The current predicaments of youth and the problems of Nigeria in general does not boarder only on the youth not being given opportunity to take part in administration but the problem is systemic. This is generally because when Nigeria started this autonomy by virtue of her independence, the pioneering leader were young people.

The first military overthrow of government was arranged  and executed by young people. Counter coup was also planned and lead by northern military officers who were youth.

The 1967-1970 civil war was carried out by the youth. Gowon and Ojukwu were young people in their early 30ths. Consequently, all the governors of at that time's 12 states were young people in their late twenties. Olusegun Obasanjo was 38 years of age when he got to be Head of state.

In the second republic, aside Shehu Shagari who was in his mid 50s ,the Senate President Joseph Wayas was a youth in almost his 40s. During this period, majority of the senators and house of representative members were in their youthful ages.

General Muhammadu Buhari and Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon were young people in 1983 when they ousted the government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. General Gbadamosi

Babaginda was in his early 40ths when he took over government in 1985. The military governors during this period were youths in their 30s and 40s.

General Sanni Abacha was in his late 40s as head of state. The governors that served during his reign  were mainly youths.

When Nigeria transited from military rule to civilian rule in 1999, apart from Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the president, most of the governors were in their late and early 40s.

With all these successive administration that featured mainly youths, why is Nigeria in this precarious situation? Why is the youth of my generation clamoring to take over believing they can do it better? What is really our problem as a nation?

The problem of Nigeria is not the youth or the old the major and endemic problem that has held us bound are sectionalism, nepotism, tribalism and ethno-religious bigotry, division, Godfatherism , favouritism, impunity, self centeredness, unitary  looting in getting contracts, preservation of wealth for generations unborn , cultism, Greed, narrow mindedness, lack of vision and will to develop the nation among many others. Evidently, I see the youth clamouring to take over projecting these problems everyday and are not in anyway different from the youths that has sailed the boat of this nation this far.

What is urgently needed now is not just a clamour and agitation for power by the youths but a paradigm shift and social reconstruction, we (all Nigerians including the youth and the old) must change our mind sets and attitude. People who are in government or authority must see themselves as someone who is bestowed a privilege to serve in the midst of 200 million Nigerians and not that they are better than others. We must generally shun all evil vices. It can be said that  even the people who mishandled the youths are youths themselves. We need a total reorientation about our nation, our heritage and our value system.

Most of the politicians in their 50s, 60s and few in their 70s today started as youths. So, we can say that the youth are the problem of the nation but suffice to say that Nigerians are the problem of Nigeria.

Nigerians has a serious attitude and mind sets  problem. Whether young or old it is same challenge. While the youths think they can do it better  than the old people, let's remember that,  

President Donald Trump of  United States of America is 74years old, incumbent President of Brazil Hair Bolsonaro is 65years old, Chancellor of Germany is 66 years old, Prime Minister of Japan is 71years old, China's President is 67 years old, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain is 56 years old, South  Korea President Moon Jae-in is 67years old, Russia President Vladimir Putin is 68 years. These are leaders who are matured experienced men and women. We can see that in Nigeria's scenario age of our leaders is not the real problem but a systemic failure, acculturation of corruption cum degraded value system.

In Nigeria, successive government has been perceived to breed leaders who are experts at wasting the lives of the citizenry and resources of the nation. Our educational curriculum is not tailored towards becoming self reliant rather it focuses on being dependent. The so called certificates acquired is not even valuable any longer. We don't encourage skill, expertise, genius, rather frivolousness and mediocrities.

Ultimately, our sociology of corruption and public administration in Nigeria will only begat the same old and current stories of poverty, hunger, insecurity, lack of transparency and accountability, and "Our thief is better than your thief" syndrome among others if the governance is handed over to the youths.

We need holistic change of mindset, attitude, social and psychological reconstruction for both young and old in this nation before greatness can be experienced. We now know the real problem.

Written by:

Babatunde Emmanuel Femi

Vice Chairman North Central zone, Congress of Nigeria Youth (CONYO)


[email protected]

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