By Tunde Eso
For long, youths in this country have been going through difficult times as a result of maladministration and neglect by previous administrations.
Democracy will only work by the enthronement of justice through popular will. It therefore becomes imperative that youths who make up a sizeable number of our population show their support.
The provision of qualitative and affordable education for youths will empower them to contribute meaningfully to our country’s technological advancement. An educated youth is a potential problem solver to his or her country. Anyone without education may end up as a social misfit.
Unfortunately, the latter set of youths have become tools in the hands of political office seekers who use them to create mayhem during electioneering campaigns.
Youths have undeniable energy by virtue of their age. Hence their role in the sustenance of democracy cannot be over emphasized. They have what it takes to continually keep the economic-engine of the country running when empowered. Such empowerment will ensure creation of employment opportunities for others. To do otherwise might leave them frustrated and of course a country that neglects its youth is only toying with the best part of its future.
However, in affirming a stand for Nigerian youths, it is well known that power is not easily attained; one must struggle for it. Power will not get to the youths on a platter of gold. They must come out of their cocoons and begin to make sacrifices in search for power. Research has shown that most youths are not members of any political party and those who do, don’t attend ward meetings; yet that is where major decisions that determine our future are made.
Youths must be resolute; they must be interested in how they are governed, policy formulation and implementation and in political and economic environment. That is the only way power can get to them.
Youths must show capacity and interest in every aspect of our national life and must also make sure that they react to the environment. Power ultimately belongs to God. But when man wants it, he must labour for it.
Youths constitute about 69 percent of our population and possess almost 75 percent of voting rights. They have the strength, energy, dynamism, intellectual prowess and more importantly, the population to capture power. In this regard, I advise dynamic youths to stop criticizing government without proffering solutions to problems. They should rather contest for positions in their respective locality or contribute to policy formulation and implementation.
We might be right to say that corruption begets recession and nearly every one of us must have benefited one way or the other from this malaise.
The cobbler, fashion designer, the media, mechanic, bricklayer, plumber, laborers, and many other technicians are all grumbling due to economic recession. Vehicle dealers are complaining because their wares are begging for buyers. Private school owners are under stress because parents can no longer afford to pay outrageous school fees and are withdrawing their wards from school.
Sometime ago, a senior lawyer friend told me he prefers immediate past government to the current one because he benefited immensely from it and had to relocate abroad because of recession. For how long are going to continue developing already developed countries with our human resources? Why don’t we practice what is done in those countries to develop ours.
To get out of recession, youths should adopt the following strategies:
Shun acts capable of truncating the ideals of democracy.
Empower yourself through quality education to be able to contribute your quota to the technological progress and economic development of the country.
When I was in elementary school, we were given farm lands to plant crops which we visited every Thursday. That idea has been buried in our schools, yet we want to grow as a country. Agricultural practices need to be re-introduced into our educational curriculum to end poverty and hunger in Nigeria. Government should also encourage and empower youths to take to agriculture. We all know that agriculture is the largest employer of labour. Youths will be most useful in this initiative.
Finally, to be able to do away with the following in our society such as corruption, poverty, weak government institutions, greed, poor education and illiteracy, youths must have a vision and work with it. This attribute can be seen in individuals like Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Bill Gate, John Kennedy, Thomas Edison, Barrack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln and several other. Youths should be self-reliant, shun violence, maintain integrity, and stop demanding for money before voting in any election. We must all be encouraged to vote only visionaries with humane and companionate personality.
Youths should be mindful of not voting money-bags into office as they will only go there to recoup their investment in this part of the world.
Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Plato and Aristotle warned that a capitalist or someone who pays you to vote for him will practically dominate you when he gets there.
The Americans are conscious of this fact, and we can draw examples from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton electioneering campaigns. Trump is one of the world’s richest man, yet we never saw him campaigning by sharing money to the electorate. That is discipline and obedience to the rule of law. If the older generation has refused to do this, let us begin it to save our generation. Youths must participate in active politics because that is what determines our existence. Youths must strive to join decision makers.
Fellow youths, we are the engine room of any nation. Therefore, we must make every sacrifice to revive our beloved country Nigeria by changing our thought pattern. May God help Nigeria.
*Eso governorship aspirant for the Osun State 2018.