“The world, indeed, moves under the impulses of youth to realize the ideals of youth. It has youth for its beginning and youth for its end; for youth is alive, and progress is but the movement of life to attain fuller, higher, and more vivid life” – Edwin P. Whipple, 1888.
When Ban Ki-moon, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, said in a message delivered on the International Youth Day, on August 12, 2010,that: “Let us acknowledge and celebrate what youths can do to build a safer, more just world. Let us strengthen our efforts to include young people in policies, programmes and decision-making processes that benefit their futures and ours”, he seemed to have directed those words at our dear country where our fathers are already inheriting our bequest, while we are still alive,agile and virile. The marginalization of youths in the Nigerian policy making sphere is a time bomb with a cataclysmic future, if folded arms are not stretched to embrace the crying prince.
Youths are the engine room of any nation; a nation without youths is a nation without a future. This indisputable fact, no doubt, has necessitated that every nation sees the expedience of taking the well-being of this imposing youthful chunk as a priority.
It is heart-rending, however, that the Nigerian experience is diametrically opposed to the striking reality. It is lamentable and worrisome that youths, who constituteover 60 per cent of the Nigerian population, have been schemed out of governance by unfavorable constitutional clogs.
In the pretense of recognizing the bright future that people of this age bracket portends, however, only mere deluding statements have been fashioned to compensate our denied birthright. Hence, we constantly – and if care is not taken eternally – hear that “youths are the leaders of tomorrow”.Tomorrow is a future that is expected to come one day in the later unfoldings of life, ceteris paribus. Unfortunately ironically, tomorrow never comes in Nigeria, as a youth of 35 years of age isstill basking in the eternal hope of a tomorrow, which, like the second coming of Jesus, has never been forthcoming.
As a matter of fact, the agility, virility, and youngness in the youths have made them best-fitted to bring the desired change to our nation pine for. But rather than engage youths actively in the decision making process of the nation, the constitution has been fashioned in a way that it has jettisoned the interest of the teeming youthful population, who, as a result of years of misgovernment, corruption and truncated democratic process, are bearing the bitter brunt of quality-denied education, and unemployment, even after spending years acquiring formal education.
As if this designed impoverishment by the ambassadors of poverty is not unfavourable enough, youths are still further exploited and extorted by some trigger-happy politicians who resort to these idle forces as instruments of hooliganism and election rigging – dumping them immediately they assume power, all in their claim of serving the nation. I wonder the patriotism of the cat guarding a pot of fish!
Indeed, sectors have been created to cater for the needs of the youths. In fact, a ministry is clearly marked as the Ministry for Sports and Youths affairs, which – presently – is headed by a minister of 52 years. Tell me, in what way has the country not defied the altruism in the saying that “whatever is done for us without us is against us”? In no way, absolutely! Various manifestations in the nation have lent credible credence to this fact! Our predecessors claim we are the future and they con us to believe they are striving to enable our soft landing, yet we are totally exempted from the system that defines us and our future.
Having slumbered for years in the process of awaiting the ever-lasting tomorrow, the youths seem to have finally woken up to the responsibility of clamouring for their deserved rights, since ‘Change”, in the words of Martin Luther King Jnr. ‘does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle….”. Hence, the laudable precedence given to correcting this ugly development, lately.
The #NotTooYoungToRun Billis a timely intervention which has come to correct the ugly trend of voiceless Nigerian youths. Introduced and sponsored by Hon.Tony Nwulu, representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency II of Lagos State on Wednesday May 26th, 2016, the bill came as a megaphone giving voice to the voiceless leaders of tomorrow.If this bill is passed, the Nigerian youths, who constitutes the country’s largest constituency, will have the opportunity to change the course of the nation by bringing to bare their virility and brilliant ideas.
Brain builders International, therefore, strongly advice that this Bill is passed into a law for the common good and progress of the Nigerian nation. We call on the youths of the nation to stand for this course and see to the successful approval of this bill that holds our future. The time is now and never! The youthful army is conquering and we have conquered. We subscribe totally to the submission of Jean & John Comaroff, in Makers and Breakers, that: “In the cyberspace age, juveniles have an enhanced capacity to communicate in, and act effectively on, the world at large”.
Olasupo Abideen Opeyemi is a Youth Leader, Business Consultant and Digital Marketer. He is the Executive Director, Brain Builders International- A United Nation accredited Non Governmental Organisation(www.brainbuilders.com.ng). He can be reached on +2347068775529 or email@example.com