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Nigeria’s Failed Generation: The Way Forward By Adegbemle Adetayo

Our Country, Nigeria has been bedeviled with problems of all sorts since our Independence in 1960, sadly though none of it is external. Worse still, Nigerian has never known a decade of peace in her 54 years & 51 years of existence as a Nation, & as a Republic respectively.

Yes, there have been different permutations & combinations of factors that might have been responsible for this, a few basics still stand out. Whether or not it is by a stroke of luck, assiduous planning, fate, chance or opportunism it is noteworthy though that our Nation’s founding fathers had some great, brilliant & sane ideas of what Nigeria should be.

With or without the support, presence & their tutoring by the colonial masters, our founding fathers, who then were in their youthful primes,   between 22 and 35yrs old, had a clear vision of what they wanted both for their people & the nation at large. They FOUGHT for it.

So far, undisputable & unequivocally, that generation has been the most productive in the history of Nigeria. History, you will agree, is replete with stories of discord between the Awolowos, Azikiwes and the Balewas, yet it has also been kind to their achievement as the records are still here for us all.

Consider a Few & please note their ages: Anthony Enahoro was the first Nigerian, in 1953, to move the motion for the independence of Nigeria. He was only 30years old. Obafemi Awolowo became the First Premier of the Western Nigeria in 1954 at age 33, later built the first television station in Africa in 1959 at age 40, commissioned the tallest skyscraper (as at then) in 1965, and built the Liberty Stadium. They are all relevant structures years visible now besides the Odua Group of vibrant 33 subsidiaries- many of which are now dead. Numerous individuals, all of whom are beneficiaries of the Awolowo’s socio-economic, political, educational & pro masses sagacious reforms are the ones responsible for the liquidation of Odua Group. They also, were in their prime ages- these are topics for another day. Awolowo championed the establishment of Odua Group of Companies primarily to emancipate the people of Wester region & also fund the activities of Action Group, his political party then.

Nnamdi Azikiwe became the first President of Nigeria at age 56; He was also the first Senate President in January 1960. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was another active citizen in the history of Nigeria who rose to become the first and only Prime Minister of Nigeria at age 42 in 1960. He remained the Prime Minister until his assassination in 1966 by a group of young Military Officers, ages between 24 and 35.

This is the story of Young Nigerian Leaders who FOUGHT and LED Nigeria to independence from the British Colonial rules. It began with the amalgamation in 1914, & until 1960, it took them 46years. Now, it is 54years since independence. Those set of young leaders led Nigeria into one of the most prosperous era, barring the Civil War years which was executed without putting the Nation in debt, besides the fact that there was no oil boom too,they created a thriving, self sustaining, & reliantly stable post-independence Nation. Sadly, that generation is the set of “rulers” and “leaders” that we have today. That generation fought for neither this Nation’s survival nor that of our Founding Fathers, though our Founding Fathers already have everything planned for.

That generation, who also became the primary & only beneficiaries of the prudence, sapience, common sense & intelligence of our Founding Fathers got the best of everything -Education, Healthcare, Scholarships & Feeding Programs, Farmers Support & Agroecononics, etc, the list is endless . That same generation got the best of international relationships; they never had to queue for Visas at any embassy for that matter. It is on record that some of them ran back to Nigeria when they could not cope with London or America. This was the generation that had jobs waiting as soon as they finish Secondary School Education, and would have cars and apartment added to it if they are smart enough to go through the University.

University Education was a luxury most of them could discount with, as they had options at their disposal. You live like kings if you choose University Education. That was the lives they lived. That generation that benefited immensely from Awolowo’s Free Education and Healthcare Policies have never thought it right to bestow a magnanimity onto us yet they ensured that that system that worked for them crumbles before their sight so that posterity will curse their generation & children.

That generation, the crops of our present leaders and rulers have, unfortunately, failed us all. Like a pack of vengeful marauders, army of Locust, & predators on the loose, they have pillaged the commonwealth of Nigeria. They have turned themselves into leeches that suck its host dry, parasitic plants,flies, bacterias and viruses. They have chosen to perpetuate themselves in public offices because they have made no retirement plan for themselves & through their misrule none exist for them. All the working structures they met they left dilapidated. They ensure no new infrastructure will be built, Nigeria remains stagnated in the last 30years. Any structure that resembles world class in Nigeria has been built over 30years ago, including schools, hospitals, even roads.

How could that generation have failed so miserably? It is instructive to note that this is the generation that never suffered to get anything from Nigeria, the generation that Nigeria surplusly gave all and more it would ever need. Nigeria never inquired of them ‘ what can you do for your country?’ Instead, Nigeria did all she could, all beyond all resonable doubt, for them.They got free education, had uninterrupted lights/electricity, & jobs were secured. They stole billions everyday from our commonwealth, still they keep coming back to skim the Nigeria masses they were supposed to have shielded. How evil? They had been responsible to nobody, & today are still responsible to no one, sadly too, they remain above the Law, perpetually has remained & would subsist to be unaccountable to no one.

As a result of their failure, they turned to divisive rules to perpetuate themselves in public office ensuring they explore all means possible to keep the poor masses poor. Is it not when you are well fed that you will challenge their atrocities? They will rather keep our children out of schools so that they will be tools, readilyavailable as thugs whenever they need or call. This wasn’t the dream of our founding fathers, who bequeathed unto us unparalleled world class institutions, for the upcoming, following generation to maintain & build on.

The question that arises now is: Is this how we will all keep quiet for this failed generation to ruin us all? If care is not taken, even the foundation of this nation is in danger.Bearing all these in mind, it behooves on men of integrity to stand up, stand together to fight together so we can again gain independence from this failed generation who have held us all captive & in shackles. The time is ripe for us all, the latter generation to look beyond our individual differences, to think and lay a foundation for the coming generation.

They have succeeded in dividing this latter generation along the ethno-religious lines, & this has further impoverished the masses. There is no proof that there are more poor Christians than Muslims, neither do electricity skip the houses of Christians in preference to Muslims. We all visit the bad healthcare facilities; we all ply same bad roads. Can’t we shelve this ethno-religious toga forced on us, rise up to challenge this failed generation?

All that is needed is for us all to stand up and demand inclusive governance. Let us demand institutional and constitutional changes that allow us to participate in the affairs of the state. Primary amidst this is the constitutional amendment that makes it possible for you to contest for any electoral position as from the age of 21- that was the status of 1979 constitution. We also need to demand for the constitutional review of definition of youth to be between 16 and 24, & a constitutional percentage of people of age 24 and 38 in the federal cabinet.

This isn’t too much to ask for. If we do not demand for what is rightfully ours, this failed ggeneration is not ready to let go of power. The path for us is clear for the future, the question should be this: Are we ready to take the path?

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