Awakening a Sleeping Generation: A call to action
The situation in our society has entered such a state of perpetuity so as to appear normal. And yet in attempting to visualize a better ‘’ Tomorrow’’ we fail to contemplate the actions of today.It would not be an exaggeration to claim that we have reached a critical mass in this country. And that barring systemic and aggressive change on the part of the citizenry, entire generations will be left behind.
And by ‘’citizenry’’, I speak chiefly of the nation’s youth demographic; fairly distributed in all the Geo-political zones that make up the entity known as Nigeria. They can be found in all works of life, white collar, blue collar and corporate institutions for the privileged ones, engaged in mosques and churches for some, even in prisons both at home and in Diaspora.
Were this particular set of people to formally organize,demand and agitate for their rights; politically,socially,economically, not only would their collective bargaining power be enough to sway the conversation, but indeed it could ,if properly handled,change the current system in its entirety. Yet the docility and inaction that seems to be a defining characteristic of these same set of Nigerians leads one to question whether in fact they are aware of the gravity of the situation.
Nigerian Youth are in fact the most marginalized section of the society. They make up the majority of prisoners in our prison facilities, the victims of road traffic accidents, they make up the bulk of people that get killed whenever there is a riot in any part of the country, they are the ones paraded before newsmen for robbing banks, raping both minors and adults, they are the ones that get raped too, when a suicide bomber blows up him or herself in mosques and churches, they are the ones killed in large numbers. Indeed, the suicide bombers themselves fall into this demographic as well.
Hedonism and drug abuse has become the norm. The importance of education having not been expounded upon by most families,is lost on them. Having wasted the opportunity to obtain a wholesome education, they find themselves in a jobs market, saturated with under qualified individuals. A great many of them will succumb to criminal enterprise, if only to survive.
At the time this group of people were born, they grew up listening to musicians like Fela Kuti, Sunny Okosuns, Majek Fashek, Bob Marley, those of them that bothered to read would know about leaders like Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, Fidel Castro, Che Guavera, Muammar Gadhaffi some of them in their young age, stood up to authorities and challenged the injustice that prevailed at their time. Other still became said authorities themselves and others sacrificed themselves for what they believed to be the common good. Why then in our time have we become so docile, and nonchalant? How is it that we have fallen so precipitously from what would have been a lofty perch?
It was a certain Chambers Umezulike who wrote in 2015 how his father’s generation failed his generation, but it is sickening when you look at the Nigerian youth today and see how they’ve failed themselves and are yet positioned to fail the coming generation. Unlike Umezulike’s father’s generation that enjoyed the best of schools, had jobs waiting for them, rigged their ways into political offices, this generation have had no such luxuries.
Is this a curse, how then can it be broken? Is it a disease; is it infectious, what is the cure? Is it just a decision, how did we make the choice? A generation that didn’t see a lot of great men yet refuses to inquire as to why those great men have passed , a generation that refuses to ask questions even when they are being led to the gallows, a generation that keeps dancing, drinking, smoking and foolishly boasting about the things they will do without doing any, a generation that would rather pray than lift a finger, a generation that will eat French fries, but will not plant potatoes, a generation of empty heads, covered with expensive wigs, a generation that abuse and reject their very roots, and idolizes everything foreign.
A lot can has been said about this generation, yet only two things are certain, first, the generation has come of age; indeed many are now parents and second, death lies by the corner. If systematic change does not soon take hold, the future that awaits them and the coming generation is one of deep regression and upheaval.
It is therefore necessary for us to wake up from our collective slumber. Learn at the very least to say no, to ask questions and work to change the status quo. We have the advantage of number, strength and speed. Let’s quit sleeping, following sheepishly, waiting for God. Let’s work just as much as we pray. Recognize that education is not about passing exams but also to acquire knowledge and skill to make lives better. There is no law out there that says we must all be followers, prayer warriors and cannon fodders. We cannot fight the wars as soldiers and then not partake of its spoils. We cannot let our children blame us the way we have blamed our parents, we must all crawl out of our shells and start working towards a brighter future. The storm is coming and with it a generation that is looking up to us as their savior… The future we anticipate will require a lot of work, but we need to stand, take up position and brace up. Assuming this wasn’t clear before, it is now