There is one very powerful fact that many of us don’t seem to give much cognizance; that fact is that all governments in Nigeria’s history were brought to power by young people of between the ages of 15 and 35 .
Young Nigerians have played powerfully at the round-table of political power over the last sixty years , the youths have acted as coup plotters to seize power , acted as thugs for politicians who steal the people’s votes , the power of youth votes have also swept the good, the bad and the ugly into positions of authority. Our young girls have been warming the beds of both political jingoists and those engaged political jihad all through the years , the youth constituency of today also have a ready army of the Unemployed & Dangerous (AU&D) to do anything as may be directed by those who understands it potency. The Nigerian youth poses all the tools for political success and genuine transformation and so does it also poses all the excuses for defeat and failure.
The youth constituency boasts of 70 percent of the population and clearly has the brightest minds on the continent . Many have wondered why such a massive resource base has not been able to organize itself effectively for sustainable nation building. Some Leaders have attributed the failures to unpreparedness, some have attributed it to poverty and the struggle to survive . Some others never agree any excuse is good enough, they have called the Nigerian youth the ‘disgrace’ of a nation. I met Dr Sam Amadi through a very dear friend, a young lady who by every means is one of the most genuine advocates of early investments in youth development, a truly passionate lady called Bella Ndubusi. Bella had introduced me as a youth leader making some decent effort to harness the potential of Nigerian youths for nation building. While Dr Amadi was very polite to me as we discussed the numerous issues with the youth constituency, he didn’t mince words about the failure of Nigerian youths to help fast track Nigeria’s growth with its population and potency. He seemed rather appalled by the ease at which the youths are misguided by money or the hope of some advantage . While he tried to encourage me to keep the fire burning, his body language didn’t show much hope for Africa’s most potent but sleeping force.
The Nigeria youth must share a big part of the responsibility for all that is wrong with this country . How can we explain the inability of the youth constituency to rescue Nigeria with all the powers at its disposal despite the fact that it is the hardest hit by the rot in our political, economic and social system? There is enough evidence in world to show that every nation eats from what its youth constituency cooks. If it cooks right, the nation eats right and when it cooks unpalatable food , the nation eats unpalatable meals.
Despite the short comings of The Nigerian youths to properly organize and design a selfless vision , the Nigerian youths still have all it takes to re-invent Nigeria. I see it , I feel it and I am in no doubt about what will happen eventually . Nigerian youths will rise to the occasion in no distant time. There is a fire coming , a new time is approaching , new interests are aligning , the bells of true reformers are already chiming in the youth constituency. All those who take the youths for granted will have a lot to regret in the new coming order. What we need is a new big thinking, a will of steel, very high perseverance coefficient, competence, dedication and a thick political skin and some real shock absorbers.
The Nigerian youths must abandon the illusive search for saints to take political leadership, no one is going to drop from heaven .What Nigerian youths needs is a new leadership that has discovered the power of selfless service and glory that comes with its administration. The Nigerian youths must define a new time. Now is the time to lift our country from the depth of cynicism , mediocrity and despair. It is time to close the doors of shame, want and smallness of thoughts. These are times for big ideas and big commitments , it is the time for big decisions and sacrifices that will shape the destinies of generations of Nigerians to come.
Dear Nigerian Youths ,there is no better time to ensure our political leadership make unprecedented investments in the education of our children to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Now is the time to push our government to invest massively in research & innovation that will break new grounds the world can be grateful for in technology, green energy, health care & economics.
Now is the time to see the Dangotes , Otedolas and Adenugas establish the largest and most modern research centers in the world here at home to help prepare Africa for the knowledge wars to come.
The time has come to begin the fight against corruption from within our homes and offices before we point fingers at thieves outside our comfort zones.
Now is the time to reconnect ourselves to the power of selflessness and foresight and rid our communities of hate, acrimony and all forms of self deceits that has held our progress back all these years .
Now is the time to fuse the energies of all ethnic nations within our country to show the world that Nigeria is ready to lead Africa to a new time of collective responsibility and prosperity .
The time has come for the Nigerian youths to open a new page in this country’s history and usher in a new era of good , competent and responsive leadership that connects itself to the aspirations of its people .
Nigerian youths , this is our time . Let us embrace it with vigor and unyielding faith.
Lai Labode is the Chairman of PDP Youth Circuit. Tweets @lailabode