The Nigerian Youth: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (I) By Idris Evuti
I had five job offers, I started work two weeks after my final examinations, I worked in three different places after my first year of graduation. These are the stories our generation is left to contend with; as always told by our parents – the older generation. And these were the realities of yesterday, but the rhetoric and fairy tales of today.
To many belonging to this generation – youth, graduation means going back to live at the mercies of our parents/guardians. Either after graduating, one exam officer in your department, refuses to compile your results for senate approval, for hence mobilization for the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC). Or after your NYSC you find yourself in the ever swelling and near to collapse Nigerian labour market. The best happening to many of us is underemployment. Graduates, now eke living from jobs like sales girls /boys, product marketers or teaching in a shanty private school. This is not to help them meet their life demands but, a way of leaving the house in morning and returning in the evening.
Every generation has got its own peculiarities – ours enjoys technological advancement; which makes access to information easier and life a bit comfortable. Yet we are being referred to as the ‘lost generation’, because in late twenty’s we still live under the roofs of our parents/guardians.
There is a disconnect somewhere. It’s either the successive leadership (older generations) of this country have failed in their responsibilities of providing the enabling environment for all generations; especially the younger ones to realise their potentials and live their dreams or, the youths are failing to live-up to the challenges of filling up the generational gap, deliberately.
But the question here is, can the younger generation give what they don’t have? This generation remains the worse hit from a poor education system – most of us who could not afford ‘near decent’ accommodation off-campus, had to live on campus; where rooms designed for two people now accommodates 8 to 10 students on average. Our lecture theatres now share the same attributes with political rally places; because of their populations. Worst of all is where students receive their lectures in convocation squares. This is sad. With due respect, I doubt if the older generations can study under these conditions and graduate with good grades or class of degree. However, am not making a case for lazy students and ‘life – ought – to be easy’ youth of this generation.
Our generation is a living testimony to a society where individuals are being celebrated based on their ability to loot from the public treasury. Corrupt politicians are either hosted to a grand party after their release from jail or being granted state pardons. In today’s Nigeria, winning the confidence of the masses through hard work, diligence and sincerity have long been lost. If the older generations, are to serve as beacons of inspirations for the younger generation. In this case, how then does anyone expect optimal-diligence and sincerity from the youths; in their various callings?
To the ‘men of God’, how do you explain the immorality and profit making orientation that have now become the order of the day in our places of worships? This is not to say our faith leaders are born to be poor, naturally or are not supposed to benefit from the luxuries of life. In the past, clerics are epitomes of accountability and transparency, but same cannot be said about them today. No wonder, youths now learn, comprehend and wrongly interpret or apply the holy books in order to earn a living. This is responsible for the crisis in some parts of the north, and the overnight pastors and prophets that have littered the religious landscape of this country. Many wouldn’t have been imams and pastors if the economy were friendlier.
We have been termed the ‘facebook or twitter’ generation. Often times they (older generation) say we are not industrious. But logical reasoning suggests/proves that, being productive is a factor of the environment, government, then even before the individual. Yes, I agree with the popular saying: don’t always ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. But, the government also on its part must be responsible and responsive to its citizens. Most of the policy thrusts and schemes designed to address the plights of Nigerians, especially her youth have conspicuous ‘fault-lines’ inbuilt in them and always dead before arrival. For instance, the recent Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P); those engaged in the Graduates Internship Scheme (GIS) under the SURE-P can tell the story better than myself.
However, like any other generation, this generation isn’t a lost one. The today youth have got a lot to offer to the society and humanity at large. But, this can only be achieved by creating the enabling environment, having purposeful leadership and feasible government policies and programmes. I conclude this piece thus: “one generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade”- Chinese proverb.
Idris Evuti tweets @ idrisevuti
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org