The Youth

About three years ago, my sister came back from church one Sunday to gist me concerning one young man who lived close-by & attended same service. The young man had attended church wearing a very big & multi-coloured sneakers, funny haircut & his pants were sagged. Everything was just wrong with that gentleman that & he made it worse by making himself look that conspicuous while wrongly dressed. Immediately I heard that story that day, I tried to do my own research on sagging (also called low-riding).

As Greg Mathis puts it, “sagging was adopted from the United States prison system where belts are sometimes prohibited to prevent prisoners from using them as weapons or committing suicide by hanging themselves. The style was later popularized by hip-hop artists in the 1990s. It later became a symbol of freedom and cultural awareness among some youths or a symbol of their rejection of the values of mainstream society.”

Taking these points in order of appearance, why would any right thinking being want to emulate prisoners who may never even leave their maximum security cells as a result of heavy crimes? Why can’t today’s youths listen to good music and pick out vital lyrics to nourish their souls, why be swayed by showbiz? Listen to your favourite artists’ lyrics well, any artist in 2015 not singing or rapping about world peace, love, life, reality, unity, freedom of mankind etc. isn’t doing good music & doesn’t deserve an audience! This isn’t the 90s when rappers just talk about shooting each other. Lastly, I’m a very unorthodox person & revel in being rebellious especially to defend a course I believe in. Yet, I wouldn’t sell my soul to the devil just to gain the world. You can’t prove a moral point by being immoral or repugnant to the society. This single point took almost half of Revd. Martin Luther King’s messages while he lived! We have to show good example.

Few weeks ago, I was in a banking hall (of Guaranty Trust bank) as early as 8:30am trying to deposit some cash before travelling. Being a Monday morning, the bank was full of customers & we had to queue. This buxom lady walked in, climbing the staircase to the customer service desk. This young lady, wearing a black top & black leggings had her butt so embarrassingly visible that even ladies couldn’t help but look amazed. She wore no under-pant, everyone know how tight leggings are & this is coupled with her sexy shape. Worst of all was the skimpy black top. Sadly, the culprit cat-walked round the bank so innocently, unabashed, not badgered nor disturbed as she stole the ‘show’ with the public display. Thank God children can’t transact bills.

I believe there are two categories of youths, namely;
1. The ordinary ones
2. The intellectual ones
These two categories consist of young people who God has abundantly blessed like He did to every single one of His creation. Failure to utilise raw talents, widen horizons and develop as a human being is what makes the ordinary youth remain in a ordinary state. Meanwhile, there’s always hope as one could move (when not too late) to the intellectual state. The intellectual youths are the ones who have surpassed the ordinary and have left to consult their brains before making decisions. The intellectual youth is a thinking human being. Before he goes to party, gets drunk or is tempted to make mistakes, he reconsiders. He learns from his past failures.

Young people spend a lot of time these days watching the newest movie series (there is a new one everyday), getting addicted to the newest stimulant drug in town, engaging in frivolities etc. I’m a youth who has been there too and we’d only continue to lie to ourselves if we put the blame on the government or the leaders alone. I’ve seen more youths in the newly-opened cinema at the Shoprite mall (largest in the country) near where I live in Ibadan than I’ve ever seen in any classroom of study! The only classes I’ve seen near what I see in that mall were those philosophy and sociology classes and that’s because about 20 departments and faculties took them. I wonder, every year universities in the country reduce their entrance cut-off marks so as to allow people get in but millions still fail! What is wrong with this generation? In 2014, over 1.5 million wrote U.T.M.E. while only about 312,000 passed. It’s just sad.

I sometimes imagine what would have happened if I actually invested the time I spent drinking lots of alcohol ( then recuperating for nearly half the next day) into something much worthwhile like more reading or research. I’d probably own a billion dollar company right now. If only youths would do things that truly last and reward the soul, not ephemeral things! Since I was a kid, we noticed I was mostly active at night & usually restless when most people wanted to sleep. This made my sister (my dear godmother) tag me as a “nocturnal being.” It could be a medical condition but I really don’t care as it doesn’t affect me. Mother tried to get me to sleep in those early years by giving me sleeping pills but I always took the pills & still be wide awake for most part of the night. As I grew up, I had to learn to channel my insomnia into good courses, such as writing articles, notes & stories all night. I’ve grown to love me. I feel blessed to have a brain that rarely wants to sleep! Life is way too short for anybody to hibernate all year long anyways.

As the founder of Initiative for Ethics and Values Orientation, Alhaji Isiaka Kehinde rightfully posited recently, “there should be a refocus on the youth ethics as it the best practice all over the world. To achieve the change we desire, it follows that youths should first change their attitudes and be ready to join the change train without any delay.” There is need for a refocus on our objectives and values, the ethical values and decisions that we hold most dearly to our hearts.

We need a huge turnaround from a lacklustre system where the first indigenous mobile telecommunications company in the country, Globacom launched the Glo/Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) which provides high speed Wi-Fi at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and neglect provision of such in Nigerian schools! I find it hard understanding why big African corporations have to continue producing for the sake of financial returns alone. If we don’t train our children, they’d grow up to steal & then squander all the money we were busy saving! By now, I expect to see the corporate social responsibility of these corporations being met.

How many primary/elementary or secondary schools in Nigeria even have Desktop computers? How many pupils have operated a PC before or have been taught with such? All these contribute to failure in the education sector and lack of development of Nigeria and Africa at large. What about the war zones in Africa? Places like South Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Burundi etc. Some of these countries being among the poorest in the world! I can’t but imagine the mental state of my fellow African youths in those regions. It isn’t their fault to be born there. How can we hope to end wars in the world if a large part are still being uneducated? Isn’t that a chimera already? So far greed & inequality exists, wars will always come.

The current Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza is vying for a 3rd term in office and this has already led to bloody protests and even a coup staged in the country. At least 1000 people have died and over 105,000 fled to neighboring countries. Next thing we saw in the tabloids would be the sight of the same president playing football with his friends. I didn’t believe the news till I confirmed and saw pictures. The president is ‘balling’ while his people kill each other for his own selfish ambitions.

Typical of human beings but not restricted to Africa alone. What of the erstwhile FIFA president, Joseph Sepp Blatter who is 79 years old? A man who has been at the helms of affairs at the apex soccer body since 1998 & still wanted to continue. As if there is not a more qualified & younger person in FIFA again. What is most painful is the corruption that has bedeviled the organisation. When old men are corrupt it has a more destructive power than even when young people are corrupt. You ask why? It’s because by then young people would have lost all confidence in the system, lost every sense of mentor-mentee relationship & ‘gone!’. Meanwhile once a young person who’s still agile decides not to care anymore, the result is always fatal. It’s partly evident in the terrorism trends around the world( ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko haram etc.). The youth are the future of any nation. We all won’t be free and truly liberated till we realise that.

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