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Nigeria at 60: the Role of Youths in Nation Building

As we commemorate our Diamond Jubilee on October 1, 2020, celebrating six decades of independence from the British. It is pertinent to reflect on the challenges — insecurity, bad health care service, abject poverty, struggling education sector, the unstable supply of electricity, corruption, crippled economy — faced by the nation in the 21st century.

60 years of independence and the nation sits still in hardship in spite of the resources that nature bestowed on us, and the talents and strength possessed by the youth of the nation. The youths of the nation have a role to play in the development of this nation, as youths are building blocks to a developed nation.

The Nigerian constitution refers to persons between the ages 18 to 35 as youths howbeit youth is about not only age, but the strength, tenacity, vigour and enthusiasm to achieve things. With about 70% youth population, Nigeria is still crawling, languishing in poverty and penury, crowned as the ‘poverty capital of the world’ in a report by Brookings Institute.

For a fact, one of the greatest assets a society can possess is the youth. Sadly, the country we are currently intertwined with, Nigeria, the aged leaders on various seats of power believe nation-building is their exclusive domain. This is evident in the little opportunities the youth struggle to get and the promise to be the leaders of tomorrow that never comes.

It is expedient that we show that the youths also take part in their misfortune. Youths have embraced the wrong primacy of the ‘old leaders’ in power, we prefer to engage in violence. Youths are used as political thugs, some engage in armed robbery and other antisocial behaviours.

The youths clinch the bad side of the leaders of today, this is evident in the violence during students’ electoral process and embezzlement of students’ union funds. Youths fight for only their very own good, where they should be craving for the development of society.

The hallmark of the present government is ‘change’. The youths must be agents of change. The change we expect from the leaders should start from us. In the immortal words of Mahatma Gandhi, he said, “be the change you wish to see in the world”. The change starts from resisting corruption and violence in the country, and any action that might take away our future.

For the labour of our heroes past not to be in vain, the youth must be selfless and sacrificial to the country. The collective development of the people living in peace and harmony as a nation must be a burning desire. The youth must portray moral values and worthy character in all of their dealings.

Education is very important in the process of building a society. The government must a good and solid education, and the youth must crave to get the best education and training in schools and in society.

Provision of jobs and employment opportunities to get the youths involved. The government must set up schemes that will harness the gifts and talents of youths. The youth must in return take on the advantage of the provisions and platforms.

The youth must also leverage the not-too-young-run bill by getting involved in governance and policy creation. The only way to dethrone the old ones in various seats of power is to partake in politics by having competent and trustworthy youth leaders that actually care for the development of youth and the nation.

As Isaac Newton famously noted that “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”, the ancients wisdom and knowledge of our aged leaders cannot be underestimated. If the ‘tomorrow’ they promise the youths will ever come, the youth can only survive with the respectable experiences they must have gotten from the great minds.

If we take a good look at history, the youth are not too young to lead and develop this nation. The youth must therefore seek and desire for opportunities to develop the nation. As a building block in nation-building, the youth have a great role to play, we are in this together.

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