The young shall grow, is a maxim we heard back in the days growing up in the 90s. It was a phrase filled with hope and wonder of the possibilities un-imagined in the nearest future we are going to meet.
Its interesting to note that, the crop of generation that grew up hearing that, are now parents, approaching mid life and are caught up in the tide of life that our parents where back then.
Amazing is it not? Its the circle of life.
While the circle of life is not my focus this morning, am bringing it to bear more on our Socio-Political Life as a nation.
Have we really grown as a nation? Have we the wherewithal, to think and decide assertively as individuals and as a collective group, this is the direction? I think not.
We have had infantile leadership with infantile followers ever since we returned to democracy in 1999. The Book of Ecclesiastics 10:16, “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child and when your [incompetent] officials and princes feast in the morning.”
That this country has been “ruled” by men who have refused to grow is not news in some quarters. But what is news is, what are the young ones doing about it? Nothing! Let’s break it down, we have been governed by the same set of people all along from independence till date, men shedding skins like snake to fit into each new dispensation. And they hold on to the power and the “cookie jar” like their lives depend on it. And surely it does. Its where they get validation and confidence.
And because we have this men, clogging up the ladder of leadership at the top, there is little room for new entrants on the scene. So what do we have, the upcoming young need to have to pay through their nose for a chance along the way to the top. And they are not really guaranteed of that, until they are willing to play ball with their sponsor and guarantor, here comes the godfather!
But if it was only that, then we would know that the youths, the young are at least aspiring to hit the top, but NO! Its not! We have youths that are so complacent with what is going on, forgetting that what is at stake is not them, but the very future of our nation, our kids, our families! And there is no exception to this!
The young have turned themselves into instrument of oppression in some quarters, spite in other areas, confusion in places and football stadiums in general.
We have refused to grow into leadership positions and take on responsibility that will bring out the creativity in us, that can be applied to solve the problems plaguing us in our nation. Seems we have forgotten that, Obafemi Awolowo, who died 30 years ago, entered into the Political Leadership space of our nation in his 30s and the same applies to Nnamdi Azikwe, Tafawa Balewa and the crop of their generation that have passed on yonder.
Perhaps, if we think, it was easy during their time, what have you to say of Emmanuel Macron, 39 year old President-elect of France, despite all the odds against him. Oh its a sane country with systems and structures you say, cut the crap! They built that city on the toils and sacrifices of men, who from their youth labored to ensure they have an egalitarian society that would benefit, not only their children, but the world at large. They thought of the future and worked towards it continuously till now. The same applies to Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who was elected at the age of 43.
These are countries, whose youth, the young are growing up and filling up positions in leadership and providing solutions to their country and moving their countries forward. But what have we in Nigeria, we are content to sit in front of our TVs and watch the latest series, dance and sing to the latest songs, watch a football match, criticize the government in the comfort of our homes, offices, cars and fold hands and say nothing is working.
Of course, nothing is going to work! When we don’t think of our collective future as a nation! When we don’t think of the future of our children in another 20-30 years! When we think only of what gets to our table at that point in time and not how we can sustain it for a generation to come!
Until we understand that, we are first and foremost Nigerians before we are Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, Ibo, Ijaw, Nupe, we will never grow! We must take off the cap of ethnic sentiments in our dealings with one another if we want to grow and advance this nation forward! Ethnic and tribal lens is a myopic way of solving the issues plaguing our country. And apart from it been myopic, its what essentially breeds the corrupt way of life that has now become the norm for us and we have become like Pigs in a pigsty that rolls in its messy mess.
And not only on the tribal level do we need to grow, on the religious level as well. Karl Marx was write when he said, “Religion is the opium of the masses”. Religion has done more harm than good to this nation. The so called “men of god” are “men of war and deceit” who care only about the lining of their pockets than the souls of their followers. Am sure, when judgement will come, the most wanted would be these men of god and their numerous deluded followers who think with their feet and stomach and not their brain. Have you ever wondered, despite the proliferation of places of worship, the Nigerian crisis seems to go from bad to worse?
We must outgrow, the infantile tendencies and behaviors that weighs us down and prevent us from growing. A 3 year old child still taking breast milk will call for concern. And a 10 year old still crawling on the floor like a 9 month old babe is a cause for alarm. So also must we strike the emergency bell in our nation.
Its high time we grow up, take the bull by the horn, and chart the future of this country. We must be able to call to order our so-called leaders. We must be able to elect credible men and women into position of leadership. We do not want rulers but leaders! The time for prayers is far gone! Get up from your bed and take a stand for your future! The future of your family! Am reminded of this song of Late Sonny Okosun,””Stand up for your country/Victory on your mind/Family at your side/Tools in your hand . . . Wake up from your slumber/Put on your clothes/Put on your shoes/Don’t be a drag.” We must stand up for our Nation, ,where ever we are, where ever we may be. We must grow up and take a stand and declare, Nigeria is my country! No to disguised democratic dictatorship in any form! Be it at the National Assembly, Presidency, Judiciary, State, Local Government.
“GOD, give We are the men! A time like this demands! Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands; We whom the lust of office does not kill; We whom the spoils of office can not buy; We who possess opinions and a will; We who have honor; We who will not lie; We who can stand before a demagogue! And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking! We are tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog ,In public duty, and in private thinking… ” (Modified Version of Josiah Gilbert Holland Poem God Give Us Men).
We are a people, of one hope, one God, one Nation, one Nigeria. We are NIGERIANS!!!