Nigerian Youths, What Are Our Sins? By Mayowa Okekale
As I added another year recently, I brooded over a number of seemingly insurmountable issues in life, sorry, in Nigeria. Yes! My inner man responded to stimuli and feels I should reflect on the dissilusioned present time and what the future holds for the Nigerian youths. Some of the thinking which navigated through my heart was very disturbing, but I still treated and analysed them. So I think we must begin to ask ourselves: “What is next after our graduation in higher institution?”. How do we start a new life in the uncharted territory? What does this country, Nigeria, has for us? Any provision? As members of a particular society in the country, will we still not join the league of those scrambling for job opportunities? Who will help us? These were the thought that pervaded my mind.
Certainly, I know we must have not forgotten the gloomy Immigration recruitment exercise put together by the Ministry of Interior, that killed many of our poor ‘classmates’; the death of over 30 youths across the nation is worth weeping about. Having heard this news, I became suddenly sympathetic with the incident’s vulnerability. And this news tells me that these leaders are not only killing our youths, but also our unborn children as I learnt our 3 pregnant women were also stampeded and killed in the shameful Aptitude Test. Of course, It does not end there.
Actually, I don’t know the figure of our youths who applied for the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) job, but we know the number of our dear youths that have ‘migrated’ to the world beyond, mainly because of Aptitude test meant to absorb 3,000 candidates. We know the number of the teeming youths that have been extorted and killed in the course of job seeking process which would not absorb them. Yes! They made them wasted their time and efforts, running after unseen and ‘Job in abstract’.
Moreover, the import of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan speech, while inaugurating the National Conference, two days after, tells more on the leadership’s take and reaction towards national mourning issue of such. President Jonathan said, “Just as we were preparing for this confab, a tragic incident happened on Saturday; I don’t want to bore you with details, but we are investigating the incident. Let us observe a minute silence for them”. Though the President announced to observe a minute silence for the passage of our youths, it was not up to 30 seconds, sorry, what am I even saying, 18 seconds, before the selected delegates and participants sat themselves down. There was no feeling of remorse; no sense of attrition. Too bad! Permit me to ask again, what is the meaning and function of the word ‘investigating’ as used in that context? Will the investigation wake our dead youths. Will it resuscitate those of them in coma?
What do these people mean? To me, they felt they have not gathered to discuss issue of Nigerian youths, but National Cake which they have tagged National Conference. Anyway, this is not where I’m going. In a strict sense, I don’t know if I had concluded on a very rational thought when the words of John F. Kennedy flashed through my mind: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. Kennedy was talking to the Americans and not Nigerians. Definitely, the country is supposed to set the pace. The mother takes care of her daughter and fends for her while passing through formative stages in life. And at a time, the daughter would grow and make her mother enjoy the fruits of her labour. This is my view.
Practically, I threw this poser at some friend of mine; “What can you do for this country?”, and he replied, saying that he has to sit down and think about it. He added: ” This is a difficult question I cannot answer for now and it is not what I can decide on headlong”. And we laughed. I asked another friend same question. She replied by first asking me another question: “What has the country done for me? At least, if I must help the country in anyway, there are some ways in which the country must have first helped me”. I gave these explanations some thoughts and fully concurred.
As it is now, can you do anything for a country that is not sending you to good schools? Can you do anything for a country that all she teaches you is corruption, embezzlement of funds? What can you do for a country that does not believe in your dreams and aspirations? Can you do anything for a country that is killing the youths every day, instead of providing employments and commendable standard of living? What can we all do for a country that deceives and steals from our National treasury to feed themselves and their children? Anyway, it is left to you if you can do anything for your country, Nigeria or not.
What Nigerian youths have done to deserve this turmoil, pain and unending agony is what we have not been able to discern. Fact is, we must not continue to say all is well when things are not getting any better. In our churches every day, we start and end with prayers while we think prayer is the answer key. When will the prayer key open the doors of employments for us? Now or never?
Anyway, it is well!
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