Since 1999 when we returned to democratic rule, the so-called youths have not only been relegated to the backseat in the scheme of things, but are also happy being on the backseat. The Youths (as at then) that agitated for the ouster of the military in 1999, along with those that have been in the corridors of power since the days of President Shagari in 1979 are still here calling the shots, while the youths of today that are supposed to be running the show for the good of Nigeria are cheering them in the comfort of twitter, facebook, nairaland, palmchat, 2go etc. For instance, the “young” Audu Ogbeh that was elected member and Deputy Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly in 1979, appointed minister of communication under Shehu Shagari in 1983, elected chairman of PDP in 2001 is still active today as the substantive minister of Agriculture. This is a man that first tasted political power 37 years ago when some of us weren’t even born. Are there no young and vibrant APC youth that is capable of administering the sector? Our country has been on comatose since the generation of the present political leaders took over in 1966/7 till this day, yet, the youths of our generation are less concerned.
What has the generation of present day political leaders achieved since they took over the mantle of leadership from their fathers? I dare say that Nigeria has been retrogressing under their leadership. They couldn’t fix power, roads, schools and hospitals. The structural defect of our country that they contributed to bringing to fore in 1966 is yet to be addressed. They have wasted billions of tax payers money and our oil wealth organising talk shops that they tagged conferences and confabs without result. They couldn’t even fix the security sector, nor provide jobs to the teaming unemployed and a conducive environment for business to thrive. Under them, nepotism not only became celebrated but has been officially adopted. This present generation of expired leaders are not only corrupt but have instituted corruption in the system. Tribalism is their forte. When you look at the prominent political parties including PDP and APC, the same tired politicians are holding sway and swapping offices. Their loyalty is neither to their party nor the country but only themselves. They couldn’t even enthrone a culture of free and credible election that meets minimum standard. This present day generation of leaders have nothing to offer, they have showed it repeatedly, tested and failed woefully.
Before I go on, I wish to remind our youths of today of the feat achieved by their once upon a time predecessor. In their youthful days, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Ernest Okoli, Kofo Abayomi, Hezekiah Oladipo Davies, James Churchill Vaughan, Oba Samuel Akisanya, Nnamdi Azikiwe, etc. formed the Nigeria Youth Movement in 1933, this brave young Nigerians not only stood up to the British against the ill treatment of Nigeria citizens, they also participated actively in politics, won elections and were the movers of our independence in 1960. As youngmen, they assumed leadership positions in their regions and at the federal level. They may not be perfect as leaders, but history will always be fair on them as contributors to an independent Nigerian State. Till date we still celebrate them.
When former president Goodluck Jonathan in January 8, 2015 said and I quote,
I believe that the young Nigerians are the future, we are finished. We believe that the youths will be the ones that will take us to the moon, my generation has failed because we could not take Nigeria to the moon. I don’t want to address old people like me because we (his generation) are spent already.
I shook my head in shame though I agreed with him that his generation FAILED Nigeria including him, I still questioned the rationality for saying that young Nigerians are the future except he wasn’t referring to today’s youths. How could Jonathan call this generation the future of Nigeria when the generation of youths today are future-less? Which future does a generation of N.F.A(No future Ambition) has? This is a generation that are hustling to be appointed Special Assistant on Twitter, Facebook, Nairaland etc under the guise of Special Assistant on Media while their mates in other climes are leading political parties and government institutions, calling the shots and developing their societies.
This is a generation that sit down to expect their fathers in NLC and TUC to help them lead protest on the street while they tweet the outcome and update their facebook, palmchat, and other social media status. This is a failed generation that wouldn’t have done anything in 2010 had it been their fathers Soyinka, Bakare and co didn’t protest calling for the elevation of then VP Jonathan. This is a generation that sat down with their #OccupyNigeria hashtag while their fathers were in Ojota calling for the reversal of the ill advised subsidy removal of 2012. This is a generation that couldn’t even protest the CBN fraudulent recruitment of children of the ruling caucus and demanding for its reversal and removal of CBN Governor but sat in the comfort of their parlours to tweet.and disturbing the peace of social network. This is a generation that have resigned to playing fighter dog for politicians in the two major parties but are never invited when the spoils are shared. What kind of generation would see nothing wrong in the high rate of unemployment(which didn’t start under Buhari administration) but only whine in their rooms, resorting to try your luck with football betting companies? Ordinary Youth Wing these political parties refused to allow, neither are they giving up slots for young people in party, elective and appointive offices.
Is it not our peers in Burkina Faso that successfully brought down TWO military dictators within one year with some losing their lives in 2015? Is it not our peers in Egypt and Tunisia that brought down their dictator leaders? Is it not our peers that are on the streets of Brazil calling for the ouster of President Lima and prosecution of former president Sylva? Is it not our mates that are leading parties in South Africa? Why are we so comfortable taking back seats? Why are we comfortable with the fact that the old men are recycling themselves and slotting their kids?
Some of us waste their MBs defending Jonathan and others but who remembered you when Jonathan’s son-inlaw was appointed SA to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross river state? Lai Muhammed is a minister and his son is a member of Lagos state house of Assembly, in the same house of assembly, Bola Tinubu has his nephew as member. TA Orji, a Senator has his son as Abia state house of assembly member, Atiku Abubakar’s daughter is a commissioner in Adamawa state, James Ibori’s daughter is a member of Delta state house of assembly, Admiral Nyako son is an incumbent Senator, the present Governor of Niger state is the son-inlaw to Abdulsallam Abubakar, Ibim Semenitari, the MD NDDC is the Daughter of Gabriel Toby, the former Deputy Governor of Rivers state under the disgraceful administration of Peter Odili. The men we devout our time and energy to defend are putting their kids to RULE us just as they ruled our fathers. The worse is Kwara state, where Saraki family has been holding sway since 1979. They allocated CBN positions among themselves but threw up police recruitment to us so that we will guard and serve their children in political offices and CBN, just as our fathers served them.
I am pained that i belong to a generation that pride in cowardice, suffering and smiling, and folly. It is a shame that this generation that I belong to is on the verge of entering into the disgraceful part of history as one that not only failed themselves but also failed the generation after them. This generation has successfully displaced the generation of the present day political office holders (who naturally are supposed to take back seat) as the most myopic and less visionary. This generation has successfully earned itself as a disgrace among its peers in Africa and the world at large. This generation I refer to the Coward Generation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CGFRN). If you are between 25 and 40 years of age, this piece is an indictment on you. Those below the said age should learn from those within the age and not displace them in their place of disgrace when they become of age.
Despite the venom poured on this generation (which is deserving), I still believe that hope is not lost for us to redeem ourselves and earn our place among noble generations. I believe that we can look into our challenges and setbacks and address them in order to move from where we are to where we hope to be. This I shall address in subsequent piece…
May God Bless Us All and Bless Nigeria.