yet in Sambisa to bring back our girls.
Hope comest from within us, and is ours forever. It is held in our
arms, held by our hands, close to our hearts. Unlike us, it is not
threatened by Boko Haram, it is not starved by the incredibly high
cost of living, it is not shut without to live on, and off, the
streets, it is not clothed in rags and fades, it is not denied
admission by JAMB nor is its stay in the institutions lenghtened
indefinitely by Unions’ strikes. And it is no longer subsidized by
SURE-P nor paralysed by paralytic PHCN, or whatever it is now called
(even Airtel has stopped changing names; for by their changing names
ye shalt know them).
Our hope is sure, factual, fastidious, and forever so; and cannot be
denied or taken away as usual. It is not attached to the politician
and his cronies. It is not injured by the utterances of the Dame. It
is not misguided by the calculations and political correctness of His
Excellency. It cannot be kidnapped by blood-sharing insurgents, it
does not require rescue by American Forces, and it is never bothered
by whether there is God o, or not.
Our hope is our ingenuity, it is our industry, it is our business;
after all, there is God o, He is for us, and we Nigerian youths are an
I have since realised that youth can be turned to advantage, that
things are easier when one is young (contrary to popular opinion and
everyday observation); that when one is young, the ‘whole world’
typically rallies around to help, advice is easier to get and
experience, to garner, and the ancient argumentum ad misericordiam
holds sway. Ironically, that is when one is interested in camaraderie,
looking-good, feeling-fly, wasteful spending; rather than in
investments, digging-deep, taking-root, securing assets (land
other/more than cars).
I have since discovered that youth is when many a potential is wasted,
that youth is many a potential wasted, that there is more to life than
potential; that, to succeed, the one with potential must invariably
mind his own business, however young he may be.
If only the youth of this country had woken long before now, if only
we had not allowed ourselves to be thugs in those election violence we
haD to be part of because our (literal) grandfathers still wallow in
politics and will not just dive in and be swallow for the fish, if
only we did not oblige when they’d rather we wore life vests – riddled
with the holes of their mischief – and dived in to save their sinking,
stinking, political careers, if only we had stayed true to our vision
of leading this potent nation to actualising her potential in
tomorrow’s greatness, if only we had faced our business of investing,
of acquiring, of replacing, of succeeding…
…Then many a youth will not be jobless, frustrated, or thronged to
death, then Boko Haram will not be within our boundaries, then our
gramps and grannies will be in the Homes and not the Villas and
Lodges, then Nigeria will overtake and take over.
And it can yet be…
If we will choose our own path and be stuck to it, if we will outline
our journey and set out in earnest, if we will not allow ourselves to
be distracted, if we will decide in our youth what to do and stay true
to it, if we will displace and replace – rather than ally and align
with – those who set our country still to draw her back; then will we
surge forward and reclaim our place among the nations.
As is said, when the bush rat ages, it suckles at her offsprings’
breasts. Nigeria is of age, and it is high time we nurtured her, it is
high time we stood up for her, it is high time we chased away those
who exploit her, who devastate her, who strangle her.
We must start (to mind) our business and help each other up.
It is our business is to save Nigeria.