Many years ago, I remembered that a lot of youths chorused and danced to one of the popular matching songs every beautiful morning while matching from the assembly ground to their respective classes.
“Parent listen to your children, we are the leaders of tomorrow, try to pay our school fees,
and give us a sound education.”
We were full of life and were hoping to become the future leader of tomorrow. The assertion that youths are the future leader of tomorrow was ascertained and backed by the leader of yesterday and was made their popular catch-phrase. Unfortunately, many of them are still romancing and clinging to the ladder of power. Twenty-five years later, our parents had listened to us, paid our school fees, and gave us sound education but we are not close to been the leader when the future is dawn on us already. The education that ought to be an illuminating light has been bastardized, and it is not enough to equip us with the superhuman trait needed to be responsible followers and responsible leaders respectively.
The leaders of yesterday who promised to hand over the baton of power to us are still dictating and navigating our lives even though many of them are elbow to palm distance to their graves. Their children attended the best schools outside the shores of Nigeria and recycle their parents who are either willingly seeking active retirement or those that are retired by their health status. Even on a wheel chair, they still determine the life of us hale and hearty.
With a large number of unemployed Nigerian youths and multi-dimensional poverty that plagued the nation, youths who are supposed future leaders are now instrumental to vices that range from; Arm robbery, Ritual killing, Kidnapping, Terrorism, Election violence, and ballot box snatching amidst others. Corruptions abound in our land and the government is far from making any turning point in transforming the lives of the teeming populace. The government expects the change to be affected by bottom-up; unfortunately, water can only flow from head-down and not vice versa. Government business is booming in Nigeria and Africa entirely. All hell can be let loose to attain the juicy position. Youths are been employed for such activities with a token in their hands. They are been used to perpetuate the act by those that take away their life and destiny from them.
Education goes beyond the ability to read and write and it also amounts to nothing when it is void of wisdom. Our leaders intentionally breed youths who are versed in reading and spoken English but are vain and void of any iota of wisdom. Education is meant to broaden our horizon, expose our eyes to myriads opportunities, and nurture the greatest gift we are responsible for birthing to the world. It is the water that is supposed to water our flower to blossom, awakens the baby giant in us, and equip us with the necessary DNA of responsible leaders and citizens. Our school failed to do any of this for us and that explained why none of their children attend our local schools. We are programmed that schooling is a means of livelihood, we are told to go to school, get a good grade, and subsequently get a good job. Education failed to concentrate on what we can do and how best we can do it.
With a total of 170 universities in Nigeria, (43 federal universities, 48 state universities, and 79 private universities). According to a survey taken by almost 90,000 people, 47% of the country’s university graduates are unemployed in Africa’s largest economy. By some estimates, Nigeria tertiary education institutions produce up to 500,000 graduates every year and there are also Nigeria graduates who study abroad who come home to compete for jobs. Jobberman, a leading recruitment agency who carried out the above survey reiterate the new data as a sign of the “need for urgent actions on both public and private sector operators”.
Employers have however tagged Nigeria university graduates as unemployable since they are not equipped with right experience needed. They could not meet up with most job specifications, even though some job specifications are absurd and outrageous. This is however caused by the quality of education dished by our universities and overpopulation of admitted students. Some parents strive so hard to send their children to study abroad believing that it will provide them with sound education needed to be a better individual, independent, creative, value creator, and also provides an edge in a very competitive labor market. Major parastatals and organizations like CBN, NNPC, are fixed with some of these foreign graduates who are distinguishable academically amidst a pool of politicians’ children who their only merit is via recommendation.
According to Trading Economics, the unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 23.10 percent in the third quarter of 2018 from 22.70 percent in the second quarter of 2018, the unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 12.31 percent from 2006 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 23.10 percent in the third quarter of 2018 and a record low of 5.10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. (Source: National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria).
With the rapid increase in unemployment, only graduate with recommendations can secure employment leaving hundred thousand of others in limbo. The rate of depression in youths is on the increase because most youths are engulfed and drained by a midlife crisis. We strive so hard to see ourselves through university, hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel presumed to be a solace for all the burnt candles, all the sleepless nights and drinking of garri (cassava flakes) day and night, is even dark than where they are coming from. It was quite unfortunate that at 25, many youths could not define and give directions to their lives while Gen. Yakubu Gowon was already the military head of state of Nigeria. Youths are dining with mediocrity, all thanks to our leaders of yesterday who also double as the leader of today.
The government disempowered the youths by giving them a knowledge sustainably enough for reading and writing, cut their tongue, and also made them eat it in order not to ask for what is rightfully theirs. They successfully breed a lion in a way of chicken, a Dog with no teeth but can only bark sporadically behind the keypad of their phones. We are either a total coward or a sword in the hands of its wielder, used to perpetrate evil acts while their sons and daughters are in abroad waiting for their turn to be back and ruled over us. They are indeed the future followers of tomorrow while their children remain the future leader of tomorrow.
Average politicians in Nigeria believed that life should not be made comfortable for the masses thinking that they will lose grip of us and the power to compel us to where our mandate should be cast to. How cruel that is, I looked elsewhere and I see how life has been made easy for people without losing their grip. The rate at which youths now engage in suicide is alarming and everybody seems to turn blind eyes on it.
Every government parastatals and organizations are within their width and control, and some youths have decided that election is a waste of time since their votes would not be allowed to count at the end of the polling exercise. Youths are the future of every nation and they should be treated accordingly if we aspire for a greater future. Unfortunately, youths are treated with disdain, isolated from state affairs, and cut off from the opportunity to seek redress.
Religion and tribalism are tools employed by our leaders to swindle us and put us in disarray, we fight ourselves when we are supposed to be united and demand for a better life with a voice. Every other nation is moving from fundamental needs, we are making a mockery of this century and technology. We are still battling for the basic needs; Basic Education, Basic Health, Basic Infrastructure amidst others. When it seems like we are orientated on the needs to be united, our leader introduced “fear” as the next and new tool adopted to keep us mute while our rights and mandates are been trampled upon.
What good will fear do on a coward to kill while its victim is still alive. Our youths are reduced to online ranting and hide behind their keypads. As much as the youth’s desire to be the leader, they are not ready to make any sacrifice for it and there is a plan in pipeline to mute us forever disguising under hate speech. With death threat for an inciting and hate speech, youths are likely to be doomed.
Since the advent of democracy, Nigeria has not produced either a youth president or vice president. Nigeria is currently been ruled by a 73 years old resident and he is likely to be succeeded by another president within the age range. What future are youths the leader of? The one that we are experiencing already or the one that is yet to come?
It is obvious that there is no future and there is no leader except those that we have now, Youths in this country are however advised to stand up and be responsible for their life. Any Youth who truly desire an outstanding life should understand the real impact of education and start to look elsewhere. We should engage in all of the following and watch our lives turn to a worthy and outstanding one.
We should however, develop ourselves skillfully, be a solution provider, be creative and critical in our thinking, and therefore, watch the opportunity present itself someday.
BALOGUN MUHAMMED JAMIU is a content writer at The Young Leaders Council