Elders and a Failed Nation- A Youth’s Perspective, By Chisom J. Omeokachie

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“…To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.”

This is the last verse in the second stanza of our national anthem. The second stanza happens to be my personal favourite part of the anthem as it calls on God to guide our leaders right and help our youths the truth to know. However it seems our leaders are afar from the part they have been directed. They have continued to lie to us, to disappoint us, to betray us and to shame us.

Isn’t it shameful that we have been writing the same articles for 57 years? Isn’t it shameful that we’ve been suffering the shameful plights for 57 years? Isn’t it shameful that the story is still the same for 57 years? Bad roads, poor education system, inadequate health care facilities, Unstable power supply, discrimination based on tribe and religion, corruption at all levels of Government. Isn’t it shameful that we protest and campaign over the same national issues for 57 years? I suppose it isn’t very surprising when you realize that we have had the same set of leaders for 30 years.

The ruling class has remained the same with the same men and women and the same families. They just keep recycling them- I wonder what sort of democracy we have here. How they have managed to keep the youths myopic and distracted from the truth deserves study. How they have constantly been able to manipulate the young people of Nigeria and convince them to hate and pick up arms against their brothers simply because they speak a different language remains a mystery to me.

It saddens me greatly that we have such great a population of able bodied and enterprising young people, but the system has been set up to keep the rich richer and the poor poorer. Getting admitted into Public universities can at this point be compared to getting a U.S visa. Graduating with a first class is a rare thing because to some lecturers, “A belongs to God and B belongs to your lecturer”. Isn’t it amazing how Nigerian students seem to excel in universities overseas but struggle in Nigeria?

Getting a decent job based on your merits and without long legs is nearly impossible. Over the years, they have deliberately denied the youths the potential to grow and become leaders; rather they choose nepotism by using their own offsprings to fill the few vacancies in the country. They exploit our vulnerability and pushing young people into fraud, robbery, prostitution, kidnapping and what not. How do we continue to survive like this?

One truth that is clear is that they don’t care about us. How can they? Their children are already set up for life- live large, study in private universities in Nigeria, or study abroad, and when they graduate, a job is waiting for them or a political position. The average Nigerian youth is utterly and completely on their own. We share the same plights; we suffer the same neglect and abuse. Truly, we are all we’ve got. Why then do we keep letting them manipulate us and use us to attain their evil ambitions? They use young men and women as political thugs to instigate hate speeches and violence. Why do we allow tribe and religion dictate who we should help, love or support? When do we realize that the only way to turn our lives around is to fight together and not against one another?

Arise o’young people of Nigeria. Wake up and smell the coffee. The time has come for us to take charge of our own destinies. The time has come for us to lift one another up with love and resilience. Our leaders have failed us. It is now up to us to build a better Nigeria for ourselves, our children and for the future generations. It is up to us to show them how it should be done. It is up to us to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.

Chisom J. Omeojkachie, a  Student of Mass-Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka  is on Internship with PRNigeria Abuja

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