OUR YOUTH, OUR HOPE

Muminat Adekunle

Help our Youth the Truth to Know

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This is the prayer on my lips whenever I think about the young people of this great nation. They seem to have so much energy, so much passion, yet, this ball of zeal is hurled in the wrong direction. Crime, obscene music, pornography and all sorts of vices are rife. Is there any hope for these people to push our country forward? Aye. I shall scream from the depths of my lungs, aye! If there is hope, it is in the youth of this nation.

The panacea for Nigeria’s problems and the solution lies in her history. Once, we were a great people that flourished. Without doubt, the peak of our success was when the young had the reins of power. It was when the likes of Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Jaja Nwachukwu, Obafemi Awolowo amongst others kept the spirit of nationalism alive. Post-imdependence, Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Muhammad come alive in her hearts. Truly, this was a Nigeria I did not live to see but will kill to have. Then, this fireball of energy I earlier spoke of had a noble target. And it still can; if only we try.

The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics has it that about 80 million Nigerian youths are unemployed. 80 million youths I say! And I ask, why would crime rates not be high? Why would youths not reel out unprintable lyrics to make money? But it was not always like this. Things are this bad because the leaders-senile, sit-tight, selfish leaders if I might add- have failed us. With all authority, I say, that it is not the youth that have failed the system. It is the system that has failed us. We are young, creative, innovative. We just need to be pushed in the right direction. We are the only hope that this country has. The future lies in us for one day, we shall take over the reins and nudge-no, shove- this country back into its lost glory.

And this dream is already becoming reality. When I think of Oluwaseun Osewa, founder of Africa’s largest online forum, I smile. Here is a forum with more visits than wikipedia.There is hope. And then, Japheth Omojuwa, the social activist who has amassed such huge followership comes to mind. And I roar with laughter. Hope, I say. How can I not mention Dr. Ola Orekunrin, the vivacious lady who founded Nigeria’s first indigenous air ambulance? All of them im their early twenties when they achieved such feats! Who says there is no hope in the young people of Nigeria?
These people are not characters from a novel. They are real life examples of how rich we are in young people. We are the black gold Nigeria has refused to unearth and harness. Gradually, we are shedding the old skin of negative energy because we now recognise the power in us.

The internet is fast becoming the most powerful tool in the world. Today, Nigerians are one of the largest users of Facebook; we are fighting out battles with the internet; with social media. Through this, we are building a nation, a nation where peace and justice reign. The recently concluded Edo election is a good example. What about the 2015 generally election where the country was aflame with information? It is the youth, not old people who are the champions of this online battle. They say, the pen is mightier than the sword. But I say, the internet is stronger than both the pen and the sword. And that internet is in the hands of the youth. With this, shall we fight for our country, Nigeria. We shall serve our fatherland with love and strength and faith. 

Moreso, we need the right kind of education. Not the one that stuffs our head with theories that will never be put to use. Nor the one that ignores our own history but teases our minds with the postulations of foreign philosophers. No! It is the one we are embracing now, that outside the walls of a classroom, there is knowledge. It is this fresh entrepreneurship rave that is sweeping through the country. We now realise that it is not only formal education that can steer this country forward; everyone is learning something extra. We see females going into shoemaking, male hair stylists who can make hair better than females, computer programming is now the new hot cake. This is it. It is what the youth need to keep that idle hand busy; it is that extra something we have lacked since the white man came with his more ‘civilised’ education. We are finally going back to our roots when we produced goods for ourselves. It is only when we revisit this our glorious past and learn from it that we can truly move forward.

This is also why we should truly push for the reintroduction of History back into the curriculum of academic institutions in the country. I know of no great country that does not tell her people of her history. None! Now that the federal government is considering this, we should embrace it with arms wide-open, for in it lies our salvation. It is only when we know how our history was written with the blood of our forbearers can we truly appreciate the sacrifices. Then, we shall know that we not only need to make this country work. We must do so, regardless of the cost. When the youth know this, then we shall serve this country. And so the knowledge of our History will be our fuel to fly our country to heights never  before reached.

However, mere words cannot do wonders. The youth must be reawakened to take action before our own flames consume us. We have the tools but we are left alone like babes in the wood. We must learn and  uphold our national pledge. Only then can we truly unleash our inner passion to develop our motherland. May God help our youth the truth to know. Amen.

Muminat Adekunle

ONKOWE

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