Dear Nigerian youths, I sincerely appreciate all our efforts toward nation building. It’s no longer news that the 2023 election is almost nine months ahead of us. Millions of Nigerians are going to be exercising their franchise of electing their leaders who will be saddled with the affairs of our great nation for the next four years. But permit me to just draw our attention to something that will build and reshape the destiny of our giant country.
In Nigeria today, there are over 118 million people under the age of 25 years. This depicts that the youth constitute a greater part of the nation’s population hence powerful and influential; and can be considered as one of the main factors of nation-building. If we should form a country, the country will be the 12th largest in the world; smaller than Japan, but larger than Mexico or the Philippines. The future of our dear country, therefore, rests on us.
But in times past and now, we have sadly been the tool used by political actors to achieve their selfish interests. Whenever it’s time for election, they usually come to us with vain and unachievable promises to entice us to get power. Traditionally, some of us are used as thugs or bandits against their opponents.
However, as the story goes, our fate is dashed once they assume power. We become rejected, dejected, frustrated and cast away. We begin to bleat about underdevelopment, unemployment, insecurity and other social vices and maladies that pervade the society. They totally forget that we made them who they are.
Permit me to say this, the problem of Nigeria is not corruption, bad governance, insecurity etc. endless as the list seems. The problem is our youth. We have failed to realise and understand how powerful we are in a country of over 200 million people with more than 70 per cent of its population as youths.
These politicians, because of their failed promises and maladministration, some people have suggested that we lead a subversive radical revolution that will return power to us and bring about a definite change. But I think it won’t work because if the oppressors are evicted, there is an heir to take the baton.
Also, these politicians will lead our dear youths on the basis of divide and rule by creating extremist groups to cause enmity among them so as to embezzle public funds. Indeed, in areas of employment or political office appointment, they select their empty-headed children for different lucrative positions and leave the poor to live and die in abject poverty.
Division, tribalism, ethnicity, religious bigotries and other sorts are so prominent amongst us and they won’t solve our problem. Forgetting that a house that is divided against itself cannot stand is quite dangerous. If we truly want to lead a revolution then we must engage actively the power of the mind. We all must possess one mind, which includes one voice and one language. It’s a great asset for our personal development and Nigeria at large.
In conclusion, let us engage the power of one mind and go to the polling unit united and stronger to elect those who will represent us in government. If we can do this, nothing can stop us from being the conquerors. Let us be involved in nation building and become the real influencers of power. We are not lazy Nigerian youths but active youths. Together we can make Nigeria a better place.
Dganseh Nukah, Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri.