In 1954, Nigeria became a federation made up of the northern, eastern and western regions, the federal territory of Lagos and the southern Cameroons.
In earlier days, the anniversary of our birth of freedom from colonization was widely observed and celebrated by energetic Nigerian young and old. While our Nigeria Nation was rejuvenating and growing, while her youth were building the pyramids and developing the institutions with their creativity, the art sculptures, we the present generation youth had the memory of the story that was told by our parent and history teachers that the earlier youth were the building pillars of the newly birth Nigeria Nation.
Recently, in Nigeria, an 82year old man was screened at the National House of Assembly for ambassadorial position. At the screening session, the old man was asked by Hon. member of the house to recite the Nigeria national anthem but the man declined to and he was asked to take a bow and leave…
Where are the youth when an 85year old man snatched our job? I must say the youths were sleeping and when they finally woke up from their slumber, the old man has taken over their job.
Change must come from the youth in the form of intellectual revolution what do I mean? This revolution must be peaceful, once attempted there is hope for a change. Unfortunately, this same spirit of building and growing the socio economic and political institution seems lacking.
A half century ago in Africa, particularly in Nigeria and earlier a school teacher was one of the most highly respected members of our community. Youth, who were subjected to physical discipline with a ruler, writing pen/pencil or a switch for the more severe infractions might expect the punishment to be ruthlessness duplicated by their parents if they learned of their shenanigans and rudeness at school.
At the earlier days, parents complimented the teacher, teacher taught the youth in the class room and parent re-enforced the lesson at home and for the love of teaching the ward, the teacher still go extra mile to inculcate discipline on the ward when they found the child at home or passing by at the ward’s environment and found him or her doing the wrong thing, the teacher will call the student, that he will be discipline in the school.
There was little intercession by parents who invariably upheld the teacher. Only in those cases where suspensions or expulsions were imminent would the parents seek to ease the lot of their ward.
If a youth misbehaved and was caught, he expected and generally received the punishment merited by the offence. If the teacher was a man, he would mete out the physical punishment. If the teacher was a woman, a trip to the principal’s or class teacher’s offices would bring the same result.
The high level discipline maintained a high degree of order in the classrooms, at home and the community at large. Community member excommunicated the bad child and reproached the family the youth came from. (Recently, in Benue State, a man was banished from Tiv community for sitting on the Tiv’ tool which was forbidden by the Tiv’s cuture; some say it amount to constitutional breach while others say no)
There was no fear of parent reprisal against the teacher for discipline their ward or a child calling FBI or RRS (Rapid Respond Squad) for prosecution, a teacher being dragged into court.
How things have changed in the intervening years! So-called do-gooders have resulted in changes in laws that virtually permit youth as they pleases, to do whatever they want in this 21st Century of era of permissiveness supported by laws that permit youth to own guns, sue their parents not to talk of teachers for discipline youth.
21st century era of change of permissiveness, is this word in itself a crime? The answer is emphatically No. How the freedom of permissiveness is used, is what count. Let youth change and use their freedom of permissiveness in engaging themselves constructively and influencing their society positively.
In Nigeria, we know of parent who used gun to threatened the life of a teacher
Youth do what they like, drinking, examination malpractice and bribery, prostituting, vile language used by students against their teachers, smoking, cultism, vote ballot snatching and perpetrates criminal activities which is rampant in various states of the nation.
A change of attitude must come from the youth. This is one place where a return to the “good old days” would be a blessing to our present generation and the future generation where the youths will be seen as vibrant, energetic, intelligent, resourceful with strong perspective of the happening around the world and economic, political, and socially fit to run the affairs of the country rather than allowing the 85year old hustle for youth’s job when they should be at ease and the youth making them proud economically, socially and politically.
But reversal is the case, the old man considered and believing that the present youth to be mentally and psychologically are inefficient, incompetent, not responsible and responsive, unprepared and unfit to take over the affairs and leadership mantle of the country.
It is my humble submission that youths must prove their worth in piloting the affairs of their nation and this worth comes from wanting freedom from every political, economic and social encumbrance.
Youths must show that they want freedom by showing motives of self-interest in the affairs of their nation; they must struggle against every political and economical establish barrier authority, encumbrances and barbaric customs in other to better their own positions or to gain freedom in order to express their self-interestedness in socio economic and political affairs of their nation.
Youth must express themselves from the desire for intellectual freedom. This may be conceived as a general demand for the right of everyone to freedom of thought and expression or as a particular demand made on behalf of a given class of intellectuals for their freedom as a class. Their case may be that society requires intellectual youths for the promotion of its values.
Youths must show that motives to remove the stigma that post as an obstacle towards achieving their goals and fulfilling their destiny.
Youths must also show the motive to participate; this is the desire to be free, to be an effective member of an effective group, to be a strong link ‘in a chain of larger purpose’. Election period is a moment of decisiveness; a time of firm decision and sincerity of purpose that voting for your conscience.
Freedom must be total because it the condition for the realization of all other values. Freedom is the most important value of society because captivity is a no go area. Freedom, it is needed for men and women to make their moral choices effective.
Youth Freedom means to put all their qualities of person and skills of body and mind to the right use.
I wonder how much longer it will take for our people to realize that youths are the future of the any nation. Is there no other way? Is there no other light in the darkness? I believe there is, and that the solution lies in a revival of the Nigerian youth’s spirit.
The future of Africa continent depends on the youth of today and it is therefore our duty to see to it that they are given the opportunity to become the kind of citizens we want them to be.
Bolaji Ogungbemi once quoted “I understand now that youth plays a vital role in our nation’s welfare; a sour youth is a sour nation and a healthy and sound youth is a healthy nation”.
A number of us had argued that the time for a new generation of leaders is needed to pilot the affairs of Africa nations.
Youth must be intelligent, very strategic and focus.
If you want the writer to facilitate in a seminar, handle youth empowerment programme, take up any available job in NGO or youth organisation and render legal service for you please contact him through the following:
Bolaji Ogungbemi, Esq
Legal Practitioner and Consultant