The voice of our generation has been silent for far too long.Today,i want to write to you about our role in Nigeria reconstruction and transformation as well as our vision for the country we wish to build and pass on to those who come behind us.
"I have always been among those who believe that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety,because if a man is a fool the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking"
___ Woodrow Wilson
Not very long ago,Nigeria was proudly referred to as the "Shinning Star of Africa".A rear African showcase.It was a land where Black and white lived together in peace,the economy was growing;the dignity of all was not taken for granted,and we all knew a bit of what it was to be human-to have food for our bodies,education for our minds,houses to live in,safety of live and property and roads to travel on.We shared what we have equitably,and where it was not enough to go round,we ensured that there was equal opportunity to compete for access to the riches of the land.We celebrate our strong but we also took care of our weak.For a while ,the birth place of human king was also becoming the cradle of human hope.But that was then.
"The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness its one object is to produce and consume.It has no pity neither for nature nor for living human beings.It is ruthlessly ready without a moment's hesitation to crush beauty and life out of them,moulding them into money"
To go to Nigeria today is to descend into the valley of the shadow of death.Our country is in darkness in more ways then one.Death strikes with unnerving frequency and ruthless efficiency-in our houses ,on our roads,in ourhospitals,in ethnic clashes,through mob violence,even through bombs targeted at other people.
"NIGERIA IS A COMEDY TO THOSE WHO THINK AND A TRAGEDY TO THOSE WHO FEEL."
The walls we built to keep out the enemies of poverty,hunger and disease have all been torn down.God's children now huddle pitifully together,exposed to the elements of hopelessness,and vulnerable to the merciless chill of despair.Today life in Nigeria has become a meaningless search for meaning.Death is the only certainty we know-death of the body and spirit long before the death of the body.Nigerian youths closely resembles Ezekiel's valley of dry bones.For we are surrounded by the dry bones scattered over a patched and thirsty land.They include massive corruption and looting of the resources of the land by their custodians,tribalism,collapsed systems,urban decay,rural underdevelopment,and so on.
"As long as i can conceive something better than myself i cannot be easy unless i am striving to bring it into existence or clearing the way for it"
GEORGE BERNAD SHAW.
We are all aware of what ails our land,so i shall not dwell on it.Instead,allow me to focus on the two realities that we must confront.Definning the Nigerian Youths Generation:The Nigerian Youth Generation is the generation of women and men born after the midnight hour of 1st Octomber 1960.They are the true daughters and sons of Nigerian having been born in Nigeria after the country joined the family of sovereign nations in contrast to those naturalised citizens who had to give up the citizenship of Empire when Nigeria was born in 1960.
Ours is the generation in whose name the struggle for independence was waged.But we now find ourselves impoverished and disinherited,aliens and sojourners in the land of our birth.We are the inheritors of an uneasy peace.But despite forming the overwhelming majority of Nigerian's population today,we have largely been excluded from taking our full part in shaping the fortunes of our country.The majority of Nigerian masses,we also shoulder a disproportionate burden of Nigeria's losses.Young people today bear the brunt of poverty,unemployment,hiv/aids,failed social services and collapsed infrastructure.Instead the population of unemployed youths constantly increases every year.
"We pay for the mistakes of our ancestors and it only seems fair that they should leave us the money to pay with"
Not only has the political
class stolen from us the tangible little luxuries of this life,they have designed to take from us that which only the creator can give and take by robbing us of the intangible qualities that define us as humans-like hope,godly ambition,geniune peace of heart and mind,and the ability to dream of a better tomorrow.We squint as we gaze at the horizon trying to make out the light of our new dawn but all we can see is darkness unending.But it has not always been this dark.
From across the sky of our long night of lost opportunities,there have been a few scattered stars.They have twinkled briefly to illuminate our collective path before flickering out again.We would not lament their demise had they not etched themselves on the edges of our consciousness.The generation for which i speak is not ungrateful for the contributions of those gone before us.
"Loyal and efficient work in a great cause,even though it may not be immediately recognised,ultimately bears fruit".
We are beholden to them:In word,we are not ungrateful to all the women,men and children who have given their lives in the search for peace and the struggle for human dignity in our homeland of Nigeria.We celebrate their courage and their sacrifice.But great though their accomplishments are,we must hasten to remind ourselves that a growing nation cannot afford to rest on its laurels,for its children will not find solace in its glorious past.We must confront present realities in order to march confidently into our common future.
We cannot continue to play second fiddle in the country that we own,while people who have clearly demonstrated that they have no stake in our future run it to the ground.Young people cannot sit by and let others define them or their mission on their own terms.A country divided-Nigeria's apartheid;
A country divided cannot stand.South Africa is a very good case study.I have heard a lot of people mistakenly saying that South Africa gained her independence in 1994.This is not true.South Africa gained independence in 1910.That was the year that the Union of South Africa was formed after the Ango-Boer was resulted in the departure of the British colonialist.But after the exit of the colonial rulers,a tiny minority of South Africa's population took the reigns of power and systematically oppressed the majority.
Apartheid rule in 1948 when th National Party government came to power.And as achieved in 1994 after a long and bloody struggle.Nigeria still yearns for her 1994.British colonists left in 1960,but we have not as yet achieved majority rule.Like South Africa,a minority group took the reigns of power after independence.The same group continues to oppress the majority to this day,with a few of comings and goings.The only difference is that unlikr South Africa,the protagonists in Nigeria are not defined by race.
They are not even defined by tribe or class.They are defined by age and gender.A tiny minority of old men continues to ride roughshod over the majorityof the people-mainly women and the Nigerian youths Generation.But we should not merely point to the government ,for it is by no means the only culprit.I am referring to the establishment as a whole.For just like apartheid in South Africa extended its tentacles to every facet of society,so too Nigeria's minority of old males with one foot in the grave extends its rule everywhere,including the political opposition,the institutions of learning,business,the church and the media.And to merely ask them to step aside like the old saying of IBB to leave office is equivalent to asking F.W De Klerk to quit government while leaving the whole apartheid machine intact.
"Whatever the human law may be,neither an individual nor a nation can commit the least act of injustice against the obscure individual without having to pay the penalty for it"
__HENRY DAVID THOREAU
Like apartheid in South Africa,Nigerian Geriatric Oligarchy cannot be reformed .It must be dismantled.That is why this message must go out to all Nigerian Youths Today,and reverberate in the ears of Geriatric Oligarchy,is as simple as it is profound.
GENTLEMEN,END THIS APARTHEID NOW!