Without any iota of doubt, this topic is germane to the current political, social, and economic developments in Nigeria as she is searching for ways and means to salvage her systems in the quagmire she plunged herself owing to past bad or ineffective leadership.
By the way, who are the youths and which areas can they function well in society or government? Are they tomorrow’s leaders or today’s?
Youths, according to the New Lexicon Dictionary of the English Language(Encyclopedic Edition) ”is the state or quality of being young; the period from childhood to maturity”. Youths can function well in the home they come from, while in school, as an apprentice under a master, in his environment, churches, mosques, and in the government. Youths have their parts to play in all the institutions mentioned above and more. But the question is whether they are performing their roles or deferring to the future because of the usual saying ‘that they are leaders of tomorrow’.
Anyone who listens to the ranting of the ants will never get anywhere in life. There is no other tomorrow but today. Youths are leaders of today and not tomorrow; that tomorrow is TODAY. It is expedient to know that life cannot reward you more than the contribution you can make. What you make out of life depends on what you put into it. What necessitated your placement in life was a problem and when you depart the world, you are going to be remembered for two things: the problem you solved or the one you created. You are either solving or creating the problem. You cannot be a plus and still a minus. Your relevance as a youth is tied to the problem you solve. You don’t need to wait till tomorrow before you can solve a problem you can conveniently solve today.
The Nigeria I979 Constitution refers to youth as a person between the ages of 18-35. But what we find in Nigeria are Youth leaders of about 50 years old! Where are the youths below 50? The answer to this forms part of the problems facing the youths preventing them from taking their stand in Nation building. In a broader sense, youths are people who have the energy, vigour, and enthusiasm to get things done. It is a state of mind not a function of age; the quality of imagination, resolute in courage over timidity and undiluted appetite for progressive reasoning.
The leadership cadres in Nigeria are extremely saturated with aged politicians, technocrats who believe nation-building is their exclusive preserve and as such, youths should hold on until their demise to operate. But kudos to President Buhari who gave his consent to the ”not too young to run bill”, which has now become part of our law. This, however, does not portend the aged to be out of political or economic seats. Some are still vibrant but they should be in the background as counselors and watchdogs.
It is not only in politics that youths can prove their mettle. Economically and technologically they are vital instruments to make Nigeria great. The inventor of electricity Michael Faraday was a self-taught scientist, who without a degree in electrical/electronic engineering or a degree in Physics gave the world electricity. Faraday had no formal education but embraced self-education. What you need is what is within you. A mechanical engineering student should strive to develop a Piston or Radiator. When you start your project, sooner than later finance help will surface The same with chemical engineering and computing students Develop software or write better programmes for Nigeria and the world that will impact the people even at the grassroots.
Bill Gates as a teenager gave the world Microsoft and became the world’s richest. Michael Dell was also a student when he started DELL Computer and became the largest employer of labour and computer manufacturers. Ted Turner (owner of Cable News Network(CNN) ) never had a university degree. As youths, embrace and focus on what you are good at. Give training and re-training a chance and associate with like minds on positive things. Be consistent” A man is but a product of his thoughts” says Mahatma Gandhi. The energy and brightness of the minds of youths act as a torchbearer for national development. The time to do this is now and not tomorrow because there is no other tomorrow but TODAY. Kidnappings, ritual killings, armed robbery,vote-buying during elections, hooliganism, and many other obnoxious vices are termites of progress and not the solutions to our gargantuan challenges.
Finally, Youths must put God first in all they do, a life without God is in crisis. Ask God for direction and He will surely lead you. Work hard, pray hard, shun violence, and avoid evil associates. When you avoid all these vices, the sky is just the beginning. You will sooner than later be part of policy formulators and executors in your society.
By: Idowu Tunde